Euan Semple, author of Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do and long-time proponent of learning out loud within organizations, yesterday wrote this article that points out the misguided position of those who fear misuse of internal social tools. While I agree with his concise, well-worded post and the arguments he makes, I found myself asking a different question: “How do you get enough use of internal social tools that misuse becomes a concern?”

My sample size isn’t large, but several organizations I’m familiar with have “newer” social options on their internal networks, most of which remain badly underused. The social tools chosen frequently limit visibility and distribution, often with no archival capability to share and learn from. Popular choices include:

  1. email
  2. The telephone
  3. Instant messaging
  4. Videoconferencing

So I’d like to put forward the notion that in at least some organizations the issue isn’t so much fear that corporate servants might misuse the tools as fear they won’t use them at all. Many individuals fear learning out loud and fear openly sharing what they know for any of a number of reasons. To get to misuse, you have to get to use. That may mean a shift in corporate culture to embrace and reward true transparency, not just its rhetoric.

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