Luis Suarez is creating a wave of interest in his self administered email detox rehab program
He links to one of my posts on examples of re-purposing email, in this post I want to talk about more tricky situations.
Blogs, wikis, and forums enable us to work socially and keep up to date using RSS Readers.
But email still has to be used to invite people to a new forum, a new blogger on the block, a new wiki set-up for an event, etc…
Luis talks about email just being for one-to-one sensitive correspondence…well invites are not sensitive and you’d want to broadcast an invite to a lot of people. So what to do?
Email is not alone here, blasting a private message to a list in your Facebook private messages is no different.
Although it is slightly different if you blast a private message within a topic community, this is like having numerous email inboxes, one for each community, and they each live at the community site.
But still with lots of inboxes you need some sort of dashboard to be notified on what’s going on, is email this dashboard, most of the time yes.
What I can think of is for each community or business unit to have a news blog, this blog can announce an invite to a new blog, wiki event, etc… This is the only way I see of bypassing email.
But what if that invite to a new wiki event is only intended for a few people in the community, the rest of the members have to put up with seeing the blog post even though is doesn’t really concern them.
You wouldn’t have got this occupational spam using email as it wouldn’t of been sent to non-relevant people, in this case a blog is causing more occupational spam in your RSS Reader, than spam in your email inbox.
This is the whole reason for my post on mesh blogs.
My idea of mesh blogs also applied to tasks. Since a mesh blog is a specific blog set up for a two way audience, a member of one sub-team can post tasks to this blog without feeling they are spamming other sub-teams. The recipient can leave comments or create new posts to the sender as clarification, status, etc…
But what happens when the task is only for one or two people?
If a task was posted in a mesh blog for the support and tech team to communicate, then the one member of the tech team (sender) and the one or two members (recipients) of the support team are not going to be the only people who get this post. All members of both these sub-teams will get this post plus subsequent posts.
The only answer I can see is setting up a blog for each task, this way you don’t need to spam anyone.
Like Luis says, you could use a wiki, forum, or a blog for tasks. If it was a bigger task you could have a community or room so you can use all these tools.
In the end these are better than email as you can collaborate easier and it’s centralised in an open archive, rather than email siloes. This documented trail is knowledge sharing by doing work, there is no extra effort in having to think and share your knowledge for the greater good…and hopefully others can see your documented activity and re-use it, rather than re-inventing the wheel.
But why not use a task management tool to do the job, such as Lotus Connections (Activities)…I’d like to hear Luis’s progress on this addition to his program.
Anyway, whatever system is used, the idea is to use an RSS Reader for progress updates, or the dashboard widget itself.
The idea of a task is a unique communication between two or more parties to get a job done. An existing channel like a blog or wiki may not exist for this task, so a new one may need to be created, no matter how small or temporarily.
I find on-the-fly conversations in a very similar area.
In a past post I explained the difficulty in using existing blogs or forums to have a discussion that may only last 2 or 3 back and forth communications.
Basically you only want specific people to be in the discussion (perhaps privacy or simply courtesy of not spamming them), and setting up a forum for a very brief discussion can seem too much compared to sending an email.
But as mentioned earlier, at least the discussion can be re-used by others as it is visible.
I think in this situation email could be used if setting up a forum is too much work, unless the first email you send automatically sets up the forum. And subsequent back and forth emails are threaded into the open forum. With this system you can still use email for the discussion as it’s posted to a public space at the same time, or you could just go to that public space and post there, and subscribe to the feed for updates.
Basically you email people and 9cays…9cays will send people an email invite. When the reply to emails it will also appear at an public or private space, and this space is pretty much one blog post and comments.
Hmm, 9cays could be used for tasks.
Email the task to a worker and 9cays, and then just back and forth discuss via email or at the blog post comments, in the end you have a central place to house this (yeah for no email silos).
Either a task or an on-the-fly forum, I think, is seen as it’s own thing. It may not be related to a community, but you still need to be able to use social community tools.
I feel that templates that are used to set up a community can be stripped down to a basic template to serve task requirements. And unlike a community, you would not need to request a task (room) space, any user can just set one up in one click.
Setting up a task room needs to be as accessible and easy as sending an email, otherwise people won’t use them.
So next time a few others and yourself have a task, don’t use email, instead set up a room in one click. You will have an instant blog, forum, wiki and document folder to do your work.
Others can eavesdrop, subscribe to or visit your room to keep in the loop.
Next time someone needs to do a similar task (perhaps the person who did the original task has left the company), they can re-use the knowledge that lives in the task room.
Next time you come off a cross business unit conference call and want to keep the discussion going online for about 2 weeks, don’t worry about trying to find the right CoP to use, just set up a room.
Yeah, no email siloes.
Plus the task information you are going to re-use isn’t just a deliverable, it includes all the workings out from blog posts, forum discussions, and wiki collaborations…now that’s tacitastic!
The reason I’m harping on about tasks is that sure you can get people using communities to do work rather than email silos, but quite often work is done as a task by just a few people…and your communications and collaborations in a community may feel like you are spamming these people.
At our work we are starting to use communities to leverage the social captial and get away from email, but I’m finding task work is still done in email, that’s why I see “rooms” (with social tools) as another way to use tools that are more appropriate than email.
For those of you who love email, please adhere to two.sentenc.es