Selling social media in your organisation

Does this sound familiar...

"Why don't they understand that social media can help us working more efficiently? Those stupid corporate drones! I want to get it more widespread in the organisation but every time I hit this frustrating wall!"

Getting users to understand how Social media tools can be used to improve their work processes and improving efficiency can at times be struggle. So it's great to see someone writing about on the Headshift blog as the author explains often when you reach the point where you have to "sell" social media within the organisation people start to crash and burn and all your efforts start crumbling around you. The author suggests that you need to tailor your pitch or how you sell social media to the individual:

"When you are selling Social Media or Enterprise 2.0 inside your organisation, it is very important to understand what kind of pitch you are doing. Are you going for a yes or are you avoiding a no? That choice will depend on your audience"

The author provides several suggestions on how to approach these pitches, for example when talking to the legal department:

"You don't need to convince the legal department how we can sell 40 % more or how we can achieve 20 % more efficiency. That is not their task. They are extremely good in protecting the company from lawsuits. So the approach to avoid a no here is to try to understand what keeps a corporate lawyer awake at night? Try to identify what potential legal risks a company has when adopting social software. Can they be sued by their employees? Can sensitive information leak to the public?"

There is some very good advice in this blog post, if you're looking for even more information on how to sell social media there is a link to an excellent blog post in one of the comments, called "Five elevator pitchers for Enterprise 2.0 adoption" the post gives example of individuals you will want to talk to and potential approaches.

Explaining Enterprise 2.0 in one minute!

If you had one minute to try and explain Enterprise 2.0 to someone what would you say?

Well Oscar Berg at the Content Economy blog has got not one but two definitions for Enterprise 2.0...

“Enterprise 2.0 is all about using technology to bring brains together effectively.” - Andrew McAfee, Associate Professor Harvard Business School

Okay that's quite an interesting way to explain Enterprise 2.0 but it's really the concept, if you're looking for a way to explain what it really means Oscar provides a handly little paragraph at the end of his blog post:

"Enterprise 2.0 is a term for business practices and technologies originating from the social web - such as blogs, wikis, feeds and social networking - which can be used to improve communication, findability and discovery of information, knowledge sharing, collaboration and innovation within an enterprise"

There you go, you've just to to remember that now!

Photo - Flickr

Stopping the social media madness

The Web worker daily has published an interesting post called "6 ways to stop the social media madness" in it the author suggests 6 ways in which you can limit the amount of information received from social media sites.

There are some very sensible suggestions here, although not all of them are new. These are the ones that caught my attention:

  1. Pare down - We're all guilty of trying to do too much with too little time and of trying to use as many sites as possible. Do you really need to though? If you have a set of "trusted" social media sites, only use these and use them regularly.
  2. Designate time for social media. If you're checking Facebook, Twitter and emails on a regular basis you've become a slave to your impulses. Set aside some time to dedicate to social media and only use this time. Your experiences will be much more valuable then.
  3. Step away - As the author suggests if you find yourself consumed by social media, it's probably time to take a break.
  4. Do the "cold turkey" this might be hard to contemplate for some people but if you feel like you're spending too much time on social media sites - STOP - that's right stop, turn off your laptop, your blackberry, your iPhone and simply enjoy some time away!

Photo - flickr

Tweeting while you work

Last week I attended SLA Europe’s seminar "Tweeting While You Work" I was really looking forward to this event as it had been a while since I'd attending anything and Twitter is a tool that I use regularly although less so nowadays.

The speakers in the order they presented were Dr Hazel Hall (hazelh; LISResearch; CentSocInfo) of Napier University in Edinburgh, Julie Hall (juliehall) of Women Unlimited and Julie Lewis (judithlewis; Seshet) of Seshet Consulting they each gave their view on using Twitter at work and as part of an Information Professionals work.

It was very interesting to hear what they all had to say, the most interesting presentation by far was Hazel's who used Twitter to provide 10 tips on using Twitter in 10 minutes. This was a great way to demonstrate another way to use Twitter. Hazel's slides which include all the tips are available here.

One thing which made me pay attention was a point Hazel made about privacy settings on Twitter. It was literally the only thing I wrote down the entire night and was something like "Restricting access to your Twitter account is liking going to a nudist beach and leaving all your clothes on" I'd liked the analogy but I didn't and still don't entirely agree with the point Hazel was making. A few of the people I follow restrict access to their Twitter accounts, that is you have to request to follow them. I can see why they do this as it's very frustrating to be followed by some completely random person or organisation who you have no affiliation with and you cant see any reason why they would follow you.

