As we wind down our month on Social Business, it seems our experts are just heating up. This week we've got a few hot topics covered: Community as a cornerstone, killing your e-mail, social networking in the workplace and even quantum mechanics. 

Bees in the Urinal: Community as the Cornerstone of Social Business 

Joe Shepley (@joeshepley): Although Enterprise 2.0 and social business have been hot topics among practitioners and more forward-thinking organizations for some time now, it seems like we’ve crossed a tipping point of sorts: I’ve encountered very few organizations in any industry over the last few months that aren’t at least beginning to dabble in E2.0.

And amidst this surging momentum for all things E2.0, the idea of community is in danger of becoming the next content, or process, or case, terms whose proper (and bounded) meanings have been blurred to the point that they can mean almost anything to almost anyone.

Which is unfortunate, because to me, community is perhaps the most important concept for social business and E2.0, even more so than the use of E2.0 tools, capabilities or applications (my apologies to Dr. McAfee).

Let me share a recent experience that really brought the importance of community for E2.0 home for me.

Driving Adoption for Social Computing Technology: Kill Your Email

Christy Schoon (@newsgator): Here’s a simple yet powerful trick for driving social computing technology adoption: kill your internal email for everybody in your organization.

We do it here at NewsGator and it works. Friday is our no email day. Although we are very social already, the point of #SocialFriday is to eliminate all email unless it is external or truly confidential. This helps us break a habit that has been drilled into knowledge workers for the last few decades. Even though we’re power users of our own stuff, as we should be, certain departments tend to participate in social computing more actively than others just like any organization. #SocialFriday forces the issue — as well as the transparency, efficiency and productivity benefits that come with it.

#SocialFriday works because it affirms our enterprise social network, Social Sites 2010, as the “one place” we go to for our internal communications and collaboration. Many organizations introduce social business solutions but are too timid to go all the way. In practice, if not by fiat, email remains the official channel for their important information. This slows social business adoption and its desperately needed benefits. Imagine if we’d never let email be an official medium… we’d have to dial the phone for all official business!

But I Want That: Social Networking in the Workplace

Troy Allen: Years ago, when I first started working with customers on the concept of Intranets and corporate portals, people looked to the World Wide Web for a definition of what they wanted. In a discovery session with a client, one of the VPs said, “You know that new thing out there….the one where you can move your stuff around…you know, MyYahoo? That’s what we want.”

The customer was trying to put together an intranet to support a self-serve human resource site and a general knowledge base for all employees. Based on the VP’s statement, I dug deeper into what he wanted and why. The number one reason for wanting the “MyYahoo” functionality was because “it’s cool and everyone talks about how they can setup their own personal pages.”

Further analysis of the customer’s actual needs included a very straightforward search and retrieval mechanism for all company-public HR documents, search and retrieval for common knowledge documents, and an easy way for employees to add new knowledge documents. With the VP’s direction, the organization added to the requirements for allowing users to have their own saved searches, share searches with other people, see all they documents they have submitted, see documents from other specific people, and then have all of these functions available to users to select for view or not and determine where on the user’s page it will be displayed.

The Golden Age of Social Media Analytics, Business Insight

James Ainsworth (@alterianjames): I think we are all agreed that social media has now bedded down and is as much a part of the fabric of marketing as email, direct mail and television. Better still, it is intrinsically linked to all the aforementioned disciplines in a way that boosts their effectiveness. Social media is not a standalone subdivision of marketing, because it generates data that can be tied back to the behavior and business objective it is supposed to alter.

There need never be a campaign that goes without a shallow or deep integration with social media, and for this reason, there need never be a campaign that is blindly constructed from the outset. The benchmarking of data before, during and after is where social media monitoring proves its value in delivering answers and effectiveness outcomes.

Every tweet carries a name, invariably some level of sentiment weighting within the content, and, if the user chooses, location data too. Blog posts have traffic levels, popularity ranking scores based on audience and activity. Content is more than the sum of words or pixels at the coal face.

Social media is a strong performer when it comes to customer service responses; nipping that complaint in the bud before it “goes viral” is often a business headache that can be resolved in minutes and with little cost (financially and in terms of reputation). There is a wealth of evidence that social media responses to customer complaints can strengthen loyalty and advocacy. Turn that frown upside down!

Lessons on Community from Quantum Mechanics

Billy Cripe (@billycripe): Have you ever imagined how communities may act like collections of quantum particles? Well, you don't have to be a whiz to understand the connection between the two.

Quantum mechanics* is the study of the very smallest particles and energies that make up everything else. You. Me. This article. It says that these very small particles act strangely. They can be in two places at once (super position). They can be both “on” and “off” at the same time. But they only do these strange and delightful things when all other outside influences are removed. Things like light, heat, air, etc.

In the TED talk below, quantum physicist Aaron O’Connell likens this to being alone in an elevator. You might do something in there alone (dance? check your teeth for food?). You don’t do these things if others are in the elevator with you. Aaron was confused as to why only the very smallest particles behaved in these strange ways. Why not coffee cups or coins? After all, his reasoning went, if things like coffee cups are made of atoms which are made of quantum particles, shouldn’t the behaviors trickle up into the larger things? This had never been observed before.

Does Your Community Help People Succeed?

Maria Ogneva (@themaria): The definition of a community has evolved tremendously and will continue to evolve in the future. Communities can be private or public, behind or in front of a paywall, professionally or independently run. However your community manifests itself, it’s driven by its purpose — was it created to connect your business with your customers or the larger community? Or is it more narrowly defined? Do you want it to be private or public? What is the business purpose — support, ideation, business process management or something else? Let’s take a look at some common use cases.