Chatter Posts: Explanation via Donuts

I loved’s recent post explaining Social Media with Donuts – it’s both educational and comical:

Naturally, @fredwuensch and I were inspired to take it a step further and explain the different applications of’s Chatter:



Seriously? These meetings need APPS … or need to go.

Well… not all meetings. But most of them. I’m not talking about the quick one-offs where you might be helping out a customer or colleague, or recurring status meetings, because those have specific objectives and generally meet the APPS criteria (below). [Although now with tools like Salesforce’s Chatter, the need for status meetings is quickly becoming obsolete.]

What I am talking about here are expectations for those typical, scheduled meetings that usually include 3>= people.


Worthy meetings have APPS:

    1. Agendas: Show me some love. Show me that you care. Don’t waste my time by asking me to attend a meeting without an agenda… or at least a known objective.  I also prefer to have time limits on each agenda item, but for most people that’ll probably be phase 2, so let’s just start with getting agendas in the invite well ahead of the meeting itself. 


    • Without an agenda or known objective why would I be inclined to give up my time?
  1. Products: Meetings should produce or build something–otherwise what’s the point? The product could be a decision, a document, a calendar with milestones, action items…something. Don’t waste my time by hosting a meeting where we discuss–I mean, ‘brainstorm’–with nothing to show for it. Even brainstorming meetings should produce an outline, or action items.
  2. Preparation: Nothing drives me crazier than when I prepare for a   meeting (such as reading through a content draft so that I come to the meeting armed with feedback) only to find out that I was the only one who prepared, and the meeting is actually spent “discussing” (or regurgitating) what everyone should have known ahead of time. So… read up, review, understand everything you can so your meeting group can hit the ground running.
      • A great tip for keeping your calendar organized and up to date is to actually schedule your “to-do” items on your calendar. So if someone invites me to a meeting, I’ll schedule X amount of time before the meeting to prepare for it. This (fantastic) HBR blog post goes into more detail and I highly recommend reading: To-Do Lists Don’t Work
  3. Structured discussion: Let’s use lunch time or even Chatter to brainstorm sans limit, and save valuable meeting time for structured, facilitated discussion that sticks to the agenda. It’s so easy to get side tracked and lose focus, so the meeting host or facilitator should ensure the discussion is indeed structured.


  • Don’t be a jacka**. If someone has taken the time to prepare and execute a proper meeting, don’t waste their time by checking your phone/iPad/laptop. Ever. If you absolutely must send that email, leave the room and come back when you’re ready to contribute. 
  • For meetings in which I play a key role please check my schedule before sending the invite. It’s pretty easy, and most platforms support this super advanced feature (Outlook, Gmail, Lotus Notes).  
With so much on our plates these days it’s ever so important for to exercise respect for each other’s time. If I’m asking for your time, you can bet your bottom that I’m going to do everything in my power to make it productive.

Historically I actually cancelled / rescheduled meetings where key people had to bail at the last minute or when it became clear that no one had prepared…so I rescheduled with enough time that everyone could commit to preparation.

To be clear: I’m totally not a meeting nazi, perhaps just a little revved right now. And I definitely am guilty of committing at least one, if not all, of these faux pas, but the point is that I recognize and actively try to avoid them. My goal is to aim for, you know…collective respect.

Because respect RULES! #ThxKBai


Sharing Chatter Posts: who gets credit?

Salesforce recently added a new feature to Chatter that allows users to re-share posts with their followers, with a group, or via link.  I am SUPER thrilled for this ability — it has been really helpful to highlight, share, and/or amplify information.  For instance, if I shared a post from Jim Halpert it would look like this:

Users can click on “originally posted” to view the author’s original post

Another feature simultaneously released is “Chatter Influence,” an out-of-the-box feature that basically assigns each user in a Chatter organization an influence ‘score’ based on a secret algorithm around how frequently you share information that people like or comment on.  For example, Jim Halpert is considered an “Active Influencer” in his org:

So here is my question: if I share a colleague’s post, and people like and/or comment on the post that I share (rather than the original post), who gets the influence “credit” — the original author or the re-sharer? (I threw this out to Salesforce, who, as usual, responded quickly and they are looking into it.)

  • Philosophically, who really should get the credit – the original author? The one who shared?  Maybe both? Ultimately if the shared post gets more attention, it’s probably because the original author may not have as large of a personal following, or they didn’t know to share with a specific group in order to reach a larger audience. In this case the post had much less influence before it was shared, but if the post had never existed it would carry no influence at all… 
So maybe what it comes down to is the question of assigning influence to how users communicate rather than what they communicate; it seems like what = content = value.  How is also an important consideration, so maybe a combination of “what” (content) and “how” (audience navigation) yield the most accurate influence score – but how should they be weighted? 

Sharing Chatter Posts w/ Private Groups: should the author be notified?

Last week I wanted to re-share a Chatter post with a private group (to suggest that the post’s author needed a response) but I hesitated because I didn’t want the author to know that I had shared their post.  I performed a quick test in my demo org and learned that the original author will not receive a notification if their post is shared with a private group of which they are not a member, which was pleasantly surprising. I tweeted @Salesforce positively acknowledging the noted detail, and yesterday a couple of Chatter product managers asked me this:

It’s an interesting question and I think the answer is entirely dependent on the context. (Also, would I know which group my post was shared with, or just that it had been shared with a private group?)

Consider these scenarios:
  • I post to Chatter with an idea about increasing productivity. If I received a notification that my post had been shared with the “Leadership Team” — a private group that I cannot view — I would probably feel good because someone thought enough of my idea to share it with my company’s leadership. 
  • I post to Chatter about X and receive a notification that my post has been shared with the Human Resources private group. That might make me nervous — what am I saying that demands HR’s attention?  Are they going to get in touch with me? 
Ultimately: if I want to reference a user’s post in a private group I will find a way to do so discreetly (i.e. in a way that does not include notifying the author) and I’m not really sure of the value of notifying the author.  Maybe including an option to notify the author would be appropriate, depending on what the share-r intends to accomplish….  As an end user, I’d rather not know if my post is shared w/ a private group because then I would just wonder, perhaps unnecessarily.  If someone wants to respond to me, they will.

Chatter Much?

If you know me, or even talked to me in the past couple of years, chances are you are acutely aware of how passionately I study social behavior, particularly within business & organizational structures. As an avid user and administrator of for ~6 years now, my exploration of this world focuses mostly on Salesforce Chatter, a product that provides a solid foundation for an enterprise social network (ESN).
I ♥ Chatter.
Web-based social networks are increasingly becoming a fundamental aspect of our personal lives & the modern workforce.  It is so important for organizations to maintain an active social foundation for both internal and external communication, and this is what I tend to never shut up about.  So more on that later.
That’s enough background to set up the following interaction that cracked me up.  I was telling my man about Giada De Laurentiis’ recent Twitter fail and sent him this picture of Giada to remind him of who she is:
… and 10 minutes later he sent me this in return:
… I’ll take it. =)
You know, at the end of the day people aren’t going to participate in communities unless there’s a driving reason, and they will be much more likely to be active members if they are excited.  So come, one and all, to my fountain of community excitement — there’s enough to go around. 😉