Facebook’s Wake-Up Call for Jive and Enterprise Social Networks


Last week Patrick O’Keefe invited me to be on his latest podcast for Community Signal. We’d been back and forth over twitter about my views on Facebook breaking into the enterprise social network (ESN) space and what this might mean for the other ESN players.

As you can expect I had a view, you can listen to the full interview on the community signal episode. I had said Facebook’s move into the ESN space “should act as a wake-up call to Jive that they need to put collaboration back at the heart of their product” I stand by my comments and my team and I are spending a lot of time talking about how we can work around the technology limitations to bring this energy back to our community.

But on the topic of Workplace by Facebook there is a lot of chat happening among those of us who’ve been in this space for a while. Sharon O’Dea shared this great article from Talk Social to Me, Making the Switch from Jive to Workplace by Facebook And she also wrote this article Facebook’s freebie suggests they don’t understand the enterprise. I can’t do their articles justice by trying to summarise them, so I highly recommend having a read.

I can clearly see the appeal. If I was starting over, would Workplace by Facebook be a serious contender? Maybe – but knowing what I know now about managing an ESN over a sustained period of time, in the same organisation I see their proposition through a different lens. I share Sharon’s view ‘selling enterprise social in is hard, because you need to get approval from any business unit that might be affected by its use – i.e. all of them. And that takes ages’. ESN vendors have anticipated and continually try to diversify their product to respond to all those decision makers needs. I think this is a MASSIVE fail. Working this way responds to the traditional organisational design, what I believe made ESN’s great is that they broke down those silos, they destroyed the layers of the organisation and drove collaboration like a steam roller through an organisation – WE NEED MORE OF THIS!!

To me it feels like the current big players aren’t listening to their customers and the new players are after a slice of the pie but don’t fully understand what that means. What is clear is the prize is big, according to the latest market report published by Persistence Market Research titled ‘Enterprise Social Networks and Online Communities Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2016-2026’ they predict ESNs and online communities will procure US$12.189mn by 2026. We are talking about some big numbers.

Jive were acquired in May for $462m they will sit under the Aurea portfolio, we await news on what this will mean for their customers and the product.

And last week there were multiple reports that Amazon and others are sniffing around Slack, Business Insider UK said ‘Amazon is one of several tech companies interested in acquiring the Slack chat platform’

Dion Hinchcliffe was not wrong when he wrote Why enterprise collaboration is exciting again the burst of innovation is interesting and the shifts in the big players is what gets me really excited. I’m looking forward to watching this space.


5 days in Lesvos – The Situation

When I came home from our first trip to Slovenia I was an emotional wreck, all I wanted to do was cry. I wrote a blog to try and work through all the emotions I had. I’ve been home from Lesvos for a little over 24hrs and I feel numb.

I’ve spent the journey home and today trying to work out how I feel, i’ve been trying to think through the best way to tell the story of Moria to share with you an honest account of my experience. But quite honestly i’m struggling with the words…

I think it will take some time to tell all of the stories from Moria but first I think it would be helpful to set the scene, explain a little about the process and how volunteers like us are able to make an impact to the refugees, so this blog will share with you what i’m calling the situation.


Our first day was spent understanding the geography of the Island, we were staying in the North, it is where a lot of the boats arrive from Turkey, it is here that the distance is the shortest, but it is still incredibly dangerous. The shoreline is very rocky and isolated. This is one of the first areas volunteers are having a big impact, there are volunteers at lookout points with binoculars and others ready to jump into rescue boats to guide boats in or to pick up boats that have already started to sink.


Over and over we heard from refugees about how these boats were overloaded with people and boats with motors that didn’t work properly. We met men, women and children who had been in boats that had capsized, families whose children had been underwater for long periods of time, in the confusion and panic babies had been used as floats.

As we drove along the coast we could see the debris of the past days arrivals, the rubber from the boats, the discarded life jackets, clothes and shoes.


Once they land they then need to make their way to a transit camp, we saw a UNHCR camp that is being built at the bottom of the winding road, we were told it will be open in a few weeks, a number of tents will have heating and supplies so they can get out of wet clothes, rest before making their way to registration. For now though they make their way to Skala or Oxy. We stopped at Oxy for some time to see if we could offer any assistance, it was a quiet day they were cleaning up and getting ready for the next influx. They try to give people dry clothing, blankets and food whilst they wait for the transit buses. Here they are sorted into Syrian Women and Children, Syrian single men, Afghan, Iraq, Pakistan etc. etc. The registration camps are in the South it is about 1hrs 20mins drive. Syrian families head to Kara Tepe, Syrian, Moroccan and other African nation men to one side of Moria and all the other go to the Afghan Hill side of Moria.

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When the buses arrive on the Afghan hill side everyone has to walk up the hill to the gate and get a ticket, with the date and a number.


Further up the hill they are invited in to be registered in batches. How long they have to wait depends on how many people are on shift, when we first arrived this was fairly quick, only slowed down by the sheer volume of people.


On our last day it was incredibly slow, with no explanation.  Everyone is at the mercy of the authorities.

On the Afghan side, the large presence of volunteers has meant that the refugees are getting better care than they were. The conditions are still filthy, the hill has no proper drainage where people use the hill as a toilet this then flows down when it rains.


But there is a kitchen tent, serving chai and noodle broth, distributing water, crackers and sometimes fruit. There is a clothing tent for men and a separate one for women and children, there are never enough shoes but the volunteers try their best to make sure everyone who is wet can get something dry to wear. There is a medical tent and whilst we were there a children’s art tent was created, much needed and much appreciated by the families. Gravel was laid on the mud whilst we were there meaning that it is less muddy when it rains and a tent was being put up which will offer better shelter for supplies and medical help. Another community tent was erected and a  UK team of volunteers were boarding the floor to make it weather proof.

