Data-Driven Collaboration Part 2: Recognizing Personas and Behaviors to Improve Engagement

In Part 1 of this series, “Data-Driven Collaboration Design”—a collaboration between Swoop Analytics and Carpool Agency—we demonstrated how data can be used as a diagnostic tool to inform the goals and strategies that drive your business’ internal communication and collaboration. 

In this post, we will take that thought one step further and show how, after your course is charted to improve internal communication and collaboration, your data continues to play a vital role in shaping your journey.

Monitoring More Than participation

Only in the very initial stages of the launch of a new Enterprise Social Network (ESN) or group do we pay any attention to how much activity we see. Quickly, we move to watching such metrics as average response time; breadth of participation across the organization, teams, roles, or regions; and whether conversations are crossing those boundaries. We focus on measures that show something much closer to business value and motivate organizations to strengthen communities.
For our purposes in this post, it will be useful to pivot our strategy to one that focuses on influential individuals. The community or team—whether it’s a community of practice, a community of shared interest, or a working team—isn’t a “group” or “si te,” but a collection of individuals, with all the messiness, pride, altruism, and politics implied. Data can be used to layer some purpose and direction over the messiness.

Patterns Become Personas

The Swoop Social Network Analytics dashboard uniquely provides analytics that are customized to each person who is part of an organization’s ESN. Using the principle of “when you can see how you work, you are better placed to change how you work”, the intent is for individual collaborators to receive real-time feedback on their online collaboration patterns so they can respond appropriately in real-time.
We analyzed the individual online collaboration patterns across several organizations and identified a number of distinct trends that reflect the majority of personal collaboration behaviors. With that data, we were able to identify five distinct personas: Observers, Engagers, Catalysts, Responders, and Broadcasters.

In addition to classifying patterns into personas, we developed a means of ranking the preferred personas needed to enhance an organization’s overall collaboration performance. At the top we classify the Engager as a role that can grow and sustain a community or team through their balance of posting and responding. This is closely followed by the Catalyst, who can energize a community by provoking responses and engaging with a broad network of colleagues. The Responder ensures that participants gain feedback, which is an important role in sustaining a community. The Broadcaster is mostly seen as a negative persona: They post content, but tend not to engage in the conversations that are central to productive collaboration. Finally, we have the Observer, who are sometimes also called ‘lurkers’. Observers are seen as a negative persona with respect to collaboration. While they may indeed be achieving individual learning from the contribution of others, they are not explicitly collaborating.
Using Personas to Improve Your Online Collaboration Behavior
Individuals who log in to the Swoop platform are provided with a privacy-protected personal view of their online collaboration behaviors. The user is provided with their persona classification for the selected period, together with the social network of relationships that they have formed through their interactions:

You may notice that the balance between what you receive and what you contribute is central to determining persona classification. Balanced contributions amongst collaboration partners have been shown to be a key characteristic of high performing teams, hence the placement of the ‘Engager’ as the preferred persona.

Our benchmarking of some 35 Yammer installations demonstrates that 71% of participants, on average, are Observers. Of the positive personas, the Catalyst is the most common, followed by Responders, Engagers, and Broadcasters. It’s therefore not surprising that an organization’s priority often involves converting Observers into more active participants. Enrolling Observers into more active personas is a task that falls on the more-active Engagers and Catalysts, with Responders playing a role of keeping them there.
At Carpool, during a recent engagement with a client, we encountered a senior leadership team that was comprised of Broadcasters who relied on traditional internal communications. Through our coaching—all the while showing them data on their own behavior and the engagement of their audience—they have since transformed into Catalysts.
One team, for example, had been recruiting beta testers through more traditional email broadcasts. But after just a few posts in a more interactive and visible environment, where we taught them how to invite an active conversation, they have seen not only the value of more immediate feedback, but a larger turnout for their tests. Now, it’s all we can do to provide them with all the data they’re asking for!
Identifying the Key Players for Building Increased Participation

