Social Networking and the Pursuit of Happiness

If you’ve been following my posts over the last 10 or so weeks, you woud probably recognise a common theme: Web 2.0 technologies and social media tools. Social media is everywhere; its the way we connect, its the way we communicate, and its the way we live.

Having the ability to connect with our fellow collegues in the almost limitless medium that is the internet, has opened up a large array of possibilities. With technology such as smart phones, as well as computers undergoing constant innovation, it is now easier than ever to share information and knowledge. This availability of data is certainly able to be utilised within an organisation, amongst coworkers of all levels of the corporate structure.

Social networks give a vast array of benefits. The following are some of the positives that can come directly from utilising social media tools to increase networking within an organisation.

Improved Communication – Social interaction through communication and collaboration amongst employees increases the likelihood of 
Reduce Emails
– By using internal blogs, wiki’s, facebook or twitter platforms (as well as others), the necessity for emails is greatly reduced, and also creates a more consistant and more casual platform to hold discussions.
Happier Workers – It is no secret that a happy worker is a better worker. Giving employees the platform to communicate with their colleagues will likely improve staff morale across the board, which will most importantly create more efficient employees.

The last point, referring to happiness is arguably the most important. Something that we all strive for: a happy life. More on this subject can be viewed if you check out Andrew Madden’s blog, a very interesting read indeed!

There are however, some additional challenges that are apparent. It is still a business environment, and standards need to be adhered to, to ensure that no innappropriate content is published and that content is topical. Additionally, the possibility that an employee could spend too much time using social media is certainly conceivable, and this would have to be monitored by BAC managers.

If BAC were to implement some form of social networking tool, it would certainly provide a quality platform for employees to improve their working lifestyle, which will in turn improve the enjoyment they get out of their work.

Internal Wiki’s in Brisbane Airport Corporation

A Wiki is essentially a piece of software that allows users to create, view and change information using a web browser. If you aren’t quite sure what a Wiki is, you’ve probably still had some contact with one during your online electronic life (even if you haven’t realised it), and you can view this page for more information. A Wiki can be an excellent way to create, manage and share large amounts of information. Within an organisation, wiki’s can prove to be exceptional ways to generate best practice by effectively sharing knowledge between employees.

The security of a Wiki (as with any online body of knowledge) will always have the possibility to hinder the quality of the information. One of the big talking points of a wiki is the ability for everyone to actively moderate and change the information given. This is a positive element that can unfortunately become a double-edged sword; the ability for anyone to change data creates an air of uncertainty around the credibility of the information provided on a wiki.

Having said that, an internal wiki for Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) can quite easily be moderated, and the security of said software, appropriately controlled, just like any other internal IT service. At present, BAC does not have a Wiki, but could easily benefit from utilising one for their internal practices. Outlined below are some potential benefits:

  • Improved communication and collaboration – helps staff get to know each other
  • Reduces the necessity for emails
  • Paperless business processes
  • Easy to use, easy to access, easy to edit

Some of these benefits were taken from this article by James Matheson. Have a read for more tangible and intangible benefits!

By implementing a Wiki in to BAC, it would be credible to assume that all of these benefits,  plus many more, would not only be possible, but would increase staff morale, productivity and efficiency. Especially considering that a Wiki is making use of what is already available, and is one of the best resources available to an organisation: human knowledge.

For more information on Wiki’s and how they work, you can check out these blog posts!

Andrew Rogers: http://wp.me/s2iHzr-07
Mihi Stubbings: http://wp.me/p2jBEv-3t
Andrew Madden: http://wp.me/p2hwZn-1f

Thanks, and be sure to tune in next week for a discussion on how social media can work with organisations.

Microblogging Strategy for Brisbane Airport Corporation

Welcome back everyone! I know that it has been a while since my last blog post, but unfortunately, not everything in life works out the way you plan it to. At least now we can get back on track with discussing some of (what I would consider to be) the more meaty and practical sides of Enterprise 2.0 using Web 2.0 tools and strategies.

Today we will begin by discussing blogging and micro-blogging strategies within an organisation, specifically, within the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC). Brisbane Airport is run by the BAC, and as an organisation is the third largest airport in Australia and deals with both domestic and internally flights.

Since the turn of the century, there have been many events that have threatened the success of the aviation industry. Terrorism, technology innovation, safety issues and aeronautical accidents have all had the potential to seriously hinder the progress of airline companies and airports, as well as their affiliates. But, resilience is what makes successful organisations, successful; BAC is no different. In that same regard, technological innovation is increasing at a rapid rate. As such, social media tools are becoming more prominent within organisations. Blogging and microblogging are not only being used externally to communicate with the general public, but also being used internally to communicate between employees.

