Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles Theory

What is Cultural Capital?

Every now and again I like to wonder about social search and the semantic web. I have a secret question, which I shall share, my own personal Turing Test to see if the machine is paying attention. I ask it this – “What is Cultural Capital?” The results vary as the algorithms shift, sometimes the results are reasonably close to the actual meaning, other-times far off, way out.

In my most recent foray into this remarkably unscientific experiment, Google did OK, bringing in a Wikipedia result which, correctly as I understand it explains that the concept originated with Bourdieu:

For Bourdieu, capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange, and the term is extended ‘to all the goods material and symbolic, without distinction, that present themselves as rare and worthy of being sought after in a particular social formation (cited in Harker, 1990:13) and cultural capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange that includes the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers power AND status. (my emphasis – source)

Down the list in Google I get a similar, worthy list of definitions. I then shift the question by asking this – “What is your cultural capital?” Google of course can”t answer this – nothing equates to an answer, no one has made a cultural capital calculator which might get thrown up in such a search. I also it should be noted get all sorts of stuff I don’t want, such as Barnsley is the cultural capital of the North and such.

As a comparison, I then asked Twitter search the question:


I like these answers, of course they’re generated by people, but a machine found them for me. But to answer the question, in any other form than a list (to which Google is currently limited) there has to be cultural capital. I like the concept of cultural capital as bricolage. That enriches my own cultural capital. We are all bricoleurs in the knowledge economy.

Can a machine have cultural capital?

This makes me wonder if when I get to ask Wolfram Alpha the same question next month, whether I’ll get closer to a real answer. Will Wolfram Alpha have cultural capital?

A web tool that “could be as important as Google”, according to some experts, has been shown off to the public. Wolfram Alpha is the brainchild of British-born physicist Stephen Wolfram. (BBC)

Next blog or so (I may do one next on Pocket God) I’m going to look at Social Capital. This was inspired by the forthcoming Somesso conference where they’re flagging it as about: “Benefiting from Social Capital and the Relationship Economy as the recession bites”. As cultural capital is to the bricoleur, so I’ll argue social capital is to the flaneur. One assembles meaning via accumulating disparate knowledge, the latter creates meanings via the network of associations and wandering.

The big question though is this – can we measure social capital in a non-reductive way?


J G Ballard – West is the Best

West is the Best? Interesting snippet from James Heartfield for those of us in Chiswick W4 where the M4 slices through and makes God’s green acre of Grove park. But doesn’t JH live way out East?


Case Study Featured Articles

7 Social Media Case Studies Updates + Staff Guidelines!

Some brand spanking new social media case studies added to the Social Media Case Study Hot List and a link to a blog with 40 Social Media Staff Guidelines!

BBC and Blogs – How they are central to what the BBC does. Full report needs subscription at: iFirst, but article interesting.

Urbane Apartments – using social media to reach ‘millenials’. No one cared about Urbane so they went for it with Facebook, MySpace, blogs, Flickr, Twitter etc and it worked. – not really social media but worthwhile study on increasing subscriptions by mix of free and paid for (yes do keep the free stuff pleeze!)

Paganum Farmer’s Market – showing how a very traditional sector, UK farming can use social media to increase sales with Twitter, Facebook and blogs

1:10 Protect the Human – Amnesty International’s social media awareness and action campaign for International Women’s Day to stop violence against women. Blogs, Flickr, YouTube, Bebo, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace.

Freemium and Corey Smith – short but sweet on how Mr Smith gives away his music on his site and sales go up as a result on iTunes

Guidelines and Governance

40 Social Media Staff Guidelines – Laurel Papworth has compiled a mega list of staff guidelines on social media. 40 ways to avoid HR-Hot water!

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Oracle buy Sun for Social Networking?

Reliable sources, says Shel Israel, have it that one reason Oracle wanted Sun, was for their social networking capabilities. Mike Gotta lists these out, including SunSpace, their Facebook for the Enterprise:

  • This could help bootstrap an Oracle effort to deliver a dedicated social network site (ala Lotus Connections) to compliment WebCenter (which is more of a portal-centric play for social networking).
  • SunSpace could conceptually “surround” Beehive.
  • However, Oracle has not indicated that it believes in the concept of a destination site for social networking.

ZDNET look toward the Data Center and see this as both entering the fray with combined gusto. It also brings together tech:

The technical side of this Oracle buy Sun deal also is notable. Oracle’s stack of IT stuff now includes:

  • Java;
  • Solaris;
  • Enterprise applications ranging from CRM to ERP to business intelligence;
  • The database (Oracle and MySQL);
  • The middleware;
  • The storage hardware;
  • Cloud computing services;
  • And servers.

