What’s in for Me: Why Should I Bother?

I’m part of a Collaboration 2.0 group which started on linkedin, and was moved over to yammer. One of the rules of the group is that you need to work at a big company and do this stuff for a living. This is a great premise! The owner/moderator is thoughtful and engaged, but the group doesn’t see a lot of traffic.

Why is this?
I believe there are a few reasons. (I’ll of course relate this back to OneStop.)

  1. The feedback loop is not well defined.
  2. The value proposition is not crystal clear.
  3. There isn’t enough in it for me.
  4. Metrics

Feedback Loop:
I’ve posted twice to the group. I thought the posts were insightful and would get a discussion going. No responses. I need feedback! Apparently the “what’s in it for me, let’s use the acronynm WIIFM” quotient wasn’t high enough for people to respond.

Value Prop (WIIFM)
I’m part of a half dozen linkedin groups. The vast majority of the posts are from consultants. The value prop for them (WIIFM) is that they are trying to raise their visibility level, (their web based stock price so to speak) and indirectly line up some work.

I started to get active on linkedin when I thought there was a chance my job would disappear. Would I have reached out otherwise? Probably, but not as aggressively. Would I have joined Collaboration 2.0? Not sure. I would probably have monitored (or lurked) to pull out good ideas.

I initiated my blog when I was up for a promotion to Principal Engineer. I didn’t do it out of the goodness of my heart or that I was inately keen on community contribution.

Organizational Credit
One of the reasons people bother to author OneStop pages is that it’s cool. (WIIFM++) They get their pictures at the top right of the pages they author, and become much more visibile in their area(s) of expertise. Most of their managers are supportive as it’s obvious that this sort of information sharing is of high value add to the company. However, this value add need to be demonstrated through…

Metrics
When you see a couple of hundred hits on your page every month it becomes much easier to make the time. It also become much easier for your manager to support your efforts.

At the upper right of the header for this blog it mentions that “carefully crafted processes to make this work in the enterprise.”. Part of the process is rules of engagement. For most communities there really isn’t enough WIIFM, at least from the start. In many cases participants need to get “organizational credit”, or maybe just a direct push from their managers, to participate.

Comments
  • I have had the privilege of knowing Mike Briggs, Principal Field Technologist for Sun Microsystems for about 20 years. I have never met or heard of anyone that is better than Mike Briggs in terms of building global technical communities on the web. Far and away the most popular site at Sun Microsystems is onestop. The name onestop says it all. The idea was/is that onestop is the only place you need to go to find technical information on a piece of hardware, software or any technology.

    As anyone who has tried to created a global technical community knows, it is easy to have grand goals when starting a global community, then reality sets in. The reality is that it is extremely hard to create a successful technical community for a variety of reasons. Mike is very unique in that he has the ability to pull individuals together for a common cause, create the right balance between consistency and freedom, put in a governance mechanism that is very balanced all while having the technical ability to write whatever needs to be created to keep improving the site/experience.

    Mike has recently taken on the very important challenge of making Sun’s Partners part of onestop This is very important to Sun’s future.

    If/when the Oracle acquisition of Sun Microsystems goes through, IMHO, there is no one more important to make sure that transition goes smoothly than Mike Briggs. Mike is a great guy and it should be pointed out that Mike was personally recruited by Scott McNealy to work at Sun.