Will Evans was ill and so Thomas Vander Wal gamely stepped foward at the last minute to talk about Freely Seeping through the Walls of the Garden.
His presentation described the way organizations use social media internally. He said that corporate wikis sometimes were under utilized because employees are fearful of looking like “the company idiot.” It is easier to have social sites within the organization which are limited to small groups. It is easier to share ideas with people you know, and who will vet your ideas without flaming you. Gradually, as employees get more comfortable with sharing information, information can seep through the garden walls so that it can be shared with those higher up in the company.
Vander Wal said that it was important to have the right software to do this and that Sharepoint is not social software. Sharepoint creates silos that cannot be searched. Since I have never used Sharepoint, I have no opinion on this.
The three times that I have attended Refresh DC the presentations have been excellent and well attended. In fact, Refresh DC is the only group I have ever participated in that had attendees standing because there were not enough seats. I would describe the crowd as mostly developers and very Web 2.0. For the price of pizza and soft drinks you could be a sponsor and have your company mentioned every month. If you are considering sponsoring a local group, and your company does significant business with Web 2.0 companies, this might be something to consider.
Thomas Vander Wal blogs at Personal InfoCloud.