When Swoop looks at an organization overall, we will typically find that a small number of participants are responsible for the lion’s share of the connecting and networking load. In the social media world, these people are called ‘influencers’ and are typically measured by the size of the audience they can attract. In our Persona characterization, we refer to them as Catalysts. Unlike the world of consumer marketing—and this point is critical—attracting eyeballs is only part of the challenge. In the enterprise, we need people to actively collaborate and produce tangible business outcomes. This can only happen by engaging the audience in active relationship-building and cooperative work. This added dimension of relationship-building is needed to identify who the real key players are.
In our work with clients, Carpool teaches this concept by coaching influencers to focus on being “interested” in the work of others rather than on being “interesting” through the content they share, whether that’s an interesting link or pithy comment. With one client, our strategy is to take an organization’s leader, a solid Engager in the public social media space, and “transplant” him into the internal communications environment where he can not only legitimize the forum, but also model the behavior we want to see.
In the chart below, we show a typical ‘Personal Network Performance’ chart, using Enterprise Social Networking data from the most active participants in an enterprise. The two dimensions broadly capture an individual’s personal network size (number of unique connections) against the depth of relationships they have been able to form with them (number of reciprocated two-way connections). They reflect our Engager persona characteristics. Additionally, we have sized the bubbles by a diversity index assessed by their posting behavior across multiple groups.
The true ‘Key Players’ on this chart can be seen in the top right-hand corner. These individuals have not only been able to attract a large audience, but also engaged with that audience and reciprocated two-way interactions. And the greater their diversity of connections (bubble size), the more effective they are likely to be.

Data like this is useful in identifying current and potential key players and organizational leaders, and helps us shift those online collaboration personas from Catalyst to Engager and scale up as far and as broadly as they can go.

Continuous Coaching

Having data and continuous feedback on your online collaboration performance is one thing, but effectively taking this feedback and using it to build both your online and offline collaboration capability requires planning and, of course, other people to collaborate with! Carpool believes in a phased approach, where change the behavior of a local team, then like ripples in a pond, expand the movement to new ways of working through compelling storytelling, using the data that has driven previous waves of change.
To get started now, think about your own teams. Would you be prepared to have your team share their collaboration performance data and persona classifications? Are you complementing each other, or competing? If that’s a little too aggressive, why not form a “Working Out Loud” circle with some volunteers where you can collectively work on personal goals for personal collaboration capability, sharing, and critiquing one another’s networking performance data as you progress?
Think about what it takes to move from one behavior Persona to another. How would you accomplish such a transformation, personally? What about the teams you work in and with? Then come back for the next, and final, part of this co-authored series between Swoop and Carpool, where we will explain the value in gaining insights from ongoing analytics and the cycle of behavior changes, analysis, and pivoting strategies.

Seeing How You Work, Changes How You Work – What’s Your Online Persona?

Our SWOOP Personas are having a much bigger impact than I expected. For a quick summary of the five personas see our previous posts: Observer, Broadcaster, Responder, Catalyst and Engager. In summary, these personas provide you with insights into your online behaviour on your enterprise social network.

I recently spoke to a community manager about this, and he told me this wonderful story about the impact the personas has had in his organisation. One of his colleagues, a senior manager, had been receiving help from a communications specialist to write updates on the Enterprise Social Network.

However, when the community manager showed the senior manager how little she had used the ‘Like’ feature, she realised two important things. Firstly, she was missing out on the positive recognition a ‘Like’ can provide the recipient, especially in her role as a senior manager. Secondly, she realised that she couldn’t outsource posting, replying and liking to her communication specialist. Interacting on an enterprise social network is a deeply personal thing, and as ex-CEO of Telstra David Thodey told us in a recent interview, he found the most important thing in generating transformational chance was to have authentic conversations with staff. The senior manager now does her on posting, replying and liking, and for me this really shows that:

Seeing how you work, changes how you work.

In CUA, an Australian bank piloting SWOOP to drive adoption of their Enterprise Social Network, they also saw the power of these simple personas in creating a common language so you can think about what you do, and what collaborative profile would be most effective for you. For instance, a communications specialist might operate best as a Broadcaster and a technical expert as a Responder. We generally consider the Engager to be the persona that all people managers would want to be, but a lot of the real value lies in reflecting over what you are, and what you ideally should be.

What is your SWOOP Persona?

By now you might be wondering what your own persona is. Answer the following questions to get started. Please note that your persona is not dependent on volume of your online activities, but the relative spread of what you do (post/reply/like) and what you get back.

When I am using my Enterprise Social Network… Not like me Some-times like me Like me
1. I post links to, or attach, interesting content I think people want to know about
2. I post updates to my team/colleagues about things they need to know
3. I call out colleagues for a job well done
4. I ask people for help with problems/challenges
5. I reply to requests for input/assistance where I can add value
6. I often prompt people to participate (@mention/notify others)
7. I hit ‘Like’ whenever I see a post/reply that I like, or something I want to show support for
8. My posts always get replies and/or likes
9. I am often encouraged by others to add input (am being @mentioned/notified)
10. I read posts, but don’t participate myself

Now, review your answers and determine which persona you think you are. Is that what you’d like to be?

