Blog Central

Context is everything with intranet content

One of the things that I can’t tell people enough when talking about user generated content in an enterprise setting is that users MUST understand the context of the information they are consuming. For example, they must know how it was created, who created it, who edited or contributed to it etc … because this vital contextual information will determine how they can re-use it, how reliable it is, how new it is and so on …

As more and more pages on the BT Intranet contain user generated content, we tried to figure out a good way to differentiate those pages from the more traditional, formal content pages. This is what we’ve done.

For some time now, all our intranet pages have had a global navigation bar at the top of them. This bar helps BT people to identify when they are on the official intranet – with all the guarantees/service levels etc. that this implies – rather than the internet or unofficial under-web pages. It also means that a user can never get lost as they always have a way back to the top or to the most popular pages and applications on offer. The standard navigation bar looks like this:

BT Intranet global navigation bar

BT Intranet global navigation bar

We decided to make a variant of this bar to put above pages containing user generated content – we changed the colour and added a Disclaimer link. We’ve also added a new icon to these pages. The user generated content navigation bar looks like this:

BT Intranet navigation bar for user generated content

BT Intranet navigation bar for user generated content

The new icon for user generated content is this:

User generated content icon

User generated content icon

Both the Disclaimer link on the new bar and the icon above link through to a page on BTpedia which explains what user generated content is, what its limitations are, and guidance on how it can be used and what to avoid doing with it.

The new bar is being piloted on Blog Central and BTpedia linked to an on-line form for user feedback. It’ll be interesting to see what users think.

add to del.icio.usDigg itStumble It!Add to Blinkslistadd to furladd to ma.gnoliaadd to simpyseed the vineTailRank

Blogging inside BT

Last week we launched a single internal blogging platform on the BT Intranet – based on WordPress technology. This is great for a number of reasons:

  • BT management is prepared to allow its employees to express themselves and their opinions on ‘unregulated’, self-publishing platforms … something, perhaps, we take for granted at BT but which I know is pretty rare in other organisations – everyone can have their own blog internally or externally at BT
  • as the content on BT blogs builds up, we’ll have an internal blogosphere, or body of informal content, from which huge value can be derived by everyone … until now we’ve had blogs on all sorts of different platforms so the content has been disconnected and the value limited
  • a blogosphere could change completely the way we communicate and collaborate across the enterprise.

The image below is of our new Blog Central homepage.

Screen shot of BT Blog Central homepage