Move Group E-mail to Collaborative Work Spaces

By Ross Mayfield  |  Posted 2009-05-08 Print this article Print

Tactic No. 2: Move group e-mail to collaborative work spaces

With the significant enterprise social software solutions available on the market today, you can identify group uses of e-mail and move them to private work spaces. This creates a spam and noise-free environment for the team to focus. Different work spaces with different features can accomplish different goals.

For example, create one work space where your team can hold less formal, blog-style conversations and general context sharing. Google, for example, has its employees blog weekly in lieu of more formal reporting; this makes what people have been working on searchable by all. Or try creating a more structured project work space with a process for archiving them at the end of the project.

Tactic No. 3: Establish public protocols when possible

For communicating with the outside world, establish protocols such as preferred methods of contact and escalation. As you communicate, be clear about how private and redistributable an e-mail is. For example, I include this line in my signature:

"This e-mail is: [ ] bloggable [ x ] ask first [ ] private."

Tactic No. 4: Reply to e-mail in public

Doc Searls, co-author of "The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual," once described blogging as "replying to my e-mails in public."

Now, you can't do that with every e-mail you get. But for the ones you can, you create an asset as a result. And, while not everyone will blog, there are other more public ways to share when appropriate.

Ross Mayfield is co-founder, Chairman and President of Socialtext. Prior to Socialtext, Ross served as vice president of marketing for a Fujitsu spinout, and as CEO of an enterprise risk management software company. Ross also co-founded and served as president of RateXchange, a leading B2B commodity exchange for telecom. Ross served as the marketing director of the largest, privately-held telecommunications group in Eastern Europe, and was the internal lead manager of their initial public offering. Ross also founded an ISP, a Web design company, and has served on a number of advisory boards of high-tech startups.Ross is a former advisor to the Office of the President of Estonia and began his career in the non-profit sector. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles and completed the Management Development for Entrepreneurs (MDE) program of the Anderson School of Business. A noted blogger and industry expert, Ross is a serial and social entrepreneur. He blogs at He can also be reached at

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