SWOOP Personas

If you are with an organisation that has SWOOP running, then you should jump in and have a look at if your self-perception mirror reality. I’ve always thought of myself as an Engager, and must admit to you that I was pretty guttered when I saw that I was a Broadcaster on our network. My knee-jerk reaction was “Why aren’t you responding or liking the stuff I post!”, but my wonderful co-founder Laurie Lock Lee calmly said “Well – maybe you need to think about what you’re posting.”. I, of all people, should know this. I mean, we actually created the SWOOP persons to provoke this exact conversation, but it still hit me pretty hard as it was suddenly about what I was doing and not about what other people weren’t doing. It got very personal. I started to reflect over the posts, and replies that I had been making, and thinking about ways to make it more engaging. I tried to ask for more feedback by @ mentioning people, and also started to think more about what actually generates value for others rather than just focusing on things I think they need to know.

By seeing how I worked, I managed to change how I work. For the time being I am an Engager, but I know I’ve got to keep an eye on my persona to ensure that my changed behavior is locked in. This is not set and forget just yet!

Not on SWOOP yet? Try our 2 week free trial to check it out and get your SWOOP persona.

Is Bridging the Enterprise–Consumer Social Networking Divide a Bridge too Far?

Enterprise Consumer Divide Blog

On the surface Facebook@work looks a lot like consumer Facebook. We have news feeds, groups, shared social media, discussions, hashtags and the like. Familiarity with the interface is one of the strong selling points for Facebook, but since its soft launch in 2015, it’s hardly set the world on fire.

The big Enterprise-Consumer bridge news this month is Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. Unlike Facebook, Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is being positioned as a ‘bet on both sides’, rather than a bridging, since Microsoft already has Yammer, which is being integrated into their O365 suite. No such future is being suggested for LinkedIn.

Before these two developments the worlds of consumer and Enterprise Social Networking software were clearly delineated, despite relatively subtle differences in functionality. The Enterprise Social Networking market was consolidating behind traditional Enterprise players, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and Salesforce, when Facebook for Work became the first to look to bridge the Consumer-divide. Shortly after the Facebook for Work launch Gaurav Jain (@gjain) was quick to write an article on Techcrunch to suggest the context change would likely prove a bridge too far. Gaurav was speaking with some experience, having been on the founding team of the failed Google+ Enterprise initiative, so it is worth exploring Gaurav’s comments in more detail:

  • Conflicting ‘DNAs’ were identified, suggesting Enterprises are driven by wanting more customized / competitive software;
  • Enterprises prefer ‘managed’, rather than ‘free flowing’ collaboration;
  • Out-dated governance policies that significantly lag the current digital state of the art. For example, security policies that are pre-cloud; individual service level agreements that are pre-software consumerisation etc.;
  • Enterprise software tends to mimic the top down organisational hierarchy, with executive engagement a key selling tactic. Consumer software works from the individual upward;
  • Enterprise software regularly requires integration with other Enterprise applications, many being legacy software solutions. The consumer software world regularly leads the way in their use of the most modern tools, unimpeded by legacy integration issues.

Gaurav’s closing comments are compelling. The onus shouldn’t be on new Enterprise software aspirants having to ‘race to the bottom’ to meet outdated Enterprise software management practices. A positive effect of the increasing dialogue around digital disruptions is that it is forcing Enterprises to look closely at new digitally enhanced business models.

In the context of Enterprise Social Networking (ESN), we have seen a number of successful ‘bottom up’ sales strategies, with Yammer being the first, where entry into the Enterprise was gained through applying the freemium model to Enterprise staffs. This has been quickly followed up by team collaboration software Slack and Atlassian’s HipChat, who are at least drawing ‘cherry picking’ revenue streams from individual or small team sales. But make no mistake, Slack and HipChat and the like will need Enterprise level sales to thrive. This is when the Consumer-Enterprise divide challenges articulated by Gaurav will start to kick in. We have already seen the Yammer experience, where organisations have often had thousands of staff using the software productively for many years prior to formally procuring the software. Astoundingly, the procurement processes trigger the Enterprise governance machinery that begins to surface risks and barriers that had freely been ignored up to that point. In our interview with CEO David Thodey, we found that even the CEO is not spared!

