8th Intranet Summit (Wellington, NZ) - presentation notes

The Advantages that the New Web 2.0 Applications can offer your Intranet
Web 2.0 has become something of a buzz word, but behind the hype lays an ever increasing amount and variety of tools and applications that enable some very interesting features for collaborative work. Learn how to take advantage of Web 2.0 applications to increase the efficiency and productivity of their staff.
  • Looking at the options available
  • Implementing the applications
  • How they have been received by staff and managers
  • The issues that have been caused by the applications
Mike Riversdale, Consultant, MIRAMARMIKE.CO.NZ

See also: Presentation Links, Resource and Websites


  1. Mike Riversdale
  2. Owner of the on-line collaboration consultancy business, MiramarMike.co.nz
  3. The picture is the one I use on the web taken by my son and chosen by the Webstock team ... suitably "hip and trendy and 2.0"
  4. I introduce, educate about and grow the introduction of "Web 2.0" within organisations
  5. I wanted to be cool and telepresence in from the pub a la Michael's YouTube video but I couldn't afford it!
(more at About Mike)


  1. A qstand up and then sit down (not ashamed to be post-Michael) - 3 questions:
    1. Who knows what Web 2.0 is?
    2. Who is using Web 2.0 technologies within their workplace?
    3. Who is using "Web 2.0" to report on this conference/speech?
  2. I will cover:
    1. What I believe is one of the underlying themes of "Web 2.0"
    2. What does this mean for organisations thinking of implementing Web 2.0 and for your Intranet
    3. Some specific technologies (that hopefully you've heard of) and impacts on Intranets and the staff

This preso in numbers

  • 45 minutes
  • 20 slides
  • 16 pictures
  • 1 resource link

Underlying theme: Open

  • Web 2.0 was born on the Internet which is an open environment
  • The technology initially grew from an open and collaborative community
  • The data stored on the Internet is now being made open (to a degree - the "secret sauce" is always kept locked away)
  • The development techniques used to bring technology and data together are, more often than not, using open ways of working

In the olden days

  • I'm sure we all recall the great days of the Web before "Web 2.0" - a place to read static information that links to other static information
  • Getting information published was technical, restricted and/or for the elite
  • Hands up who would say their Intranet still reflects that position to a large degree?
  • You're not alone - but remember the gains you have over Web 0.0 from the pre-olden days

And then ... [suitable angelic music] Web 2.0

  • But let's not forget Web 2.0 was originally a marketing term invented in Tim O'Reilly late 2005
  • Read/Write Web - Richard McManus + Michael's preso point
  • It has come to mean much more and the spirit of Web 2.0 can be said to be:
    • Individual production and User Generated Content
    • Harnessing the power of the crowd
    • Data on an epic scale
    • Architecture of Participation
    • Network effects, power laws and the Long Tail
    • Open-ness
  • Open - just one of the corner stones of Web 2.0
  • AND, why I love it - the more I can piggy back off someone else, the better - standing on giants + a morbid fear of work/technology!

Underlying theme: Open, revisited

  • I don't want to bang on about this forever ...
  • The data stored on the Internet is now being made open (to a degree - the "secret sauce" is always kept locked away)
  • The sites are sharing that information between themselves and beyond the web
  • The development techniques used to bring technology and data together are more often than not an open open ways of working
  • This is what you are bringing into your organisation

What does that mean?

  • First of all it does not mean you have to drop everything you know and use Facebook as your Intranet
  • But it does mean you will have to think long and hard about Grant's question, "What is your "intranet"?"
  • Open is an anathema to most organisations ... it may be your biggest "Web 2.0" hurdle
    • Organisation hierarchy - do those at the top really want to hear the good and bad (all constructive) from those below?
    • Organisational environment - being open is not the norm for a bank, a lawyers or most Government agencies
    • Do you have the technical infrastructure to have an open flow of information?
    • What will you do about the organisations walls when they are struck (silos and ultimately "in" and "out" wall around the whole organisation)

So let's get into technology specifics after all that fundamental talk:

  1. Search
  2. Blogs
  3. Wikis
  4. Tagging
  5. Bring it all together: RSS + Social Networking
  • None of these technologies should exist in sterile, separated environments
  • I will also avoid mentioning specific products
  • Ask questions after the presentation or drop me a line

Magnifying glass (?)

