Skandia Team GBR

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Social SLA


When I hear that “ping” or “boing” or see the flash of a new message, connection, thought, innovation, idea, friend request, poke, check-in, request, event notification, email, updated RSS feed, email or whatever I kinda find it hard to not just check who, what, where pretty immediately…

But responding back is a different matter; I seem to have a brain and psyche that can cope (on the whole) with  multiple sensory inputs\updates\distractions… For me the stimulation is good, new ideas, new perspectives, creative sparks or getting bumped back on the right track.

But if I’m trying to get my “shit done” then responding is a different matter…

So what is the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for Social Media? Ask yourself this, when do you expect a response from a:

  • Facebook Poke
  • Email
  • Instant Message (work or personal)
  • Friend\Connection Request
  • Twitter @Mention
  • New Blog Post (comments).

If you mention someone on twitter and they don’t respond within a few hours, does that p!55 you off?  How long should it take for someone at work to respond to a truly important email or an casual IM?

I think the “Social SLA” is determined by three key factors:

  • The proximity of the “engager” to your social graph (Family vs Acquaintance)
  • The transient nature of the “request” (Twitter vs Email)
  • Perceived value in the “payload” (Insightful Blog Post vs Checking-in@Gowalla)

Using a VERY rough rating table such as this:

Proximity Transience Value
Close = 1 High = 1 High = 1
Friend = 2 Medium = 5 Medium = 4
Acquaintance = 3 Low = 10 Low = 8

And an SLA calculation based upon:

Proximity * Transience * Value = SLA (Hours)

Lets look at the extremes e.g. Twitter\IM versus Email:

  Proximity Transience Value SLA
Twitter 1 1 1 1 hour
Twitter 3 1 8 1 day
Email 1 10 1 10 hours
Email 3 10 8 10 days

It may be rough, but for a, lot of people this isn’t that far off reality!

Scenario 1 – Twitter, tweet pops into my stream from a close friend, family member or trusted advisor, its a valuable tweet i.e. a great link or breaking news or a fix to an issue – expected response within the hour.

Scenario 2 – Twitter, tweet pops into my stream from an acquaintance, its not a valuable tweet i.e. a link to an event or a re-tweet of something I probably already know – expected response (if any) within a day.

Scenario 3 – Email pops into my inbox from a close friend, valued colleague, family member or trusted advisor, its a valuable email i.e. breaking news, a great offer for something I am interested in, or a request for information that I can add value to – expected response within 10 hours or roughly a working day.

Scenario 4 – Email pops into my inbox from an acquaintance, its not a valuable email i.e. a catch-up email, newsletter or something I probably already know – expected response (if any) within 10 days.

The problem with a Social SLA is that the expectation and the ability to deliver are poles apart…
Maybe the recipient is on leave, currently Twitter doesn’t have an off-the-grid message?
Maybe they are up to their nuts in work?
Maybe they have a few hundred other connection requests, messages, tweets or IM’s to work through?

So maybe there should be some kind of leveller on the SLA according to how much traffic, reputation and engagement you get from elsewhere on the grid (or offline)?

Lots to consider and think about…I’d like to hear your thoughts, in a timely manner?

1 comment:

Mark Hendy said...


It's in interesting point. Some people think I'm a little odd if I send an email to a colleague sitting in the next office rather than walking over and talking to them but here's my reasoning:

If I walk over to discuss something with them I demand their attention right there, right now. I interrupt their thought process, break their concentration and "demand" their attention right now. They could be in the middle of a creative flow, they may be on the cusp of solving a problem they've been wrestling with for hours, but I've just taken their focus. With email, and to an extent IM or tweet's we don't need to break into their world uninvited. We give them a choice to instantly delegate your interruption to their next action list, or better still to ignore it, or even remain ignorant of it's existence until they're ready to deal with it.

That's my SLA. Someone can send me an email at 6pm on a Friday. If I chose to I can deal with it at 6:01, or I can leave it and enjoy my already arranged weekend, my commitments to another group of people (my family say) and come back to it at 7am on Monday, if 7am is convenient.