Methods and GoalsAs challenging as these identified barriers are, we believe there is a far more fundamental mismatch between the objectives of Consumer and Enterprise Social Networking. In our recent blog post on the dangers of relying on activity measures, we identified that the key objectives of Enterprises installing an ESN is to improve collaboration, build relationships and empower independent initiative. Consumer Social Networking is centrally about facilitating engagement around content.  This is why it’s also called social media. For Twitter it’s about breaking news. For Facebook it’s about friends sharing content. For Linkedin it’s about sharing business content and professional profiles. The analytics supporting consumer social networking care more about activities; how many views, clicks, reads etc.. When consumer social media/networking talk of personas, they are talking about characterizing the buying behaviours of marketing prospects. In the Enterprise, we are more interested in personas that describe constructive collaboration behaviours. Mature analytics engines like Google Analytics do not attempt to seriously measure the things that ESNs are acquired for.

As consumer social networking started to move into the Enterprise, Corporate Communications, who traditionally have external and internal communications staff co-existing, facilitated it. It is therefore understandable that the social media focus migrated with it. The problem arises when Enterprise staffs are quick to identify that they are becoming a marketing target for their managers and executive, potentially creating a divide that actively works against what the Enterprise is actually looking for. It needs to become more about the conversation than the message alone, something that can be confronting for journalism trained communications specialists. We talked about this in our ‘Talk or Tell’ blog post.

We think that successfully bridging the Enterprise-Consumer Social Networking divide still has some time to run. The early Enterprise winners are likely to come from those currently challenged by a real digital disruption prospect, and forced by circumstance, to move more rapidly away from legacy Enterprise software governance policies. For others, perhaps simply aligning their social analytics with their corporate objectives for collaboration, relationship building and empowerment, is an achievable starting point.

SWOOP is a leading online social network analytics tool aimed at increasing organisational collaborative performance. SWOOP analyses collaboration patterns on enterprise social platforms and provides insights to every single user, community managers and executives.Contact us today for a free 2-week trial and benchmark report.

Rely on Activity Measures from your Enterprise Social Network at your Peril

Activity Measures SWOOP Blog

For most people “Social Analytics” means understanding consumer online behaviours. For businesses it is about understanding how best to take advantage of the social networking channels of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and the like, to enhance your brand perception. Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) have essentially evolved from public social networks, with the activity based metrics migrating as well, with little thought to their effectiveness. Activity measures are typically available “out of the box” with ESNs. This is a BIG problem though! It doesn’t take too much research to find out that the Enterprise objectives for ESNs and those for external brand building are substantially different.

We are not the first to send this alert. In 2013 Carrie Basham Young, a former member of the Socialcast team, wrote an article entitled “The Enterprise Social Networking Data Party is Over” , identifying many of the common misuses. What we do now have to reinforce this message is quantitative evidence, gained from our extensive Yammer benchmarking initiative.

Before we go there let’s first review the commonly stated objectives for ESN’s. All the major management research firms have conducted their surveys of executives and come to similar conclusions. From McKinsey: “According to executives, the social tools that enable employee collaboration—through real-time, group-based interactions that can be accessed across platforms—are most valuable.” From HBR: “The bottom line: the most important impact of social media technologies comes from who — and what — they empower, not just the information they exchange…not just the “better communications” business?” From IDC: “The critical point of success is ultimately how well relationships with customers, partners and suppliers are managed and maintained”. Collaboration, Empowerment, Relationships; nothing about brand messages, social media views, likes, follows or other common activity measures associated with consumer social media. Little wonder this mismatch in objectives is becoming problematic.

Now we do hear community managers often talk about usage statistics and the need to demonstrate growth in the use of the ESN platform, in order to justify the investment. And this is a valid use of such measures for early stage adopters, when the primary concern is usage, rather than value. It doesn’t take long however, to outgrow this need, in favour of the more important question of value achieved.

Now to the evidence we have generated to support our argument for smarter enterprise social analytics. Over the past 6 months or so we have been able to study the Microsoft Yammer collaboration patterns of over 135,000 individuals across more than 20 enterprises around the world. In our last blog post on social cohesion across enterprises, we reported that this measure was the one that demonstrated the greatest variance in performance across our full sample of companies.  In essence, we measure social cohesion as the number of reciprocated interactions experienced by individuals, which are then aggregated to group, business unit and/or Enterprise levels.

