Many business and IT leaders tasked with executing on social-media-based efforts do not place enough emphasis on the "social" aspect of community participation, according to Gartner, Inc. Although numerous organizations have achieved social media success, failure rates are very high because leaders and managers rely too heavily on social technology functionality and often miss the critical design concerns.
"Far too many social media endeavors are failing because the managers leading the efforts lack knowledge of the fundamental principles of mass collaboration," said Anthony Bradley, group vice president at Gartner. "Business and IT leaders must understand the basic nature of mass collaboration and how to deliver on its unique value. Like never before, millions of people can simultaneously create content, share experiences, build relationships, and engage in other forms of productive work and meaningful activities."
Mr. Bradley said that business and IT leaders shouldn't assume that the social technologies automatically come with the needed mass collaboration built in. Mass collaboration must be designed and delivered as part of the social solution, and no social technology is great enough to save efforts that ignore or omit the fundamental principles of mass collaboration.
"When these efforts are omitted, people don't view the social media environment as a place for them to meaningfully collaborate, and so adoption never really takes hold," Mr. Bradley said. "Initial interest wanes quickly as community members realize that collaborating in the environment is too difficult. Participation lacks focus, and critical mass never materializes around a common cause."
Gartner has identified six core design principles that distinguish social media from other approaches to communication and collaboration, and form the foundation for its unique mass-collaboration value proposition. Business leaders should apply these principles to shift away from a "provide and pray" approach to a “motivate and engage” strategy.
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