The idea that we do not need to create tools that take up more of our time and attention, but instead we need to start building social tools in business that focus first on productivity and results, and on being social as a secondary goal.
We pitch this idea internally as ‘margin taker or margin maker.’ In the drive to make everything social, tools need to put social in the knowledge worker’s every day workflow. Compartmentalizing work from social is not an option.
In keeping with that idea, I don’t see how a social tool in the workplace will be effective without promoting efficiency. And maybe ‘efficiency’ is the wrong word, but there needs to be a productivity or time element taken into account when you’re evaluating a potential solution or measuring whether an implemented solution is value-added. Knowledge workers are over-subscribed as it is.
My last point on your last paragraph – agreed. The key to bringing effectiveness to the social effort isn’t by improving on the tools that are already collaborative – email, IM, etc… It’s taking the tools that were never social in the first place, making them social and putting them in the workflow.