  • Not really "Web2.0" but without it you'll be pretty stuffed
  • Search ... it's a box with a button labeled 'Search' - not a graphic of a magnifying glass (which is all I could find when looking for a picture)
  • Google have raised everyone's expectations of search results to such a high level that it is technically difficult to replicate
  • If you don't have relevant search results you will struggle with everything else. Concentrate on this and get it right.
  • Tips on search:
    • It's on every page, top right, no advanced search options (put a link on the results page if anywhere).
    • 50% search / 50% browse and then maybe swap - if people aren't searching maybe it's because they're not searchers
    • EXCEPT people search - think long and hard about how to make this as accessible as possible and break the rules if it makes it more useful
    • Add a standard browser search (Microsoft and Mozilla can help you create the XML code)


  • A blog is a website
  • It can be easily updated
  • It should allow for subscriptions (more on that later)
  • It allows readers to leave comments - open data flow
    • Tips around internal blogging:
      • Have a business outcome for the blog - Grant: it's used when it's usable and useful
      • Don't force users to be authors - "We're going to have an Executive blog and each week one member will give an update!"
        • Not everyone is a writer and they will hate having to do it
      • Blogs should have a "natural voice" - the person or team views should be "front and centre"
      • Moderate ("censor") as appropriate
        • Have guidelines WHEN they comment
        • You have "codes of conducts" covering inappropriate behaviour, don't re-invent the wheel just because this is "on-line"
      • Don't be bland
      • Don't be afraid of getting off topic now-and-again
      • Easy posting authorship - rich text editing in any browser!
      • Brand / integrate so the user doesn't think they've gone somewhere naughty or that they've broken it
        (applies to all technologies)
      • Integrates with your user login (SSL)
      • Allows for aggregation of multiple blogs
    • OPEN
      • Think long and hard about what commenting means
        • Do the readers feel safe?
        • Do the post authors feel safe?
        • Will it take one "bad comment" to have the whole thing pulled?


    • A wiki is a website
    • It has three features key pieces of functionality - edit, easy internal linking and revision history
    • It should allow for subscriptions (more on that later)
    • Your wiki is NOT Wikipedia
    • Some forward thinkers have moved their whole Intranet to a wiki as they believe the team is the company and the content is for all
      • Tips around using wikis:
        • Have a business outcome for a Wiki
        • Graffiti is a Management Issue similar to scribbling on the toilet walls
        • Don't start with a blank wiki - give guidance and structure
        • Pushing that 'edit' button is unnatural, scary and has perceived fears of retribution if it goes wrong
        • Hand hold - have a sand pit, communicate with users, monitor usage (more on that later)
        • Ensure you can modify access control on pages - not everything is for everyone to edit
        • You may want to allow for discussions around content which you may want to have "away" from the actual content - a different tab for instance
        • Use the wiki to manage the wiki
      • OPEN
        • Wikis democratise the toolset which is fundamental to collaboration
        • Surfaces up misconceptions, incorrect information and wrong assumptions - IF used in a "safe/open environment"
          These people are thinking and behaving upon this misconceptions, now it's discoverable and you can do something about it
        • Scares the willies out of those that perceive information as power - 2 approaches:
          1. Information is not power, knowledge might be
          2. It's not what you know but what you do that most organisations reward


