As well as trying to find a Facebook for the enterprise and worrying about generational divides, another myth that seems far too common is that you need lots of people for social tools to be a success. This often comes from the misplaced view that corporate social tools have to be like Facebook, and Facebook only works given the billions of people who use it.
We have to remember that social tools in the enterprise are all about addressing existing business problems that can be addressed by social techniques. Going back to Chris Rasmussen’s diagram (I know, I do this a lot, but this is the diagram after every presentation or meeting people want to take back to their boss to help them “get it”) we show massive improvements in a process involving just four people.
I first started using these tools when I worked at Trovus, a startup at the time, and there were just three of us. Using Quickr to share documents delivered a significant improvement in productivity. By the way, the adoption (even among three people who talked to customers every day about social software) only really got going once we integrated Quickr into Outlook, prompting us to share files rather than send them whenever we tried to email an attachment to each other.
Placing social tools in the context of their existing workflows (like email) and targeting identified business problems (even if they initially involve small groups) is far more successful than trying to get large numbers of young people using Facebook-like tools for the sake of it.