Hidden Value of Status Updates
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  ibm_connections status_updates carol_sumner
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At IBM we are encouraged to post updates about our activities on our Connections profiles. This is similar to posting a status update on Facebook. I must confess that I'm enough of an extrovert to thoroughly enjoy both posting and reading these updates. I simply find my day more enjoyable because of them.
Recently I've seen a lot of posts and heard quite a bit of conversation about the value of status updates. Some advocates insist that there is significant business value in these kinds of updates. In fact, I've even blogged about that myself (How my day has changed since becoming a social employee). Critics are not so sure there is real value in these daily micro-blogs and some suggest that they are a distraction and even a waste of time.
If by “business value” you mean something that is quantifiable (like money), the critics may have a point. There are cases where there is a direct correlation between the new social software culture and money (see for example, the Lowe's video). However, it is very difficult to predict when and where that is going to happen. It's hard to assign business value to the possibility of a benefit, as opposed to one that you can forecast.
We should broaden the concept of business value. I think we may be missing the most important value of these kinds of updates – relationship building. By posting status updates you are opening yourself to your colleagues. You are saying what you're doing or thinking. The nature of micro-blogging invites comments from others. At the very least you're allowing others to get a picture of how you are spending your day. It is effective because it is small – you can't build a relationship with people in one huge chunk (unless you're dumped on a desert island with someone). It takes small bit by bit exchanges back and forth over a significant period of time.
In the case of collaboration software, it has always been hard to put a business value on it - until you don't have it. The obvious parallel here is instant messaging. Early on it was often overlooked when businesses were determining which IT resources should be considered mission critical and therefore funded for a High Availability architecture. That is no longer the case. My customers consider it mission critical now and are developing disaster recovery plans as well as high availability resources for it.
People need to be connected in order to function. Micro-blogging is another opportunity for creating and maintaining essential business relationships.
*Read Carol's previous blog: Making the Most of Your Status Updates
Carol Sumner is an Accelerated Value Leader with IBM Collaboration Solutions who specializes in collaboration systems implementation and administration. Carol has recently added the role of social business champion within IBM, helping teams make the most of social media. What she enjoys most about her days is helping people solve problems (and playing golf). You can contact Carol at email@example.com or through Twitter (@sumnercl1).
Carol is an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader