Social media without the BPR

Last night at ThirdTuesdayNB the conversation came around to how to implement social media in large, bureaucratic organizations without creating a white elephant type of project that takes years to implement. Michele Martin just posted some social media baby steps that have worked for her, particularly:

Static website => blog

Wikis for committee work to replace/reduce e-mail

Other small steps that I think can work without major business process re-engineering (BPR):

  • Use e-mail only for contractual/legal/official communications that need to be tracked, and add an internal Jaiku or Yammer instance of Twitter for business conversations inside the firewall.
  • Use social bookmarks and tags (Delicious or open source variants) to highlight external information, once again to replace e-mail and to open everyone’s browser “favorites” to the rest of the organization.
  • Replace multi-recipient e-mails with internal blog posts and send the link via e-mail or IM. All comments get added to the blog post and if the position holder leaves, the replacement takes over the blog. Great for non-sensitive discussions like training schedules.

6 Responses to “Social media without the BPR”

  1. James

    I think these are good points, but in my mind they all can be integrated together by actually promoting RSS as a main transport and updating mechanism first.

    If businesses set up and educated their employees on the simplicity of using feed readers to aggregate news of value to either the business or the employee, changes would start to happen. For example, latest versions of Outlook or Lotus Notes will display feeds, so it could be easily integrated without a lot of new technology for the end-user.

    It wouldn’t be as big a stretch for late adopters to understand a wiki, blog or bookmarking service if employees could first see changes to those platforms in one place and understand the way one can quickly scan changes and only visit those they find of interest.

  2. James

    Ahhh, good points in the previous post.

    I find that often even techno-phobic people just need to be guided to discovery and all kinds of good things happen. Of course, at BCIT, where I work and Telus, where I used to, rolling out anything new for broad use is a monumental task.

  3. Harold Jarche

    That’s the core of this post: How do you get change started without some monumental “change management” effort? There’s no doubt that it’s highly contextual.

  4. Karyn Romeis

    Another idea: if a tool like Captivate, or one of its cheaper relatives is made widely available, users might be encouraged to upload workarounds that they have created/discovered to a wiki or some other shared space.

    I have often used a champions network in rolling out solutions to an organisation. If you get these people to post a tip of the week in a shared space, or even as a group email, it isn’t a huge step from there to blogging. Another possible approach is discussion forums and FAQs, administered by the champions network.


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