Monday, May 16, 2011

More ideas on using social media for learning

I've just come across a whitepaper on increasing the use of social media within an intranet (Ward, 2010).  One of my colleagues is working on introducing a new intranet within my workplace, so I though it would be a good idea to have a look at what Ward believes are essential ingredients for success.  I'm definitely in agreement with the idea that a social intranet must include access to social media tools direct from the main intranet portal - these are certainly present on the intranet I use, so does it qualify as a social intranet?  Unfortunately the 'wide participation' hasn't started yet.  We have some executive blogs, and there are some comments on them, but the wider body of employees haven't engaged yet, so what is missing?  We've got the tools that people are supposedly coming to demand, but they haven't, well, come...

The problem doesn't seem to be unique to my workplace.  There is a lack of engagement with intranet tools across a wide variety of companies.  Ward identifies the same missing factor that I have been working to remedy - it simply isn't part of the culture, and that needs to be changed.  Since I'm not in a management position, and am approaching from an educational perspective, I'm planning to lead and promote conversations.  I believe there are sufficient tools in place to get those conversation going properly, and I'm having success with the group that I work with, so now I need to persuade other departments that my approach has merit, and build up the groundswell that can lead to company-wide support to realise the potential of a social intranet.

The case study shows that an effective social intranet doesn't neceessarily have to employ expensive social media tools to increase employee engagment and yield positive results, such as a saving of 400,000 Euros from ideas contributed by employees.  The flip side of this is that a company that doesn't implement an effective social intranet policy 'risks being left behind or outright failure', according to Prescient's survey.  Again, the problem doesn't seem to be lack of availability, since the tools are so cheap.  It is employee disatisfaction with the tools - or as I word re-word it: it's employee perception of the tools, because they don't get a sense of satisfaction from using them.  That perception is something that I want to change.

Ward, T., 2010.  The Social Intranet: Key factors for Intranet 2.0 success; Social Intranet Success Matrix.  Prescient Digital Media Whitepaper [online].  Available at: <> [Accessed 16 May 2011]