social intranet

In conversation: social media and the BT Intranet

The second in the series of in conversations with Red Sky Vision – this time a short sound bite or two about why we introduced social media onto the BT Intranet (this one is much shorter … only 1 min 20 sec 🙂 ).

In conversation with Richard Dennison – Social Media and the BT Intranet from Red Sky Vision on Vimeo.

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Social media at work video

Last Friday, Red Sky Vision launched a video about social media at work. Amazingly, I was asked to be part of it! It’s very well produced and the key strength of it for me is that it’s not about hyping up social media and creating a frenzy. Rather, it’s a well-balanced and calm assessment of the issues and benefits of social media in work – with a particular focus on internal communications. It’s about 15 mins long – so grab a coffee and a chocolate biscuit and take 15!

As well as me, you’ll hear from the following:

Enjoy! I’d be interested to know what you think of it …

[If you can’t see the embedded video – you can watch it on the Red Sky Vision site]

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Everything you ever wanted to know about social media

Hazardous substances warning sign

 PUBLIC SAFETY WARNING: readers affected by bright, flashing cynicism are advised to wear safety glasses while reading this post (p.s. this post was processed in an office containing nuts) 

Tin of white paint

White-with-a-hint-of-white

Reading social media blogs has become a bit like buying white paint … there are countless variations on the theme of white but, essentially, they’re all white. 

So, in the spirit of saving readers valuable time and endless amounts of frustration, below is my white-with-a-hint-of-white, one-size-fits-all, vanilla, all-purpose guide to social media blog posts … the SharePoint 2010 of blog posts, if you will (i.e. it promises everything but you know it’ll fall short): 

  • Why your company does/does not <<delete as appropriate>> need a social media strategy – it doesn’t; except when it does
  • Can you calculate the ROI of social media? – you can’t; except when you can … but I have no idea how, despite the fact that I’m writing my sixteenth blog post on the subject
  • Can you use Facebook as a company intranet? – of course not … it’s an absurd suggestion
  • Why companies which ban employees from accessing Facebook and social sites from work are idiots – because they’re idiots
  • Do companies need social media guidelines for employees? – yes
  • <<insert word>> <<insert word>> <<insert word>> Facebook <<insert word>> <<insert word>> Twitter? – no; or maybe yes
  • …. continue ad nauseam – no!

So there you have it … you can now relax and get back to work happy in the knowledge that you’re fully up-to-speed with the latest social media thinking … 🙂 

[p.p.s sorry for not blogging more frequently, but I find I’ve got nothing to say … now where did I put my medication?!] 

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Five random learnings from enterprise social media deployment

While preparing for last week’s Simply Summit, a number of random points floated into my mind about things to consider when deploying social media tools onto a corporate intranet. I kicked off with these points which I’ve re-produced below:

1. The old rules still apply

Over many years, intranet managers have learned hard lessons around the best ways to manage intranets and intranet content. Some social-media-types will tell you that social media changes everything … it doesn’t … and the lessons we’ve learned over the years are still relevant. However, while the old rules may be the same, the issues will almost certainly be different. The best example of this is governance … social content still needs to be governed but you’ll need to think about different and more appropriate ways of doing this with user-generated content.

2. It’s a journey, not a magic bullet

As obvious as it sounds, change takes time to happen … if someone is selling you an all-singing-all-dancing social media platform which will “transform you organisation overnight …”, I recommend you ask them to leave. Years ago, when I first started working on intranets, I had a slide with this simple equation on it … the technology in question back then was a basic intranet – but the sentiment is as relevant today as it was back then (see bullet point 1 above!)

New technology plus current organisation equals expensive current organisation

The other thing to note about this is that you need to stick with it and not get downhearted when it feels like you’re getting no where.

3. A bottom-up culture needs top-down support

While social media evangelists like me like to think of ourselves as subversive freedom fighters taking on the might of the corporate machine, you’re going to find it pretty tough to get anywhere without support from your leadership team – even if that support is tacit rather than openly exhibited. The technology can’t do it alone … (see bullet point 2 above!)

4. Content types should complement each other rather than compete against one another

I covered this in my last post, so won’t bore you by repeating it here again.

5. Sometimes the only form of transportation is a leap of faith!

Don’t get sucked into endless debates about ROI etc. … sometimes you have to do stuff because you know it’s the right thing to do. Social media is right for organisations … it’s right for employees … and it’s right for customers.

… here endeth the lesson 🙂

[P.S. … don’t you just hate it when people use the word learnings … euchh!]

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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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