      • Tagging is applying a free form label/category to any piece of content
      • The power comes from aggregating up the tags into a "tag cloud"
      • A tag cloud merely represents tag usage at an aggregated level using size and colour
      • Tagging software is not quite as easy as blogs and wikis as it tends to be tightly integrated with the content types, therefore most organisations develop their own
      • Tips around using tags and tag clouds:
        • Tags are personal and should be linked to a person
        • Dave Snowden: Tags are generally additional information to the content with words not in the title, content being used
        • Aggregation should be to levels the person dictates - common ones include
          • Organisational hierarchy
          • Projects
          • ad-hoc networks - colleagues etc
          • Geographical
        • Allow for tagging of all content:
          • Across content types - documents, multimedia, Intranet pages
          • Across data stores
          • Don't forget non-traditional content such as people's profiles
        • Allow for limiting of tag cloud items (show top 15, show top 25% ...)
        • Tagging is done for a selfish reason - to find information
      • OPEN
        • As Michael hinted at: Sharing what I've tagged gives others a view on what I am working on/interested in
        • Actual language used by staff is surfaced allowing the organisation to react
        • Tags should educate the more formalised taxonomy - the organisation knows it as Project PR123, the team tagged it as "Fab Project"

      Bringing it together

      • With all that user generated content it can overwhelming - "information overload"
      • It is not "too much information" (the world has always been full of information) but the lack of relevancy
      • Relevancy can come from subject area - I am interested in Project X, let me know whenever something occurs using Project X
      • Or by people connections - I am interested in the same things that Mr Riversdale is, let me see what he shares on-line.
      • And a combination of both - let me know when Mr Riversdale posts a comment about Project X


      • RSS allows people to subscribe to content updates/alerts
      • RSS now means "Really Simple Syndication"
      • Tips around using RSS
        • Get an RSS reader BEFORE you think about the other Web 2.0 products
          • RSS reading is now built in to all modern browsers
          • RSS reading comes with Vista and/or Outlook 2007
          • Sharepoint RSS Reader is ... crap
          • External web readers such as Google Reader won't do as they don't support authentication
        • Make it easy to subscribe - Sharepoint RSS'es nearly everything (top work) but subscribing is a nightmare for users
        • You need an aggregation of feeds to allow discovery of what is available
        • Allow for people with no obvious interest to subscribe

      People ("social networking")

      • Use of "colleagues" - the work equivalent of Facebooks "friends" or Twitters "following"
      • Use of 'social networks' is the amalgamation of technology (the "what") and knowledge management ("the why")
      • Profiles are a starting point
        • ONE profile
        • Have a picture - difficult to get to know someone with a shadow or a '?' as a picture
        • Feed in (and lock down) everything the organisation gives you - where you sit, your phone number, your job title, place in the hierarchy
        • Auto-load a 'social network' of peers/colleagues based on the corporate hierarchy
        • Personlisation is NOT customisation
        • Allow for personalisation:
          • "Won't it mean people waste their time on the site?" - maybe but it's about being human.
          • Why do we want to let people socialise at work - why do you have team drinks and Christmas Parties - same underlying "people" reasons for providing the same space on-line
        • Customisable (look-and-feel) is good but be aware that a low percentage will actually do it
        • Provide community spaces based upon social network - a place to share between groupings in the network
        • The profile should be linked back to everywhere - blog authors, document editing, event adding

      The latest Web 2.0 Post child

      • A quick example of open in action - Twitter (miramarmike)
      • Allows for people connections, sharing of information, conversations and flow across application borders
      • Their website IS NOT their product - the data and connections are!

      It's constant work

      • One final "open" - openess to failure
      • Web 2.0 has grown up hand-in-hand with a culture of "getting it done" - YouTube was created to share a Zoo video between friends, Delicious
      • The use of agile development frameworks (Scrum is the one you see behind me) has enabled a quick turn around in feature sets
      • Start with a small and very useful feature and get it out there - learn from the behaviours, uptake and quickly make it more useful
        Hayden, "Who was using the newsletter?"
      • Being constantly vigilant and learning is something the major Web 2.0 players have as part of their culture, you and your IT Departments will have to move that way

      It's about the people NOT the technology

      • Solve the difficult problem of creating a truly collaborative Intranet - Web 2.0 is not a set of toys to be bolted on to your Intranet
      • Collaboration requires people with open access to information, tools and each other
      • IF you truly want it!

      End + Credits

      • Thank you
      • Much more information at that link and especially on the links page
      • And thanks to the copyright holders of the pictures used