Link, Look, Learn – at Social Objects

Editor’s Note: This post is a featured guest post by one of our IAI University Partners, Patti Anklam of Net Work.

A former Digital/Compaq colleague, Bob Fleischer sent me a link to Jyri Engeström’s blog entry, Why some social network services work and others don’t — Or: the case for object-centered sociality, which provides an interesting perspective on what’s working and what’s not working in social network software and applications. He contrasts two views of social networks. The current perspective of networks as “maps of relationships among individuals” is what drives LinkedIn. But, he argues that LinkedIn misses the point by not making accessible the context for the link — usually an object.

He provides good background and references for the alternative view, “object-centered sociality.” Among the references are a gaggle of web sites that many have now adopted, although many more have still not, including Flickr and

As I read Jyri’s well-written article, I immediately flashed on a key learning about collaboration software from a conference on GroupWare (some number of years ago). Intel chairman Andy Grove presented (remotely) from his office. Intel was launching a real-time collaboration product full of features that are now pretty standard — shared screens, co-editing of documents, video, presence. At the time, collaboration junkies were focusing on getting the video so that people could see each other talk over computers. His comment, “people don’t need to see each other. They are collaborating over something, and the key is to focus on enabling the ability to co-create [a document.]“

The above is of course paraphrase, but his assertion has stood me and many others well as a fundamental principle in designing the environments in which collaboration systems are deployed.

[Editor note: I constantly work to reframe people who are caught up in the current collaboration meme of the day to take a look at what is REAL set of collaboration scenarios they’re looking to solve for. No single approach solves each problem, see presentation embedded below for more thoughts on that front. – Dan]

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Are you Using Organizational Network Analysis? No? How do you build a collaboration system that meets your business needs?

  • Wondering how to tap the brains in your organization?
  • Tired of hoping that installing “social tools” will break down the cultural silos you know are cutting out value from your employees?
  • Eager to learn how to run an entire Social/Organizational Network Analysis project yourself? Soup to Nuts – Process to Tools?

Take advantage of our 4-Hour Online and On-demand eLearning course, “Intro to Social/Organizational Network Analysis” created in partnership with Patti Anklam and Information Architected on our new learning platform, IAI University.

Intro to Social/Organizational Network Analysis is designed for people who want to understand how to systematically identify and map networks within their organization as well as those who want to learn about the tools and methods to map and analyze networks. This is a practice fundamental to effective collaboration, social networking, Web and Enterprise 2.0 strategy and Knowledge Management.

The course is presented by Patti Anklam, Principal Consultant at Net Work, and author of the best selling book “Net Work.”  She has consulted with hundreds of organizations around the world.

The “Intro to Social/Organizational Network Analysis” course has four modules and includes a complete walk-thru of the ten steps in planning and running an Organizational Network Analysis project.

Register Now for “Intro to Social/Organizational Network Analysis”

Module 1: Introduction to Social/Organizational Network Analysis (SNA/ONA)

  • Overview of SNA/ONA
  • The Premise
  • Evolution From Science to Practice
  • Core Concepts and Terms
  • Case Study: Ten Steps

Module 2: Network Patterns and Metrics

  • Basic Principles and Patterns
  • Structural and Centrality Metrics
  • Roles

Module 3: Software Tools for Network Analysis

  • The Basics of Inputs and Outputs
  • Collecting Data Using Surveys
  • Analysis Tools
  • Available Resources

Module 4: Managing an ONA Project

  • Managing the Project
  • Organizational Preparation
  • Working With the Results
  • Critical Success Factors

Register Now for “Intro to Social/Organizational Network Analysis”

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“Dan conducted a workshop on taxonomy development and maintenance and I found him to very knowledgeable about the subject. He was able to use real world examples to help his audience understand the concepts he was trying to convey.”
by Alan Slutsky, Senior Systems Engineer Inxight Software


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