5 reasons social intranets have not taken off

March 20, 2013

At the European Enterprise 2.0 Summit this afternoon,  I gave a 15-minute talk about social intranets:

  • Why social intranets disrupt organizations.
  • Five reasons why social intranets have not taken off and what to do about it.

In a nutshell:

  1. Lack of urgency
  2. Middle management forgotten
  3. No real empowerment
  4. Fragmented digital environments
  5. A lot to learn about change

Take a look at the presentation and tell me what you think.

Social Intranet (R)evolution at Enterprise 2.0 Summit from Jane McConnell
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James Dellow

There are two ways of looking at this – assume that users will passively be productive thanks to the magic of ‘social’ technology or that they need to be proactive individually and within their work groups in adjusting work practices to take advantage of new collaborative technology. We actually saw this same issue with virtual teams, but the fire hose of social activity is a new factor. Ultimately I’m sure it will be a mix of both. If social tools aren’t adding value either don’t use them or change something. BTW ‘real work’ is subjective – some people think its rushing from meeting to meeting and processing email.


Martin, you may be right. However, personally I have not yet seen that inside organizations. I’ve seen lack of adoption and I’ve seen social being used in ways that recreate silos. Much less often, but not rare, I’ve seen people using social to improve the way of working.

Martin White

Good analysis but I think that there is another factor. I sense there is beginning to be a push back against being constantly interrupted by social media. In theory the principle of networked organisations is a good one but in reality we expect people to respond to our tweets, blogs, emails and discussion thread contributions but are increasingly unhappy when others expect us to respond promptly when we are trying to do ‘real work’. I blogged about this recently


Perhaps in some organisations a tipping point is being reached where the level of un-anticipated (and therefore difficult to plan for) interruptions and opportunities to contribute is reaching the point where it is having a negative rather than a positive impact on personal and corporate productivity.