What Social PLM Can Learn From Facebook Decline?

social-noise

It is hard to find a company that are not trying to do "social" these days. The number of Facebook copycats everywhere is skyrocketing. Engineering and manufacturing software is not an exclusion and run into this game too. Social PLM is part of this trend. Even I can see less trials to develop a system called "social PLM" these days, there are lots of services that claim "social roots" in what they do.

In my view, this is a perfect time to watch some Facebook trends and see if we can predict some potential correction in the growing pile of social services for engineering, manufacturing and enterprise at all. Two data points. One comes from the article – Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to messenger apps. Author speaks about growing popularity of focused messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp) and interest of specific groups of people to maintain communication in a closed groups. Here is an interesting passage:

No surprise, then, that Facebook is no longer a place for uninhibited status updates about pub antics, but an obligatory communication tool that younger people maintain because everyone else does.

Another data point comes from Reference Heap. Facebook site became much less useful within time. Sometimes algorithm present lots of pointless and useless information. At the same time, you are in danger to miss a very important message from your friends and families. Here is a passage with angry passage from Dear Facebook, You Suck article:

“One of my best friend’s mother lost her battle with cancer the other day, my friend wrote a beautiful status update commemorating her mother, it got 297 likes and tons of comments before I noticed it… You know how I noticed it? My mother called me and told me about her mother dying and I went to her actual page to see for myself. But you know what I did notice? Becky hates Mondays. My 3rd cousin whom I haven’t seen since a family reunion 10 years ago started playing his umpteenth game on Facebook.”

These two data points above made me think about potential danger turn "social enterprise" software can make by bringing everybody in the company to the "social game". The social stream will become overloaded. The chances to miss the right information will be too high and to signal/noise ratio will become too low. Dangerous place…

What is my conclusion? Social networks became so popular by their ability to connect people and enable communication and data sharing in a much more efficient way. However, I can see a limit to social user and data experience. Think about lots of people in a company sharing their updates and information in the same way we share photos on Facebook. I can see the effectiveness of this communication going down. Pretty much in the same way we are diving in zillions of emails in our email box, we will be smashed by a tsunami of social updates. Kinda different social way? Or maybe not much different from an email? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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