They work inside too!

Too much of the discussion on social media (blogs/podcasts, wikis, etc.) in the enterprise revolves around outward facing tools and not enough mention is made of the advantages of using these tools internally.

I met an Enterprise Ireland rep yesterday and his take on business blogs was that they were for client communications. And that is one powerful use of them.

However, social media can be as powerful, if not moreso, when used on the company Intranet.

If you have a dispersed workforce (either geographically or spatially within a large building) blogs serve as a powerful tool for sharing stories (knowledge).

Facilities managers, for example, can share stories of how a particular aircon configuration saves them a ton on energy costs. This can be quickly seen and emulated by other facilities managers within an organisation. Similarly for all other job roles within a company.

This ensures employees showcase their expertise and helps them become an authority on a particular function within their company.

Blogs are also very powerful for building personal networks and communities of like-minded individuals and the discussions which arise out of these raises the company’s IQ.

Similarly for podcasting internally. Internal podcasts are a fantastic way of sharing knowledge (war stories), for demonstrating expertise,  and for bringing people together.

Finally, internal podcasts and blogs are a nice easy way for companies to dip their toes into the Web 2.0 waters before they go down the public-facing route.

7 thoughts on “They work inside too!”

  1. My feeling on internal blogs is that they provide companies potentially with a very efficient and cheap way of managing and retaining knowledge.

    What if everybody used internal blogs instead of writing up status reports? What if all company announcements (new hires, changes to policies etc) were made on a blog instead of the usual method of email flooding? What about using your personal pages to assess who is the right person for a new project?

    Link that up to Google Desktop Enterprise Search and, hey presto, you probably have a cheap yet efficient Knowledge Management system. The great advantage being that it is unstructured “bottom up” data that is easily maintained while also being easy to search through.

    There are also some potential advantages to be gained through close collaboration. Subscribers to internal blogs would be more ready to add value to a blogger’s thoughts and suggestions, meaning that no-one would need to work in a vacuum. It’s more a peer review model than the usual method of hierarchical review.

    I think a key issue to work through however is gaining critical mass within an organisation. Some people like writing, others not so much. The usual “what’s in it for me” problem may surface for a large proportion of people. To take full advantage of the potential of a system such as this, certain up-front training would be necessary I think, and there might need to be a discipline enforced on people to use the blogging system for certain types of communications.

    Another question is enterprise size – a small company would probably not need it, but for how many people would it start to make sense?

  2. Tom – I completely agree and that is the focus I take when talking about corporate podcasting and business blogging – it’s an aspect of what I covered at the Corporate Podcasting Summit Europe that I spoke at last month.

    I’m also covering this in a conference on Talent Management sponsored by the Irish Times in early May.

    I hope we get chance to connect on this when you are in dublin this next weekend.

  3. I think the trick with this is to start with the information people actually need to do their jobs better and work backwards from there to figure out who can blog it and how, rather than starting with the idea that people should blog and then looking for an audience.

    That’s not to say that blogging things like status reports and anything else is a bad thing – it isn’t, it’s great -. But it’s a matter of where the priorities should be.

  4. @Colm – great ideas (some of these may be better suited to an internal co. wiki – wikis are said to cut down on email traffic by around 30%).

    IT Architect – absolutely, the biggest problems in these projects is the initial inertia. Once the project is up and running, the content keeps bringing people back.

    Krishna – looking forward to meeting up in Dublin once more – we keep missing each other!

    Antoin – that’s true. What you also need is an internal champion who is also a good communicator! Not always easy to find!

  5. This is a cool resource for businesses. More importantly for small business owners who need to communicate internally and externally in an economic manner. I intend to provide a link to this page on my blog.

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