Following on from this we took a deeper dive into a single enterprise to explore the social cohesion amongst the Yammer Groups. Of the 132 most active groups we found the same pattern of high variability in social cohesion between groups. However, when we overlaid the traditional activity measures like number of posts, number of replies, number of likes, it became obvious that there was no association between these activity measures and social cohesion within the groups. Additionally, we were able to gain qualitative feedback from the community managers that the social cohesion scores mapped well to their own perceptions of how the groups were performing.

Activity vs Cohesion

In this chart, the groups are sorted by their social cohesion score. We can see from the graph that the total activity measure (the sum of all activity measures i.e. posts, replies, likes, mentions, notifications) has no association with cohesion. In fact, there is even a slight negative correlation. When we added an accepted measure of value, the response rate to posts, it’s the same story. In essence, if you are relying on activity measures to guide your collaboration and relationship building efforts, then you might as well not bother. In fact, it’s possible that you will do more damage than good.

Perhaps the most worrying part is that the ESN vendors commonly promote these activity measures as “measures of engagement”. Well perhaps this is the case if “engagement with the platform” is more important to you than “engagement with each other”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SWOOP is a leading online social network analytics tool aimed at increasing organisational collaborative performance. SWOOP analyses collaboration patterns on enterprise social platforms and provides insights to every single user, community managers and executives. Contact us today for a free 2-week trial and benchmark report.

Image citation:  http://www.therightplanet.com/2012/11/talking-past-each-other/

How Cohesive is your Community?

Cohesive community

SWOOP: Mean 2-Way Connections

Social cohesion is synonymous with ‘community’. Intuitively we experience social cohesion when we participate in high performing communities. Experienced ‘networkers’ lead these communities. New members are made to feel welcome. Community objectives are met through active engagement between members. High performing online communities are a fertile field for knowledge sharing amongst its members. While qualitatively we can experience and differentiate a good community from a poor one, what measures are available to assist leaders in monitoring social cohesion in their communities? How can these measures be used to help grow social cohesion?

This post continues the series of deeper dives into the specific measures included in the SWOOP Collaboration Framework #swoopframework. We have previously addressed individual behavioural personas. The Mean 2-way Connections measure is community wide, and our measure for social cohesion.

How is this Measured?

The Mean 2-Way Connections measure calculates the average number of reciprocated connections each community member has.  An example of a reciprocated connection created is if say, you reply to a post by person A and then person A replies to a post of yours. A community rich with members having a high number of two-way connections is going to be a highly cohesive one. On the other hand, a community with a low Mean 2-Way Connections score will have created few sustainable relationships between its members and therefore much less cohesion.

Interpretation

The Mean 2-Way Connections is our measure of social cohesion. For the majority of communities, the higher this score, the better. A high score means that it is highly likely that strong relationships are being developed amongst the membership. We know that strong relationships underpin trust, and with trust we get speed and tangible results, as Stephen Covey elegantly represents in his book ‘The Speed of Trust’. Where we have been able to compare online communities/groups within the same enterprise on this measure, we have found qualitative reinforcement that the more cohesive a community is, the more value that it is creating for its members and the enterprise.

Importantly, the social cohesion measure was the result with the greatest spread from best to worst in our benchmarking studies. The following chart shows the relative spread of results amongst a selected set of 21 enterprises:

Standard Deviation.png

In essence this chart indicates the Mean 2-Way Connections (social cohesion) is the measure that most differentiates good from poor performance. It is also therefore the dimension that offers the most potential for improvement.

There is however an upper limit for social cohesion within a community. This point is where a community reaches, what we commonly call ‘group think’. In these circumstances, highly cohesive communities become immune to ideas from outside the community. Innovation stagnates, and while the community may still be successful, it will find it increasingly hard to deliver further improvements, without introducing more diversity within its membership.

What should this mean to you?

As an individual, one should always be looking to maximize the number of reciprocated relationships one has. Having a high number of 2-way relationship connections should result in your being seen as an ‘Engager’, the most productive behavioural persona. Recall that Engagers are able to effectively manage their ‘give-receive’ balance. They become the glue that binds a community.

As a community leader, a high average 2-way relationship score means that your members are actively engaged in community activities and delivering value for the community and its sponsors. On the other hand, a low score indicates poor social cohesion and therefore much work to do. To build up social cohesion in your community, you need to start with identifying a few important tasks that selected groups of members can actively work and collaborate on. Traction is gained around these activities and value stories are shared amongst the broader community. You will see the 2-Way Relationships score grow, as the membership becomes more engaged in its activities.