Will it all function together? Are they going to market a SunSpace Beehive? What will happen to MySQL and Open Office?

Let’s hope Dries Buytaert is right too and MS Access is in the frame:

dries buytaert

Will it all work out? Technosailor Aaron Brazell has no doubts, with this Blip to the new union:

Communications Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Yes Tweetminister

Not sure why anyone would want to do this, but a new Twitter application lets UK citizens (or anyone else mad enough to do so) follow their MPs on Twitter. Called Tweetminister Wire the app – in beta as I write – is made by Tweetminister and lets users stalk, follow the every move of their favourite ministers and members of parliament via their Twitter accounts.

Tweetminister Wire
Tweetminister Wire

HP Source

Inspired by the American the app hopes to increase engagement with our politicians, by drawing in data from APIs such as the Guardian and The Register and mashing this with their Tweets. As Techcrunch explains:

Users can participate within these conversations, tying in to TweetMinster’s aims to foster an active community around UK politics.

Will Ann Keen Twitter?

Whether this aim is met is a moot point. And beta caveat aside it is still early days with many MPs not using Twitter. My local MP Ann Keen for example. One also has to wonder on the quality of information being disseminated, not least after the Damien Green affair and the whole tendency of British politics to be wars of spin and PR, rather than fundemental debate on real issues. Tweetminister perhaps not surprisingly see their role as quote the opposite, as they claim it:

gives you the ability to search tweets, view and compare topics and identify trends in UK politics from the real life conversations behind the spin.

Commercial Uses

All this aside the app has interesting commercial uses too. A corporation could provide it as a way of filtering through vast swathes of Twitter and API connected data with either advertising or their own content taking pole position.

The Tweetminster Wire is also a Twitter client, so you can tweet, follow, reply, retweet and direct message your friends and followers.

How, who when puts this to new commercial uses will be interesting to follow.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles Intranet

Some thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 ROI

Some interesting posts over what for us in the UK was an Easter Bank Holiday weekend, on E2.0, its progress and and its ROI. The discussions all centred the long roasted meme of when, when and what for Enterprise 2.0 will truly come kicking and screaming into the business world.

Trough of 2.0?

For example, Hutch Carpenter reckons we’re quite likely in the Gartnerian Trough of Disillusionment where the purported gains of 2.0 seem a far off promised land and any real gains, mere milk and honey of the mind.  Nonetheless:

What gives me comfort is that the Hype Cycle provides a fairly well-known model for how technology ultimately becomes core to the way businesses do work. So let the analysis show that Enterprise 2.0 cannot, in fact, solve every problem that companies have.

ROI of 2.0?

Dion Hinchcliffe asks the question of how do we determine the Enterprise 2.0 ROI and starts of by citing Andrew McAfee’s piece from a couple of years or so back, The Case Against the Business Case. Here Andrew points to the intangible nature of the gains and points to a “costs required to acquire capabilities” model as being far more preferable.

Dion is keen to stress that he does see actual gains, but asks if Enterprise 2.0 truly strategic in the unique way that information technology can so often be? Pointing out that  a third of companies (globally?) are already using 2.0 tools in one shape or another, Dion argues that they will see gains, but that:

Innovation often comes from where you least expect it and harnessing collective intelligence, the core principle of Web 2.0 as well as Enterprise 2.0, is the very art of eliciting value from emergent systems such as the Web and our intranets.


One aspect I think is interesting in all of this (amongst so many interesting ones), is this question of ROI itself – the why are we doing it? It’s similar in some ways to the discussion sparked off by my LinkedIn poll on ‘what’s the single most important aim of internal communications?‘. One could phrase this as are we there to just do some good, or to prevent a bad from happening, or can internal communications all be seen in the sense of the bottom line, the drive for profit?

Kicking butts

Indeed, for companies  Motorola are all too clear on why they’re using social media:

“I don’t beat Nokia or Cisco or Siemens by having better buildings or shinier cafeterias. Companies are human beings solving problems or responding to crises by working with each other. If you can make your company less of a top-down company at a higher speed than your competition, you have just kicked their butts.”

Motorola VP Toby Redshaw.

Thinking inside a box

Profit is (for once literally) the bottom line yet for a business in contemporary capital it cannot be a single strive for it.  It has to be  a combination of elements.   I tried to combine how these might function together for internal comms as so:

I wonder if it’s worthwhile to start to frame E 2.0 into the wider cultural frame. If we’re talking of Enterprise 2.0 ROI then the pattern might shift and the business element play a more pivotal role – perhaps Engagement comes Innovation – I’m not sure and need to mull on this more. What I don’t think we can avoid is the question of the Enterprise 2.0 ROI.