Microblogging is essentially a smaller version of a blog. It is intended to supply informative, compact pieces of information for the intended audience to quickly consume. The purpose here is to provide BAC with a quality strategy for internal microblogging that will increase. Twitter is already utilised as a medium to communicate externally, but the goal here is to increase internal communication by making use of the extensive Web 2.0 technologies that are available.

Worksimple is a quality social media tool tailored specifically for internal use by organisations, and would work perfectly within BAC. However, implementing this tool as a permanent medium would have to be done properly to ensure that it would be able to reach its full potential within the organisation.

The following steps are a basic example of the strategy that could prove to maximise effectiveness.

  1. Implement – update employees and give them a chance to have their say on how it should best be used.
  2. Inform – let employees know how to use it and when.
  3. Encourage – give employees additional encouragement to share with their colleagues.

By following these steps, BAC could prove to successfully implement and utilise a social media tool to its fullest extent.

Here is a link to WorkSimple‘s blog: http://getworksimple.com/blog
And a link to Brisbane Airport’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrisbaneAirport

Show Me The Money! Return On Investment with Social Media Tools

Return
On
Investment

Arguably the three most important words for a corporation that are considering changing their current business processes. Indeed, ensuring that a profit can be made is definately important as we all know money makes the world go around!
Now, you don’t need to be a business major to understand what the focus of an ROI is. If you aren’t quite sure as to what is required to generate a return on investment, check out this article. You need to keep in mind that (like any investment) it takes time to generate a return, and this is exclusively dependant on your strategy framework and the implemenation process itself.

Quantifying the return of a service (in particular, one that involves Web 2.0 technologies) is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. Predetermining business process goals can be one way to ensure that money has been well spent. For example, reducing interorganisational emails by 20% might be one particular goal that can help with quantifying a return on investment. However, this leaves a few very important questions: are the goals that you have set appropriate? Should the organisation be aiming for a  higher return? Should the goals be more dynamic to account for changes throughout the year?

Now, while these questions are all extremely common for organisations utilising Web 2.0 tools, the answers to these questions are unfotunately very circumstantial and depend entirely on what is required to each organisation. Obviously, any legitimate business would take the time to ensure that it can appropriately use enterprise 2.0 implementation frameworks. I know that this sounds a bit iffy, but thats just the way that it is, as it is with alot of things in this world!

Researchers at IBM and MIT have found that certain e-mail connections and patterns at work correlate with higher revenue production. Have a read through this article for an interesting look at quantifying ROI through social media technologies.

So, how can YOU make a return on your investment?

Obviously this would differ depending on the type of organisation that you are running, and the type of implementation that you are undertaking, but generally, you can follow these few steps to success!

1. Create clear and determined goals that you can re-evaluate every few months to ensure that you are getting the most out of the technologies available to you.

2. Lead by example by showing your employees that social media tools are not to be discounted as an appropriate form of knowledge management and encourage those around you to make effective use out of what is available.

3. And finally, and most importantly, be patient. You cannot expect to generate a return on an investment within a few weeks of implemenation; refer to the previous 2 steps to keep on track.

That about raps it up for this week guys, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment! I look forward to seeing you again next week, cheers!

The Legal Side of Life

Hello again!

I hope that the last few blogs have been an enjoyable and informative read, I know that I have learned a lot about social media and Web 2.0 technologies over the last few weeks and I hope that you have too!

So let’s keep a good thing going and talk about the legal side of things when implementing social media tools in an organisation.

As I mentioned last week, IBM is one of the premier technology and innovation companies in the global market today. You can check out my blog post last week for some interesting stats on their social media activity! As such, the way that IBM handles social media both internally and externally, is ultimately decided by their employees.

IBM has a really open stance about the use of Web 2.0 technologies in their organisation. Their social media policy has been decided by its employees in 2008, and it has been re-assessed in 2010 with the ultimate goal of giving those employed by IBM the platform to learn and to contribute.

A policy like this is very important, to ensure that all employees and external members of the community are aware of their obligations and responsibilities. An organisation also has to consider the possible ramifications should one of its employees say something that does not correctly portray the opinion of the company.

A Possible Scenario
Take a hypothetical scenario for example; an employee states on a public wiki that they believe that smoking is not a cause of lung cancer. The company for which this employee works for may face potential damage to their reputation as well as other legal consequences. It is imperitive that this situation is avoided at all costs.

