#11 Microblogging & Enterprise Social Networks

Microblogging is a form of blogging, but its content is smaller/shorter ( Twitter is one form of micro-blogging). Microblog entries might be an update about a person’s day, a photograph, a message sent to another microblogger, a quote of the day, or an informative link about a subject they think other people might be interested in.  Some microblogging services offer features such as privacy settings, which allow users to control who can read their microblogs, or alternative ways of publishing entries besides the web-based interface. These may include text messaging, mobile apps, E-mail, and others.

Why do this?

One great application of microblogs is to ‘working out loud‘ to enhance collaboration within an organization. It can increase opportunities to share information and help discover and utilize expertise within the workforce. Some microblogging services such as Socialcast and Yammer, have privacy settings, which allow users to easily limit access to only the members of your organization. Also known as Enterprise Social Networks (ESN), options like these focus on the use of online social networks or social relations among people who work in the same organization and/or share business interests.

Watch this brief video from Socialcast to see how it works.

ASTD has a great community that is hosted on Yammer. Come join us in the ASTD Instructional Design Network.

My very favorite illustration of how new approaches like this can make life better is this video from Kevin Jones.

Resources

Discussion: 

  • Does your organization have an ESN? Have you ever used an ESN tool?
  • Do you see any potential benefits for your organization?
  • How could an ESN improve collaboration?
  • How do you think this sort of tool compares to traditional tools such as email?
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12 thoughts on “#11 Microblogging & Enterprise Social Networks

  1. I’ve use twitter regularly for my business. I use it both to send out and to receive information updates. I haven’t used Socialcast or Yammer. I just don’t have a use for it currently because I’m a micro-organization. However, I did have clients that used Yammer (in my former corporate life) within their enterprise firewall. I’m mixed on the value of microblogging, not because I don’t see its value but because it is so misused currently. I like it as a tool for quickly pointing people to useful information or for facilitating an online conversation. I don’t like it as a tool for updating me about your day every 15 minutes.

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  2. We use Yanner at work. Creating groups based on topic, department, or area of interest helps to keep the dialog focused.

    I have experimented with a CBT feature to display a Twitter dilog box specific to the course. The vision is to use this to foster intamacy, address Q&A, and extend the learning. I’ve not implemented it yet. I am waiting for a topic and audience in which it would be appropriate.

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    • What a great idea Teresa. Have you had any push back from anyone about doing that? Have you considered embedding any relevant Yammer groups or similar “social” things in your courses? I’d love to hear about it.

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  3. I am very fascinated about these tools and how I could use them to communicate great things about my products and stay connected with my clients. What I need to learn is how best to limit access only to those key people I wish to connect to and how to keep it from being a gossip column or online complaint department. I really appreciate the introduction to these tools. Is there a good place to learn further, especially regarding access?

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    • Hi Nancy! I think the best way to learn many of these tools is to simply dive in and try them. The best part is you control what you get. So if you follow someone who gossips too much it’s really easy to UNfollow them. Let me know if you are looking for anything in particular.

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  4. We use Yammer at work and I try to go in at least once a week and view what others, whom I follow, have to say. I agree that even with our company reminding us what’s appropriate to Yammer, I still find folks going off on irrelevant tangents. Also, it’s become a place where there are more postings congratulating a person on an accomplishment, than information that is useful to know. I know we want to support each other but would like to see a better way…..like a ‘tag’ of some kind next to that persons name that if you click, you can see all their ‘kudos’ but they otherwise stay out of the stream of conversation.

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  5. Yammer is a great tool for zoning in on a topic of interest. I participate in the ASTD National Yammer group and have enjoyed the open dialogue in a “safe” environment. No random posts. It’s all business. Interested to see how Twitter will compare.

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  6. We use Yammer at Penn State. With it being such a large entity, it can sometimes be overwhelming…there are not only staff and faculty, but students as well. Some people come on and post what they are doing for the day and it’s really not meaningful to me. We have specialized groups we use for, say, learning designers, or committees we are on, but again, it’s not as powerful to me as say the microblogging I see on Twitter. On Twitter, I have a much wider community, but I select who I follow. I can also organize them a little better…so if you are tweeting a picture of a morning sunrise or a handy article, I am much more likely to catch it on there and find it more meaningful. Yammer is full of my coworkers, Twitter is full of my chosen peers. Yammer is like a social media playground for a company where people are allowed to play, Twitter is a directed choice. I also enjoy Tumblr, but that is more for its creative spark and uniqueness.

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  7. That reminds me of how important it is to “tune your filters” as Clay Shirkey might say. The first thing I always tell anyone starting out with Yammer is to turn off all the default notifications because getting everything is WAY too overwhelming. If you only follow certain people & groups it is a much better and more valuable experience. I think one of the great things about yammer is you can cast a wider net when you don’t know who it is you are looking for.

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  8. I like the ESN concept. My organization has a chat tool and we drop box to share documents, but in my opinion it leaves a lot to be desired. In other organizations I’ve shred and asked for reviews through Google docs. I like that it tracks changes and gives me the right to share the information as well as allowing for me to have some control over documents.

    An ESN definitely offers a time savings feature, if the participants look at the information. I don’t think that most of the people monitor the drop box that is shared, which can be a problem. I am definitely for ESNs vs. traditional emails – much easier to keep track of the process and where everything is located. I’m going to show this to some of the people at work and see if there is any interest. Thanks for sharing this!

    On another note, I am part of Yammer, and I love it! It is a great resource and I highly recommend it to my colleagues!

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