Using social media in the workplace

The social networking dimension of crm

Jury still seems to be out. In spite of the penetration of social networks in people’s personal lives there still seem to be lots of executives who do not believe their employees should have access to social networking platforms in the workplace.

This is an interesting piece on social CRM – Harish Kotaida has blogged on this subject on a number of occasions e.g. enable, empower, engage. I believe his arguments are very persuasive. What do you think?

Is the person and technology becoming one?

Learning to live with a pervasive internet

Have just spent a couple of weeks on vacation – without broadband access at my fingertips.  Continued to monitor email and SMS – from my phone.  Probably online three times over the fortnight – had to make an effort.  Posted a few photos to facebook from the phone.

Real difference was not interacting with twitter and other social networks on a regular basis throughout the day.  Also – listened to the radio for news and read a few newspapers.

Just watched Kevin Kelly video/ presentation on future of the web.  KK (of Wired) sees the internet as one computer.  We use various devices to access the one computer.  ‘Things’ e.g. cars, clothes, devices which incorporate chips (e.g. RFID) are effectively part of the one computer.  And, indeed, we are in many respects sensors for this one computer – as more and more information ends up in the one computer.

This is enough to scare off a lot of people.  In the Q&A session KK fields a number of interesting questions, including what are the opt out options, is the one computer and the human race in conflict?  Interestingly seems that most people are happy to go along with what’s happening.  He has a great line ‘No personalisation without transparency’.  Effectively you have to open up, provide information about yourself, your business, whatever, if you want a personalised experience.

This morning read a posting about Gordon Bell – a Microsoft researcher who is attempting to record everything in his life digitally.

Interesting line in this from GB: ‘By using e-memory as a surrogate for meat-based memory, he argues, we free our minds to engage in more creativity, learning, and innovation (sort of like Getting Things Done without all those darn Post-its)’.

I have often thought that this is the case.  An example being that sometimes overprep for a meeting (reading all the material, anticipating the questions, etc) results in a less creative, open discussion.  Another example would be whether examinations are still bogged down in being largely tests of memory rather than tests of reasoning.

All of this relates closely to one of my own areas of primary interest – linked data and the semantic web.  Linked data requires entities to share more data – for the benefit of being able to correlate this with other shared data.  The semantic web aims to enable ‘intelligent’ processing of data by computers – ie the one computer referenced by KK.

I think KK is right.  The one computer is more and more a fact of life.  There are many benefits – and a number of threats.  While there are opt outs – and ways to escape e.g. go and live on a deserted island off the west coast of Ireland – inevitably the internet continues to be more pervasive (and invasive).

Looking forward to another few days of restricted broadband access.  And then back to life interacting with the one computer.

Twitter – part 3

Completing a series of three articles re twitter – why, what how?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 – How does twitter fit in with web site, blogging, facebook, linkedin, other social networks?

I see my website as my anchor on the internet. My website says I am who I am, sets out my stall, explains how to contact me. I want my website to be found – by people looking for solutions which I can provide. Periodically I will update my website to describe additional solutions, new partnerships, new references/ endorsements.

My blog is where I provide my thoughts – hopefully my insights to emerging social, business, technical issues – as they occur to me and and I develop/ refine my thinking. I expect the blog to incorporate feedback from readers. Over a period of time my blog accumulates an amount of my thinking re the issues of the day.

So there does twitter fit in with all of this – and with the other networks in which I participate?

Twitter is the medium through which I develop interactive dialog with people of mutual interest (I am interested in their thoughts, they follow me – so presumably are interested in my thoughts). Through those contacts I am also looking to expand my network – attracting attention to my competencies and learning from other experts.

With this in mind I automatically notify twitter of any new blog postings. I post questions to twitter, I respond to queries from others on twitter. I use twitter to draw people’s attention to information which I think may be of interest to them.

Both linkedin and facebook are also important to my social and business networking. Initially I focused facebook on the social side and linkedin on the business side. Facebook now has a much broader role – and has an important business element to it. For now I have a range of contacts who may/may not use all of the solutions e.g. may be a member of facebook but not using twitter or linkedin, only use linkedin, etc.

All of these are being brought together. Many people are members of all of these (and many more) social networks. Initiatives such as SIOC are working to faciliate interoperability. Using tools such as Yoono with Firefox it has become very easy to update your presence/ status across mutiple environments. I cross post to facebook from twitter and using ‘company buzz’ on linkedin twitter references to me are published to linkedin.

So what’s twitter, at the end of the day? As one of my twitter friends (@rbconsulting) says, flippantly – ‘hard to belive it took them that long to get SMS working on the PC’. And that captures the essence of the microblogging limits. Twitter is that and more. Most importantly it’s a platform which makes it very easy to establish relationships with people all over the internet – for business, social, educational, recreational, whatever purpose. The value of the relationships flows from the level of interaction, quality of contributions, responsiveness.

Thoughtful piece on social networking and facebook

Interesting piece from Fiona McCann in today’s Irish Times, ”on facebook“.

Would agree fully that Facebook has changed (and devalued) meaning of friends.   Much of what Fiona says rings true with me – as someone who spends a fair amount of time blogging, twittering and updating facebook.  Her comments would also be well received by many of those who are actually my friends.

Many of us set out  to use FaceBook for the personal stuff, sites such as linkedin for the business networking, with twitter and our blogs potentially reaching across both.  However, even within this, there is inevitable overlap between personal and business.  And Facebook wants the business stuff anyway!

Many people also waster a great deal of time working to update their various sites/ presences – with material which is of very little interest and/ or benefit to themselves or the reader.  There was a an excellent piece recently by Dion Hinchcliffe 12 Rules For Bringing ‘Social’ To Your Business.

I think one of the other interesting areas in all of this is bringing the various islands of social networks together.  Much of this is being pioneered out of DERI in Galway.  Projects such as SIOC spring to mind.
Comments certainly make a lot of sense.  As of now do not have all the answers.




Face to face or facebook?

Well made point by Coralie Thomson in 'Face-to-face communication is still a winning formula at Mars'.  Reminds me of a comment from a colleague of mine the other day.  She does not do this whole facebook thing to keep in touch with friends – 'if I want to get in touch with someone then I ring them or meet them'.  Whereas I would tend to use facebook – and other social networks – to stay in touch and, in some circumstance, collaborate.  And I guess my point would be, use the traditional channels and the new tools as you see fit and to reinforce each other.