In summary, social cohesion and its specific measure of Mean 2–Way Connections is seen as, arguably, the clearest measure of a successful community.  Social cohesion is synonymous with community. Our benchmarking studies have shown that it is also the measure that most differentiates excellent from poor community performance. For those communities exhibiting poor social cohesion, the task is to develop activities that encourage members to reciprocate. There is however price for too much cohesion; and that is a lack of diversity and innovation, which could lead to eventual stagnation, if not managed properly.

 

 

 

Is Being a ‘Lurker’ a Good or Bad Thing?

Swoop: Observer Persona

KEEPIA View from the Top – David Thodey Interview - Part 1- Why Enterprise Social Networking- (1)

Lurkers are often painted in a negative context, as those that take but don’t give back. Sometimes however, communities are designed for lurkers/observers e.g. Technical Support Forums. But even in this context one could argue that a lurker benefiting from some expert advice might still add value by acknowledging an expert contribution. So how should lurkers/observers be viewed?

This post continues the series the deeper dives into the specific measures included in the SWOOP Collaboration Framework #swoopframework. The ‘Observer’ behavioural persona; is the fifth and final collaboration persona with the ‘Engager’, ‘Catalyst’ , ‘Responder’ and ‘Broadcaster’ personas.

How Measured?

The ‘Observer’ persona is simply calculated against a minimum activity level. In the current implementation with the Yammer platform, it is not possible to measure ‘views’, so only those that have at some time interacted with the platform e.g. a ‘like’, ‘reply’ etc., can be assessed. Somewhat arbitrarily we have classified anyone who has interacted on the platform less than once every 2 weeks, over a 3 month period, as an ‘Observer’.

Interpretation

The ‘Observer’ persona is the most populous of the personas, accounting on average, close to 80% of all active participants, in the benchmarking studies done to date. We believe this reflects the maturity (or lack thereof) of many of the corporate social networking platforms; as Charlene Li has written about here. An alternative argument is that Enterprise Social Networks can still add value even with lower participation rates i.e. the ‘lurker’ value proposition. Research from IBM indicates that there are a variety of community types that can form within Enterprises (Community of Practice, Team, Technical Support, Idea Lab, Recreation), which demonstrate different patterns of connectivity. One could reasonably argue that a Technical Support community adds value by making experts available to less expert ‘Observers’; and therefore a larger number of observers is expected. The same argument however could not be made for a Team, Idea Lab or Community of Practice, where the fundamental design is for inclusive membership.

As our analytics framework targets collaboration, and as observation is a one-way channel, the ‘Observer’ is seen as negative persona. This is not to say that the platform is not providing value to ‘Observers’; it most probably is. However we believe that the most productive value that can be gained from a social networking platform is when people collaborate. Consistent and frequent collaboration demonstrates continuous knowledge sharing, co-operation, co-ordination and therefore performance. In our view the ‘Observer’, with perhaps the exception of Technical Support users, should always be looking to upgrade their status to one of the more positive personas.

What should this mean to you?

If you are one of the on average 80% of enterprise staff who are classified as ‘Observers’, you may want to reflect on what the impact on your career might be by staying on the sidelines. While currently you may feel comfortable being part of the majority, there is clear evidence that the leaders of the future are those that can pro-actively build their relationship networks. You may think that you can do most of your networking and relationship building off-line, but the digital divide is rapidly disappearing.

Of course there are situations where being an ‘Observer’ is appropriate. If you are new to social media or indeed new to the organisation, it would be prudent to spend some time observing the network interactions, understanding who the network leaders are and what the unwritten protocols might be. However, like the ‘Broadcaster’ persona, it should only ever be a temporary status for you. Once you are confident on the value you could add as one of the positive personas, you should jump in and start interacting.

In summary, the ‘Observer’ persona is passive and from a collaboration perspective, seen as a negative persona. The current status quo however is that the vast majority of participants on social networking platforms are ‘Observers’. The reasons for this are complex and have been explored previously. Some of the issues are related to multi- technology platform channels i.e. collaboration is evidenced say more in email or other messaging platforms. Overall however, we believe that the collaboration persona classifications can stand independent of the technical platforms being used. Ultimately it will/may be necessary to draw data from multiple digital channels to accurately represent an individual’s true collaboration persona.