15 responses

  1. Elizabeth
    April 18, 2010


    ‘Social media’ is a misunderstood and overused term – and I expect I’m as guilty of that as the next person. What I wanted to make clear in my study is that it looked at ways of collaboration using technology, which is why I specifically included enterprise collaboration tools. The McKinsey study talks about Web 2.0 and I would argue that social media tools are a sub-set of Web 2.0. Many enterprise collaboration tools include ‘social media’-like features including Twitter-style comments and wikis. I’m particularly interested in the business benefit that all sorts of computer-mediated collaboration offers to project management, so I’m tool agnostic. I’m sorry if the title of my paper was misleading: “Social Media and Enterprise Collaboration Tools in a Project Environment” seemed a bit long.

    You say that “Contrary to what Elizabeth says, I suspect that 70% of the respondents believe (as I do) that the use of enterprise collaboration tools is a key issue for project managers.” The question I asked was about ‘social media and enterprise collaboration tools’ so I think you’re suggesting that I asked the wrong question and should have split out social media and enterprise collaboration, not that I drew the wrong conclusion. 35% of respondents reported using a wiki for business purposes, and 24% use blogs, so I would argue that at least some of those 70% have an opinion on social media tools.

    I hope in the .pdf of the study results I have been as transparent as possible about the questions asked and the conclusions drawn. I have included breakdowns of the answers given so that people can draw their own conclusions, as you have done.

    • Anonymous
      April 20, 2010

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

      We can argue about the numbers and their interpretation. The key issue I have with your study is that it inadvertently prolongs the continuous confusion between Social Media tool and Collaboration / web 2.0 tools. I wholeheartedly agree with your assertion that social media tools are a subset of web 2.0 but the analogy implied from that assertion cannot be stretched to the point where the two get discussed as almost being synonymous to each other.

      The Web 2.0 paradigm contains a number of overlapping sets, two of which will be Collaboration Tools and Social Media Tools. Some tools will belong to only one of these circles, while others will belong into both. The distinction between which set a particular tool should belong is (admittedly) arbitrary, but care should be given to ensuring that analysis of responses takes into account the obvious delineation that exists between the various tools.

      Just as an example, SharePoint is clearly NOT a Social Media tool. Your study suggests that 48% of respondents use Microsoft SharePoint. This finding in itself says nothing about the level of acceptance of Social Media tools in the workforce.

      A similar point can be raised regarding the findings related to the use of LinkedIn. LinkedIn, by definition, is a networking tool, where the distinction between business and personal use is fairly blurred. I use LinkedIn fairly regularly and by the virtue of the tool being a professional networking tool, making a distinction between the ‘business use’ and the ‘personal use’ is almost irrelevant and fairly ambiguous. So, again, suggesting that the level of LinkedIn usage for business purposes can be interpreted as an adoption of Social Media tools in the business world is incorrect.

      Finally, I certainly agree with you assessment that the question regarding the ‘social media and enterprise collaboration tools’ should have been asked differently. Joining the two together is exactly the sort of problem I was trying to allude to in the first place. By joining these concepts together we create an expectation that the two reflect a similar and even identical paradigm, while, clearly it is not.

  2. Elizabeth
    April 20, 2010

    Hi Shim
    I think we have a different view of what constitutes social media. I agree that SharePoint is not a social media tool, but it does have wiki functionality, and wikis are a social media construct (in my opinion), hence I felt justified in including it in the study. LinkedIn is a social networking tool and I think many people agree with my interpretation that it is social media. I agree that the distinction between personal use and business use for that site is vague – that distinction was in there mainly for other tools; it was more relevant for things like Facebook and Twitter. However, I fundamentally disagree that the level of LinkedIn usage for business purposes cannot be interpreted as an adoption of social media in the business world.

    The fact that business people are using social networking tools to link to people when previously swapping business cards fulfilled the same function I believe proves that there has been an adoption of social media for business use.

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