Applying web 2.0 and social mechanics to enrich, categorize and activate information still requires self responsibility and pro-activeness from employees.

Summary: ”There is no information overload – it’s filter failure’ – I agree with this comment from Oscar Berg (@oscarberg) to 100%. However, filters can only be the support for employees to manage their personal portfolio of information. Even though a lot of future functionality in digital workspaces will automatically surface relevant and/or important information employees will have to act upon one Stephen R. Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’: be pro-active. Information work is not yet a silver tablet with ready-to-swallow chunks of intellectual value…

Fear of information overkill

Continuously I get statements in workshops that potential users of socially infused digital workspaces fear the final information overkill. This reaction is triggered by the fact that the amount of emails has already reached an overwhelming (if not unmanageable) level. In particular when initiatives head for networking, connecting people and intensifying dialogue and conversation you get this reaction. Basically you can’t really blame employees for it. As long as their operational work hasn’t been fixed with new mechanics of information logistics and communication efficiency they simply don’t have the time to increase dialogue. Despite the fact that they are simply not measured on participating in on-top efforts…

The most frequent request that derives from this fear is: the new workspace shall be the silver tablet for relevant and important information. In contrary to email all the important stuff should be “right there” and notification continuously point the user in the right direction.

Sorry folks…that’s not how it’s going to work.

Be pro-active.
Take responsibility.
Show interest.

A social media infused workspace is not a silver tablet.

Services that are inspired by the mechanics of social and commercial media will act as an support to the information worker. What has been difficult and time consuming in the past can be done more effectively and more efficiently. However, things will not just happen magically over night.

Be proactive.
If you want valuable information to find you, your profile has to be maintained. It’s not about updating a picture and a handful of tags once. It’s about continuously refining and sharpening the personal profile that is used by colleagues and the search engine to ‘understand’ who your are.

Don’t sit there and wait for others to ask for your help. Reach out to your colleagues and let them know where your expertise can help them to find solutions quicker.

Filters are somewhat intuitive…the real power only comes

Take responsibility.
If you want others to tag information act as an example. Tag your stuff and don’t think that your time is more valuable than the time of your colleagues. Take into account that others have to be able to capture your messages quickly – be precise and take an effort to optimize the style of communications (Goethe once said: I don’t have much time today that’s why I am sending you a long letter…). There is a reason Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters.

Show interest.
Automation is an essential function of a modern workspace. Relevant information and profiles will be matched and brought together. However, building the foundation for effective automation takes time…probably years as of the start of the transition into an enterprise 2.0. Therefore it’s important that people establish a new behavior at the workplace: interest for what’s going on.

Millions are using hashtags on Twitter everyday to filter the billions of tweets based on their interest. Or they take the time to configure their personal newsfeed via RSS. At work everyone has the expectation that all that work is done by someone else…

10 minutes everyday of browsing through the organization’s conversation using filters and methods to surface the relevant bits and pieces would be a huge step forward. In that process information could be refined and clustered – collectively with the power of the crowd. Thereby the waiting time until the automated workspace can unleash it’s power will be used to create value – and the required foundation of a transparent and findable corporate DNA of skills and expertise.

Information logistics and new communication quality.

Information logistics will become a lot easier in the future. Getting stuff to others at the right time will be as easy as sharing a picture or a link on Facebook. Getting hold of things that are important or relevant will be as easy as browsing through Flipboard on the iPad.

Communication will get rid of the inefficiencies of e-mail. Reaching out to specific or unspecific target groups will be as easy as tweeting or adding a social bookmark. Essential information won’t be hidden in inboxes anymore…hidden from the actual owner of the inbox who has given up on keeping a grip on the 1476 unread mails in the inbox and the 867 in the ‘special folders’. Conversation will be conversation – and not email based chatting.

The future is bright…building it will be a joint effort. But that’s somehow implied in the expression of SOCIAL media, isn’t it?”

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