Be Who You Are
To quote the policy directly: We believe in transparency and honesty; anonymity is not an option. This is what makes happy employees. And happy employees will create a happier workplace, which will ultimately ensure for efficient work flow across the organisation.

Social Media at Work.

Web 2.0 technologies such as wiki’s, blog’s and social networking sites have long been used in the public domain with incredible popularity, so it’s only natural that professional organisations would look to harness the flow of information available through social media platforms. Enterprise 2.0 refers to the use of Web 2.0 tools in a corporate setting to enable employees (and sometimes customers or other stakeholders) the ability to freely share and organise information. As with any venture, there are some fantastic benefits, as well some potentially hazardous risks, both of which have to be taken into consideration when implementing a social media platform.

Benefits
Some of the benefits of utilising social media tools within an organisation include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Faster innovation and product development
  • Reduced email overload
  • Increased reputation through modernisation (attractiveness as an employer)
  • Knowledge base is readily available to employees resulting in more efficient workflow

Most of these benefits speak for themselves in regards to the value that could be acquired through social platforms, and there are definitely more potential benefits that I have not mentioned that may not be foreseen.

Risks
However, with these benefits come risks, which have the potential to seriously hinder the capabilities of the organisation.

  • Security
  • Loss of control of information flows
  • Reputation through negative comments or inappropriate staff behaviour
  • Reliability (information given may not be clear or of a high standard)
  • Productivity (staff spending too much time on social media and not enough time working).

Of course, these benefits and risks are very generic, and will not apply to all parties in all circumstances.

Making it work….at work
Now, with all these potential risks and rewards in mind, lets take a look at a company that has successfully implemented social media tools as a part of everyday life in the workplace.

IBM is a global technology and innovation company with operations in over 170 countries. If I said they were a large organisation, I’d be underselling it. Instead of having one corporate wiki or blog or twitter account, they allow their employees to do the talking. Their use of social media tools have been outlined in this case study by the Social Media Examiner

  • No IBM corporate blog or Twitter account
  • 17,000 internal blogs
  • 100,000 employees using internal blogs
  • 53,000 members on SocialBlue (like Facebook for employees)
  • A few thousand “IBMers” on Twitter
  • Thousands of external bloggers,
  • Almost 200,000 on LinkedIn
  • As many as 500,000 participants in company crowd-sourcing “jams”
  • 50,000 in alum networks on Facebook and LinkedIn

Through the successful implemenation of social media platforms, a company that was founded in 1911 has been able to modernise their business processes, by using the oldest knowledge resource: people.

Starting from the Start!

The term social media may have been largely unheard of 7 or 8 years ago by most people, and is now one of the fastest growing trends in the online world. The availability of information is increasing with every passing day. As such, there are many different ways to communicate with like-minded people (and those not yet converted) by utilising social networking tools. Using a blog is a great way to voice an opinion, and to start a conversation with people regardless of their geographic location.

Purpose

The main purpose of this blog is to create a platform where we can educate each other on current Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technologies. I intend to learn just as much about these subjects as the reader, through research and discussion topics. Educating myself is one of my hobbies, and this blog will be in much the same light.

My Blogging Structure

My blogging strategy is short, sweet and simple.

  • Prepare my research
  • Create a post
  • Respond to feedback

By no means do I pretend to have all the answers, and as such, I will hope that you (the reader) will feel welcome to provide feedback on whether you agree or disagree with the content of my posts. Life is a lesson, and I always try to learn from my success, just as I learn from my mistakes.

William Shakespeare once said: “Let every man be master of his time.” I have every intention of keeping my posts short, sweet and simple, as per my aforementioned blog structure. And I hope that the time spent reading my blog will be enjoyable and informative for all. Having said that, I’d be more than happy to clarify any questions you have in the comments section, or expand on any topic you feel is necessary.

Obtaining Readership

Through the use of twitter and facebook, I have the intention of spreading knowledge about my blog through word-of-mouth, and hope that those who enjoy the content of my posts will tell their friends.

An Interesting Read

http://www.tibbr.com/blog/ has some excellent and frequently updated blog posts by members of the tibbr family, as well as some fantastic images and charts outlining the impact that Web 2.0 technologies have had on Enterprise Social Technology. I highly recommend taking the time to have a quick meander over some of their content.

Also, if you have the time, check out this presentation given by Christopher Poole at the 2011 Web 2.0 Summit, where he discusses the online identity and how the large enterprises are steering us down the wrong path.

http://mashable.com/2011/10/18/chris-poole-4chan-web-2/

Thanks for your time and feel free to leave some feedback!