social software

How to best make use of your organizations social computing platform

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Should you use your organizations social networking platform just like you use Facebook with your friends? Should you micro-blog the same way as you do on Twitter?

Maybe NOT.!!!
The purpose of social networking platforms within the enterprise are very different from the personal ones (the ones we use outside of work) — even if they look and feel the same. Social platforms within the organization are there to support the work of the organization and not to let individual employees do and say whatever they want.

So, what can you use corporate social networking platform for?
As part of your day-to-day work, you can micro-blog about the tasks and projects you are working on (subject to IP clauses), blog your views on various topics; you can bookmark the online links & resources you find useful; when stuck, you can ask questions to the communities for help, share documents etc.
This way, your digital footprints on the platform will become searchable, findable, and reference-able; helping people know what you are working on and in process make your existence and expertise better known throughout the organization, and benefit the organization as a whole.
This will let others discover what you know and what you’re good at. It will make you easier to find and increases the chances of you being a helpful colleague to someone. You can use the social platform to build relationships by adding value, being relevant — thereby fostering trust and respect; eventually helping in forge lasting connections.
Do all this on your organizations social computing platform and it will help build your personal reputation and brand.

What you should avoid

  • Don’t talk about what you had for lunch or how the food in cafeteria sucks!!!. We all know that 🙂
  • Don’t make personal attacks on people. It’s ok & perfectly acceptable to have difference of opinion and debates. But do those in a civil manner – without making personal attacks. 
  • Don’t discuss sex, politics, or religion. In an organizational context, these are taboo topics and it’s just too easy to upset people and start nasty, pointless fights on these subjects.
  • Be overly negative & cynical. Yes, there can be 1000 things that are not correct in the organization but try not to post/comment ONLY the –ve aspects. You can also look at the glass half full & then make +ve suggestions for improvement.

Social Memory | Conversations are as important as the content itself

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Traditional content systems focus only the ‘creation’ aspect of the content and this is achieved through individual contributions or through collaborative efforts.
With the advent of Social Software – like Blogs, Artifacts, Q&A, Bookmarks and any ‘knowledge object’, apart from building value through collaboration one can build value through leveraging the individual actions around those knowledge objects and build a long term social memory.

Such individual actions are of low engagement and, individually, on a standalone basis they have little vale but the aggregation of these add up to lot more value  — like the ‘long tail’ phenomenon.

Social Software gives people the ‘choice’ to move between low engagement to high engagement depending on their interest levels and time. For example for a particular artifact or a category of artifact person A may choose to be just content with reading, subscribing or adding tags but at a different time & for a different category of artifact the same person may choose to refactor, comment, collaborate and have high levels of engagement.

The power that social software brings about is ‘providing the choice’ to the people to do all this and in the process making the conversation around the content as important as the content itself.