Beta Mentality

Sometimes I wonder (as Wonderwebby does) if the uptake of web2.0, social media and virtual worlds requires a beta mentality. First of all, you need to be ready to find the goodness knowing there might be some minor usability hiccups along the way.

It also means having a beta mentality towards the content you are putting out there, ready to gain influence outside of the team or enterprise by losing control of content. Not everybody likes to lose control of the written word. Yet, new initiatives within an organisation can benefit from contribution of multiple authors (eg via a blog or wiki) prior to the final publication. Team members can form awareness of subject matter expertise quickly when given the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and talent.

Mind you, it’ not an excuse to stay stuck at beta release mindset just because the benefits and rewards are collaboration candy. Some people find the entry level into blogging and using a wiki far too technical. Too many logins. Too many click throughs. Virtual worlds freeze up. Navigation and HTML looks confusing. I’m hoping to see some nice improvements soon to the ease of navigation for new users so that selecting social media to collaborate or publish can be as lazy easy as sending an email. Then we might see a much more rapid uptake within large organisations. IF the decision makers can learn to think beta when it comes to content.

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  • http://www.servantofchaos.com Gavin Heaton

    It is interesting … as careers progress, many managers lose contact with the technology that brought them success. This means that some of the best communicators in an organisation are likely to baulk at the idea of blogging — simply on technical grounds. Unfortunately this creates a barrier to entry that simply should not be there.

    This is where some ghost writing can work wonders. By helping senior executives to take the first steps, you can give them a sense of excitement and ownership in the whole social media process. And, I am sure, there will even be a secret level of excitement when the first few comments and responses start coming through.

  • http://blog.acidlabs.org/ Stephen Collins

    Jasmin, I’ll agree with you 100 per cent on the notion of a beta mentality. But I’ll pour water on the whole thing by saying my observation is that in many large bureaucratic organisations, the cultural readiness to let go of the power that defines people and groups is missing.

    These organisations and people define their worth by what they can protect and hold, rather than want they can set free. Until they adopt the latter mindset, they are doomed from the Enterprise 2.0/learning organisation/knowledge organisation standpoint.

  • http://andypiper.wordpress.com/ Andy Piper

    This exactly reflects a conversation I had last week with an organisation where a lot of control was being exerted over information by keeping it on emails and not opening the debate to the wider world through e.g. blogs. “New” (!) Web 2.0 technologies can be seen as too unstable and too politically inflammatory.

    Is this one area where having a grass-roots approach to technology adoption can drive change in the wider organisation? We just published a redbook on how our Technology Adoption Programme works…

  • wonderwebby

    Thanks for the responses.

    I guess it all gets down to open business as Ross Dawson just blogged.

    The premise of open business begins with opening up “beta format” content within small teams or beyond the firewall. It might not be cooked yet but please dip your finger in to taste.