The Search For SCRM Accidental Community 2.0


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Some of you may have heard of the Social CRM Accidental Community if you’ve been following Social CRM. Most of us met on Twitter early last year using the hashtag #SCRM – and while it’s a challenge having a real conversation on Twitter, we somehow figured each other out. Since then, we’ve actually developed strong relationships with each other, ultimately meeting in Herndon, VA for the first Social CRM Summit (#scrmsummit).

It came to a point where we felt a need to move on from Twitter due to it’s inherent social weaknesses. Social relationships can’t be maintained in 140 character, unthreaded, sound bites.  So, we tried Google Wave.

Google Wave

I had high hopes for Google Wave. Unfortunately, it was too slow, some said it was too threaded (threading 2.0), some said it wasn’t threaded enough, real time group conversations were impossible to follow and it had no email notifications (that one has changed).

We barely gave this idea a few days before our group members began dropping like flies. The leader of this pack was crusty old Esteban Kolsky (Gen X). One of the leading proponents (me) was next (Gen X / Baby Boomer).  Was it our age? I mean, I remember black and white television. Maybe our brains just don’t work this way. So, it was time to move…

The AC Back Channel Finds a New Home With Skype

I can’t believe how long it took. Not to find Skype, but to get invited to the new back channel conversation happening on Skype. I didn’t even know Skype had groups even though I’ve been using it for IM for a few years. Us old farts just don’t pay attention.

Suddenly, as the rest of the community got on Skype and added to the group, we began having high speed conversations (CRM at the Speed of Light?). These were real time. They were happening with group members from all over the world. And no matter what time of day, you were likely to see a pencil race, as we began calling it. It was fun. It still is fun. We’re actually getting to know each other here – which made meeting face to face very easy.

The other great thing about Skype is that we could/can have group video conference calls, or video one on ones. To me, growing up with rotary phones, that’s pretty cool. I’ve been hanging out in BBS’s, forums, communities and IM for nearly 25 years and finally we have something the Jetsons had (yea, I watched that in first run).

The Next Evolution of the Accidental Community

The back channel is great – for us. However, we’re looking for ways to get back in front of the world to move the CRM and Social CRM conversation forward. As it stands, we’re all doing our own thing and then coming back to the back channel to hash out our thoughts and ideas – and sometimes just to have fun, since we’re all becoming good friends.

So, we’ve begun looking for the perfect way to do this as a non-enterprise enterprise. There are solutions out there that do the enterprise stuff, social blog consolidation sites (I don’t know what they’re called and I don’t do research), domain-based business social suites like Social Text and Yammer and the list goes on. We’re not finding what we need yet. So, instead of bashing tools that others may find valuable, I’m going to begin a list of things we seem to be looking for as the Social CRM Accidental Community.

  1. We want a group IM (or micro blogging interface that works) interface that is private and only for the core members of the SCRM group. It has to handle our real time conversation needs. It should also handle threading. Threaded context can not be an inhibitor as it is in most solutions we’ve tested to date. We’re looking for the ultimate real time group chat. One that lets us follow the conversation in real time without hopping around (enter key must post the message!)
  2. We want to extend this capability out to the public either through a public micro blogging interface, or the ability to publicize certain threads. Many of us are not thrilled by how difficult it is to find one that is easy to follow (like Skype).
  3. We all blog. And while we intend to remain independent, we would like a place to aggregate the blogs of core members as well as do some article or blog collaborations.
  4. We need a place to work on projects in small groups, or as a whole group
  5. We need the ability to search all content
  6. It has to extend to portable devices like the Blackberry, iPhone and Android.
  7. I should have a full featured Windows (or Air) client for those of us with an aversion to web applications
  8. If there is a workable threaded feature, the ability to open multiple threads in separate windows (web or Windows).
  9. The ability to brand a public presence on the web.
  10. The ability to broadcast messages not only within the application, but to sources like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. TweetDeck and others can do it, so what’s the big deal.
  11. We need to know when other community members are online, both private members and the public members.
  12. We need to be able to create Accounts using whatever email address we choose (not domain based!)
  13. It has to cater to what this group is, not for profit.
    So far, there is a somewhat general agreement that the solutions we’ve seen to date fail in at least one major way (for this group). I’m not sure what that says for Enterprise 2.0, but it is what it is for the Social CRM Accidental Community 2.0. I’m sure other members will keep the world up to date on our search for the ultimate platform, or expand on this list of requirements.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Mike,

    Most of what you’re looking for will ship in our forthcoming private beta of Threadbox. (You can register for it at What we’re missing day one are your #s 2, 7, 9 and 10, although #9 is already planned. And #6 is sort of there, but more coming on mobile.

    #2 and #9 are public/syndication oriented, so you’re not likely to find those in solutions that target private group use. Of course, we’ll do those things if enough people ask us for them, but we did offer them in our prior iteration which was called Cc:Betty. And no one cared. So I’ll be curious as to whether your group becomes the exception or the rule.



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