ESN Handbook Project – March 13, 2014 Update

Posted: March 13, 2014 in #ESNchat
Tags: , , , , ,

BlankBookOn February 13 I hosted a Twitter chat on the subject of imagining your ideal Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) Handbook. This was an effort to start the discussion among several ESN professionals about what the ultimate handbook for our profession might include, and then to proceed to creating just such a handbook. We had a lot of participation and shared ideas which have been captured in the archive of the chat. Just prior to the chat, I explained my thoughts in this blog post regarding the need.

It took me longer than I hoped to gather the thoughts shared by everyone into some coherent format, but I want to present here the collective thoughts of those who took part in the February 13 chat along with an overall structure for the handbook that makes sense to me. The next step is for those interested to look over this info and fill in gaps with additional topics to cover, perhaps suggest consolidation of a few subjects, and begin to fine tune the structure and contents of each section of the book, including specific chapter/article titles and potential authors.

What follows, therefore, isn’t nearly complete by any means. It’s merely the organization of the earlier thoughts into some order, acknowledging that there is a lot of cleanup and gap filling to do before we have a worthy final outline to build on. But we have to start somewhere, and this is a good start, I believe.

Given the breadth of possible contents for this book, I like the idea of organizing it into sections that address the what, why, where, who, when and how and enterprise social networking. Those questions are intentionally arranged in that order to explain first what enterprise social networking is, why it’s important, where it can be useful, who must be involved to make it work, advice regarding possible timelines or phases of implementation, and a host of how-to subjects that provide meat for the reader and practitioner.

The working title is ESN Handbook: The What, Why, Where, Who, When and How of Enterprise Social Networking

What follows next are the 6 major sections with possible topics (so far) for each section.


  • This is NOT Facebook for the Enterprise (Naomi Moneypenny’s article)
  • A top-down and bottom-up approach to getting your answers/info to do your job better/quicker
  • A different way to communicate – networked/pull vs. controlled/push communications
  • A globally connected workforce
  • ESN’s place in the communication toolbox (with email, IM, etc.)


  • Answering the “What’s in it for me?” question for users
  • Why you should care about enterprise social
  • Business cases for different job functions, e.g. project managers, sales, R&D
  • Use cases on getting work done efficiently in business language and context
  • Supporting business objectives through clear goals and strategy
  • The value of networks inside and outside the org structure
  • Being a Responsive Organization
  • Improving work processes


  • Each org is unique
  • Applicable for any size business
  • Not just for IT (or HR or…)


  • Stakeholder Identification and working with all departments involved
  • Defining Roles
  • Getting executive buy-in and participation
  • The psychology and sociology of communities
  • Working with and addressing concerns of legal, risk, and security teams
  • For all generations – not just millennials
  • Your extended enterprise: customers/suppliers/partners
  • Community managers


  • ESN timeline: planning, evaluating platforms, getting buy-in, launching, managing, maturing
  • Don’t wait for everyone to get on board
  • Start quickly


  • How to Get Started
  • Start small
  • Don’t call it a “pilot”; plan for “phases”
  • The feedback loop between corporate culture and the ESN
  • The importance of participating freely and frequently
  • Leveraging small successes to create bigger ones
  • Treating everyone as adults
  • Creating governance policy
  • Lessons learned the hard way – what not to do and why
  • Focus on best principles rather than best practices
  • Be agile, always probing, never married to inflexible time or approach
  • Promoting experimentation to discover new uses
  • Troubleshooting common business (impact on productivity) and user (firehose of info) concerns
  • Reporting; Ways of measuring success
  • Expect the platform to change
  • Corporate culture and trust
  • Content moderation
  • Growing adoption
  • Change management



  • Don’t be overly negative, focusing on “don’ts”
  • Don’t focus too much on tools subject to change
  • Avoid legalese
  • Don’t focus on future possibilities; focus on current realities
  • Keep it simple
  • Don’t promise this will reduce email; overall messages might increase
  • Don’t focus only on technology; Launching/adopting an #ESN is about change management, legal, HR, human behavior, communications; approach must be holistic
  • Be vendor neutral
  • Keep chapters short


  • @russn, @CarrieYoung, @GuyKawasaki, @Nmoneypenny, @oscarberg a Digital Strategist & Business Analyst-Enterprise Collaboration from @avegagroup;
  • about Responsive Organization: @yammeradam or @matthewpartovi
  • @espnguyen – @sdeanswann, @mattpartovi, @alanlepo, @yammeradam, @stevehopkins  @rickardhansson CEO @incetivecorp How to get started, get to phase on
  • @carrieyoung – If a play book is written, I’m in! My chapter: the dirty little secrets that will make your ESN successful
  • @joeloleson – Love to write, but yes @nmoneypenny is over the top great ESN writer
  • @adamjsr – I’d like to see a chapter from my former colleague Luis Suarez @elsua, well-known for shunning email years ago
  • Would be interested in engaging @hjarche on the subject of personal knowledge management, learning in social networks
  • @StanGarfield on knowledge management
  • @akberry, @ullabres, @kzrtech, @hohertz3, @ashleygross, @chriscatania, @curtisaconley
  • Another great mind is @alexkass on social collaboration (background in human-computer interaction).
  • Guy Alvarez – @guylaw1313
  • Chris Slemp – @cslemp, toolbox discussion, scenarios, what not to do
  • Eric Herberholz – @erich13
  • Jennifer Honig – @jhonig1
  • Nick Inglis – @nickinglis
  • Trey Mayer – @TreyPoint: use cases & integrating into LOB systems
  • Vanessa DiMauro – @vdimauro
  • Jeff Willinger – @jwillie

So where do we go from here? I need all interested parties to really consider all of the above and make suggestions for improvement in the outline before any writing begins. What additional topics should be covered? Who are some additional professionals in the field who may be able and willing to make a writing contribution to the project? What additional resources should be referenced? Are there additional sections needed beyond the basic structure of what, why, where, who, when and how?

Either add your comments here, email me at, or tweet me @JeffKRoss. Thanks in advance for your thoughts as we advance this collaborative writing project for the advancement of enterprise social networking.

  1. Tracy says:

    Wow…what a great start. I am happy to help in any way that I can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s