Returning, if not to the pen, at least to the keyboard

A friend put it simply. “Tom, you would do well to keep up that Marketplace 360 blog.”

Well, yes.

In the last handful of months, I’ve (confession here) been doing a bit of moonlighting.  Some of what I’ve been doing is helping small companies weather these tough economic times – and in those situations, small business owners have asked me if social computing tools can give them that *little* edge over their competitors.

My answers have ranged from the wimpy “it depends” to the highly un-consultant-ish “we don’t know unless you try.”

Let me give you a story – it’ll be the focus of the next posting as well.

Not long ago a newspaper decided that it needed to be Enterprise 2.0 cool with a social media tool – a wiki.  OK, fine. What they did was this: They took an editorial and opened it up to the public, saying, in essence “you’re all smart people – how would this editorial look as a Wikipedia page. Let us know…” AND, because this was such a hot idea, the paper sent out notices far and wide to let the world know *how* cool this all was.

The response was immediate. And huge. First there were arguments. Then flame wars, And ultimately (as in 36 hours after the start), it became a place to post porn. As the story goes, within a few days, the paper pulled the plug on this massive, catastrophic, humiliating failure of an experiment.

My teaser of a point is this. There are no magic bullets, no one thing, one process, one guiding principle, one set of tools – that will solve a company’s problems.

My bias is, has always been, and always will be with the belief that computing tools that help people work together will make a difference. BUT, it’s never the tools or procedures that make or break an experiment. It’s the attitudes of the people using those moving pieces, it’s how people work with the tools.

If you hear differently, you’re listening to someone selling snake oil.

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