There are often genuine reasons why adoption doesn't take off. For example, the applications may not be easily accessible outside the company intranet. Or the applications may be slow to access from remote offices. Maybe people are just overworked. I am begining to wonder if there is another factor at play. I have observed it on the web and I suspect similar forces are at play within the enterprise: poor citizenship. Too many of us prefer to be passive consumers of public content on the internet. We don't produce or perhaps more importantly, curate existing content. Granted, there are some prolific producers of mediocre content via blogs, comments, tweets, and posts to public mailing lists or discussion groups (and a few prolific producers of really good content via the same channels) but they are more the exception than the rule.
Some examples of poor citizenship with respect to curating content:
- Not clicking "I found this review helpful/unhelpful" on a website that carries reviews (e.g. Amazon) or "This documentation was/was not useful to me" on a website that actively solicits feedback on documentation (e.g. many of Google's help pages)
- Not adding appropriate tags to images found on Flickr
- Not posting answers to unanswered questions that you ask in a public forum and later figure out the answer/workaround for.
- There are times when programmers struggle with a cryptic stacktrace at work and a web search points them to the exact cause. All because someone took the effort to blog about that issue. You often see a number of grateful comments at the bottom of such posts. Yet, when I overcome such a problem by myself, I seldom try to write a post about it.