Intranet content types should complement not compete

The Knight's Tale,  Dame Elisabeth Frink

The language used these days to describe intranet content types gives the distinct impression that there’s something inherently good and evil about content lurking in the bowels of intranets.

The white knight of social content is on a bloody crusade to drive the dark and evil formal/traditional content into extinction … having done this, the sparkling flag of the newly founded democratic kingdom of Social Intranet will be run up the flagpole to rapturous cheering from the freshly freed wage slaves … blah … blah.

This is, of course, total tosh …

While I’ve posted previously about the fact that I think all content should have a collaborative component, that is not the same as saying all content should be social. Organisations need formally written and managed content as much as they also need social content to complement it and provide context.

Clearly the balance has been far too much in favour of formal content until recently. We just need to redress that balance rather than throw away the baby with the bath water, slashing and burning all the hard learned lessons and knowledge we’ve accumulated over many years of intranet management experience.

That’s why I balk at the term social intranet which feels to me as unbalanced as old-fashioned intranets are. Ultimately, an intranet must support the business objectives of an organisation and support employees in doing their jobs and feeling an integral part of the company for which they work – it should enable every employee to make a difference.

It won’t do that with just formal/traditional content … and it certainly won’t do that with just social content.

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