Once the refugees have their ticket they are then left to their own devices to figure out how to spend their time at Moria. Pop up tents were distributed a few nights before we arrived, as people vacate them, new refugees move in. There are some tents at the bottom of the registration hill including some container type shelters, there are some toilets and showers there too. These shelters are mostly reserved for families volunteers are able to assign families to these shelters, unfortunately this can be a difficult process as you have to open each one up and hope you find an empty one especially when you have the expectant family following you.

Finally there is some accommodation in the prison, this is managed by a couple of NGO’s and it is a complete mystery to me how this space is managed. No one on the outside is clearly informed about how much space there is and who can be let in –  it is guesswork. On the days we could get through the gap in the fence we would head to the entrance and ask if there is room, depending on who was on the door really depends on whether your vulnerable case would get inside.

Throughout the day different groups of volunteers distribute food and water, at about 8pm one group arrives with a hot meal.

On the Syrian side things varied drastically, when I first arrived I’d heard rumours that the process on the Syrian side was very quick they didn’t stay around very long and were first tracked on our final day we found this not to be the case and the Syrian side was in a serious mess. Firstly families should be able to go to Kara Tepe but for some reason families were falling through the cracks and would end up in Moria. Moroccans and other African nations were also being processed on the Syrian side, unfortunately for some reason the authorities had slowed  the process right down. They don’t have a ticketing system so people are forced to stay in line. There are two stages, queue outside of the “cage” and the queue inside the “cage” on Monday some of the people inside the cage had been in there for 6hrs + the challenge is there is no toilet, no access to food or water and as it got colder they had no access to blankets. Once they are processed they are free to then head to the port.

Once they have they’re papers all refugees can take a bus for a couple of euros or a taxi for 10 Euros to the port. They then need to purchase a ferry ticket which will take them to Athens. There is a night ferry and one at 7am. A lot of families who have funds will head to the port to find some accommodation and get a shower and some sleep. Others can choose to fly to Thessaloniki where they then head to the Macedonia border to start the route north through the Balkans.

Over the coming days and weeks I will share more of the people’s stories so that you can better understand who the people are we met. I hope this gives you a clear understanding of the situation in Lesvos and how the system works and please feel free to ask any questions i’m more than happy to try my best to answer them.

Using technology to make a difference

I’ve worked in the world of business collaboration for coming up 6 years. The holy grail of success is being able to answer the big question “what is in it for me” or WIIFM for short. People like me write strategies, join tweetups, attend conferences and share ideas about how we can tackle this question for executives, middle managers, remote workers etc.

In the last few weeks i’ve witnessed the most unbelievable collaboration and sharing of information, the levels of engagement a community manager like me can only dream of and the WIIFM is simple – humanity, saving lives, because I have to, because I can, because if we don’t who will?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the innovation that is taking place on a daily basis, the continuous improvement approach and the ability the volunteers have to organise themselves around skills, knowledge and strengths rather than a structure or hierarchy.

Whilst my blog was in draft Mashable published this article How entrepreneurs and aid groups are helping refugees with digital tools if you haven’t got time to read the article in full it is a summary of this wonderful low bandwidth information portal for refugees http://refugeeinfo.eu/


Another example is refugeemap.com an interactive mapping platform using Google tools that provides details on where refugees are traveling and what needs they have – the map is able to assist volunteers in best ways to provide aid and volunteer. I have personal experience of this map, I used it when planning our trip to Slovenia in October, the network of people updating it were able to help me find Brezice and Rigonce. You can read more about refugeemap.com here.


On facebook there are a number of co-ordination groups for refugee hot spots, we’ve joined Volunteers Co-ordination (Lesvos) group  it is a great source of information and collaboration for people on the ground. The group was getting flooded with questions about best flight deals, where can I stay?, does anyone want to share a car? etc. Through self selection some members split off the activity into a different group, they’ve created essential information for volunteers in google docs and sheets. And another group Information Point for Lesvos Volunteer  leaving the co-ordination group to focus on people in Lesvos reacting to the needs on the ground, this all happened in 3 days.

There are similar groups popping up throughout the Greek hotspots and along the Balkans route refugees take. These groups are filled with ideas on how to do things better, work with NGO’s, authorities, links to supermarkets who will do deliveries, lift sharing, accommodation tips, the situation, the facts and kindness.

WhatsApp is being used for on the spot translation services with refugees who have special medical needs putting them in touch with a native speaker. Google translate comes in handy on a daily basis, I’ve recently been using it to decipher the refugee situation in Finland for research (a sentence I never thought i’d find myself writing).

5kWe can not forget that most of this is possible because volunteers are taking to sites to crowd source funds, like gofundme.com. We also have first hand of this tool, our own GoFundMe site has already received £5k in donations. Grass roots groups are making the impossible seem possible.

In time the refugee crisis across Europe, will be analysed, it will make history books and i’m certain it will be a turning point for how we see the world today. Underpinning the entire movement will be the part technology played in telling the story, helping the refugees on their journey and providing people who want to help a digital guidebook to make a difference.

No one has sat in a boardroom thinking up these plans or visions, there is no big social media marketing budget, it is quite simply people helping people to make a difference. Thankfully we have the technology to help us make this difference faster and in full view of the whole world.


Personally i’m in awe of some of the innvoation, collaboration I see daily and I can only hope that I am able to play a small part in making a little difference.