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Bill -- An interesting post and topic! I think there's likely an interesting history (and sociological studies) of how informal groups form and cross-link in businesses and other organizations. The most interesting groups seem to be cross-functional and distributed - with some difficulty before the Web and email, with less difficulty now. A few examples: 1) Watercooler - physically collocated, somewhat cross-functional (but often cube neighbors) 2) Smokers - physically collocated, cross-functional and cross-hierarchical 3) IT Tech support, Admin Assistants - folk who talk a lot with a wide variety of others in the enterprise, and have their own network or grapevine of contacts with their peers. 4) The NCO / Chiefs network - Anyone in the military knows that NCOs (Sergeants and Chief Petty Officers) use an informal network of local - and globe spanning - contacts who know what's up and how to make something happen. This probably dates to Roman times if not before. With the advent of cheap and ubiquitous Web technology, it has become easier for networks to form, keep in contact, and scale beyond previous limits of space and number of participants. Is there a Doctor of Sociology in the house with a few good references? A few of my notes with links on Connections & McAfee Bullseye model of strong, weak, potential ties Twitter: world's largest floating cocktail party, coffee break, and trade show happy hour
Mike -- I certainly agree that compliance is something "best baked in from day one". I'd also claim that permissioned activity streams and related capabilities Alexander talks about are important for more than compliance with regulatory requirements. In my opinion, failure to address compliance and security can block use of Enterprise 2.0 technology in contexts where the greatest value, greatest potential for innovation - and most sensitive information - lives. That's why Traction Software has taken the route of "baking in" permissions (for navigation, search, tag clouds and notifiction as well as activity stream), moderation, WebDAV file versioning and more. Try to do this by slapping separate Social Software and ECM products together and you'll likely end up with something that works like JFK's description of Washington DC: "A city that honors the traditions of Southern efficiency and Northern hospitality." For more thoughts please see Compliance and Enterprise 2.0 - For the right reasons