In order to advance an approach to Social BPM I want to describe what Social means to me. As a long time user of news groups, communities, open-source projects, forums, wikis and now even a Facebooker I have taken great pleasure in sharing ideas with people and have learnt an enormous amount along the way. These social and collaborative tools have helped me make friends and find answers to the questions of the day. I learnt how to swap out the gear box of my car and replace it with another from a completely different model thanks to an Alfa Romeo news group in the early nineties.
Many of these things did not conform entirely to what I call social today but they did contain some important aspects that have brought us to where we are. For a start they were collaborative, I asked a question and a member of the community answered. Another would chip in, I’d have some counter questions and together we would arrive at a solution. But getting to that point wasn’t easy, I didn’t have an internet connected machine at home, I did this at the local college. The modem dialed into a server in another country and the Usenet client was a command line interface. It required a lot of trial and error just to get connected to the newsgroup before I could even post my question or read replies from last time.
There was another aspect to this, it empowered me to change the gear box myself, something I would not have been able to do as I couldn’t even source a replacement before posting on the newsgroup. With my new found knowledge I was able help other enthusiasts out with similar issues, albeit several years later on a much more usable forum!
Roll forward nearly 20 years and much has changed. I can ask this question in seconds, wherever I am, across multiple places at once. I can take a photo of the item and upload it and I receive responses instantly, either in the palm of my hand or on the screen of my laptop. When carrying out the work I can video it, or take a series of photos, and upload those for other people who wish to complete the same work.
For me social-xxx means 3 things:
- Collaboration – the ability to work with people, either synchronously or asynchronously, across continents and time zones to reach a common goal.
- Empowerment – the ability to do things that I previously could not and to offer what I had learnt back to the community.
- Usability – the great after thought and yet the first impression, for something to be truly social it has to be usable, only then can it be truly inclusive.
Tack Social on to anything and you can see how it has the ability to transform; Social Networking, Social Media, Social Learning and Social BPM. Of course tomorrow everything will be social.
For those who came here to see something cute I offer this. When our son was taking his first tentative steps my wife recorded it on her Smart phone. Within minutes this was uploaded to the internet. The link was published on several networks and emailed to family and friends. Within hours everyone within our personal social network was able to share the experience. Enjoy!