Post script on Red Herrings

I hope you like my Photoshop of some red herrings – I was going to call this post “2.0: ROI, the red herring that has yet to be caught!”  Maybe I’ll return to that, as I originally tried to cover far too much for a bear of little brains to write in one post.  There’s some snippets on the cutting room floor I will return to, esp about the’ Q of impossibility of cultural change’.

Case Study Enterprise 2.0

Motorola and TransUnion Social Media Case Studies added

2 new case studies added to the Case Study Hot List:

TransUnion – SocialText using SocialText as Wiki and IM in an environment with SharePoint. Best aspect – question asking to groups. Claimed total savings of $5-8M. Hard data on this would be v useful – savings can be slippery – real earnings or benefits are far harder to show…

Motorola’s Intranet 2.0 IT success “70,000 people using it every day, including partners. The company now has 4,400 blogs and 4,200 wiki pages and uses, among other technologies, social bookmarking and tagging by Scuttle and social networking by Visible Path.” 

“I don’t beat Nokia or Cisco or Siemens by having better buildings or shinier cafeterias. Companies are human beings solving problems or responding to crises by working with each other. If you can make your company less of a top-down company at a higher speed than your competition, you have just kicked their butts.” 

Motorola VP Toby Redshaw. 

Featured Articles Theory

The Monument Project – Spatiality of the City of London

There’s something that draws out the thought of the French philosopher Henri Lefebvre in the excellent Monument Project.  A whole series of time lapse cameras generate a 360 degree image from London’s Monument in the City, London:



With the advent of modernity time has vanished from social space. It is recorded solely on measuring-instruments, on clocks, that are isolated and functionally specialized as this time itself. Lived time loses its form and its social interest — with the exception, that is, of time spent working. Economic space subordinates time to itself; political space expels it as threatening and dangerous (to power). The primacy of the economic and above all of the political implies the supremacy of space over time.

Lefebvre The Production of Space

All lost perhaps, by both the G20 and its protesters…?

Communications Featured Articles

What’s at play in internal communications?

A couple of weeks or so ago I set up one of those polls in LinkedIn asking what the single most important aim of internal comms was. The chart of the results so far is thus:


The discussion continued on LinkedIn, with a lively engagement on what the most importan aspect might be. Now of course, this is all a bit phantasmagorical as in real life there’s no single one most important aspect, but the discussion did draw out some interplays between the different aspects.

I tend to agree with Nicky Fried’s comment that:

If we, as communicators, are able to link each employee to the corporate vision – the rest takes care of itself.

but as we see above most people disagree and think engagement is the most important aspect rather than the vision or strategy. There was also an important contribution from Mark Barwick, who argued that I’d made an error by missing out Productivity as the key aim. For Liam FitzPatrick  however, asking what aim might be most important implied conflict or polarities between ‘productivity/strategy/engagement’.

My view on this is that we’re not talking about polarities and certainly not about conflicts, but different spheres of action and influence. I’d still place strategy as the most important aim and align its relationship with engagement and productivity as so:


But then, as I pointed out to Mark, the strategy might not be productivity, it could be to say, increase market share. The ultimate end, and the ultimate end of all business, would be Profit. We might therefore, replace Producivity with Profit as the driver. Thus all internal communications becomes a drive to profit.

We therefore end up with a chart such as this:


This creates a very instrumental, one might almost say brutalist picture of the enterprise. What’s missing is the ethos of the company – it’s brand and its culture. For me at least, the brand is all about internal communications – we’re articulating the brand to our shared internal audience. So what we need to do is bring this branding aspect into the equation:


Taken together these aspects create the enterprise’s culture. One can then begin to imagine who the communications would change as each of these gains ascendancy over the other. Profit must always have the final say – or the business goes out of business. But if profit becomes the only driver, what then for internal communications?

I think this is where Visteon came unstuck. They created a Culture, complete with a well-defined Corporate Social Responsibility and communicated it well enough so that their employees not only knew about it, they both understood it and bought into it. It was when Visteon itself, driven by the profit motivator, forgot that aspect of its culture, that the workers of Visteon decided to occupy their plants.

Ethics and Integrity Policy, Visteon.

Enterprise 2.0 Film

Alice Mashup

Thanks to Dazed Magazine for pointing out this most enjoyable Alice mashup by Fagottron.

The music video for my song ‘Alice’, an electronic piece of which 90% is composed using sounds recorded from the Disney film ‘Alice In Wonderland’.