I know if I was to look through my Twitter followers a good percentage of my followers will be people or organisations I have no interest in following and what value they get from following me I don't know so that is at least one good reason for restricting who can follow you on Twitter.

If you're wondering why I've included the "Loose tweets sink fleets" picture in this blog post some of the discussion was around seperating your work tweets and personal tweets, which can be quite diffcult to do. There were a few suggestions about how to do this with the most obvious being to create two Twitter accounts, one for work and one for your personal life or just use Twitter for work and use another social networking site like Facebook for your personal life. What's important to remember is that if you use Twitter regularly and build up some followers people will expect you to Tweet about particular subjects so if you suddenly go "off piste" and start Tweeting about random subjects you might find yourself losing followers pretty rapidly.

So far the event’s also been covered by VIP, WoodsieGirl, Uncookeddata and will no doubt feature on the SLA Europe blog. If you'd like to see photos of some of the attendees and speakers Photos are available for viewing on Flickr.

The role of technology in Knowledge Management

This is an interesting short video interview of Chris Collinson, co-author of Learning to fly in the video Chris is asked for his view view on the question of "the role of technology in knowledge management"

Chris makes some really interesting points in this video. None better then "technology can be disruptive" but often in good ways, the example Chris then provides is of Twitter. Twitter is an excellent example of a disruptive technology because it helps us connect with individuals we might not have ever connected with.

Chris then argues that the term KM 2.0 is one that should be used carefully. Using this term would imply that all KM tools and practices had been superseded when actually there is a lot of value from using a "blended approach" that is a combination of KM 2.0 tools and techniques and practivces developed before anyone even starting using the term 2.0.

The final point Chris makes is that the focus of technology in KM is now more about "connecting" then "collecting" there are still tools available that assist individuals in the collection of know how, but even these are becoming social.

There are even more points then these in this video so I thoroughly recommend you watch it for a useful insight.

This video was originally published on the Knowledge Jolt blog. More videos like this one are available from the eClerxServices YouTube channel.

Social tagging and the enterprise: Does Tagging Work at Work?

I stumbled across this blog post late last week and thought it interesting enought to write about it. In the post, which is a review of another post on social tagging within the enterprise, the author describes how nowadays tagging of content (photos, videos, books, blog post, facebook friends) is seemingly ubiquitous but within an enterprise tagging has been slow to catch on.

How great would it be if you could find the policy you tagged yesterday or the form that you found yesterday and tagged as a "form" well this is the potential of social tagging within the enterprise.

But why would you want to introduce tagging within an enterprise? well you only have to look at how well used sites like Delicious, Digg, Stumbledupon are to appreciate the potential for indivdiauls to tag content that exists within their workplace.

So why would you want to implement a social tagging solution, well as the author describes for one thing they're cheap "They don’t represent a big investment, and are relatively simple to implement. Additionally, the technology is usually relatively easy to use"...."Tagging can supplement information retrieval options in intranets and document management systems, allowing employees to use tags to enhance the findability of internal and external content without waiting for an information professional to categorize it."

There are obviously implications for information professionals and many will argue that allowing individuals to categorise content themselves is actually "dangerous", whichever way you look at it however social tagging is a concept that isn't going to go away. So for an insight into this area I thoroughly recommend this blog post.

Photo from FlickR

Social Software at Addleshaw Goddard

Mark Gould of Enlightened Traditions has written a very interesting article in the latest edition of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers*

In the article Mark describes how Addleshaw Goddard started using Social Software, beginning with two blogs for their business services team, which ran on Wordpress. The article describes how these blogs started and how well they've fared since their initial development.

The article then looks at how wikis were developed at Addleshaw's starting with a wiki for a Corporate Partner and swiftly moving on to wikis as tools to support knowledge sharing within key client teams. Mark then goes on to describe the other wikis that are available these cover "legal knowledge" and includes wikis for the Employment, Projects and Pensions practice groups. There are some very interesting points raised in this part of the article around responsibilities which will apply to all wikis no matter where they're deployed. As Mark writes "...wikis have to have clear leadership...this entails a number of define the purpose and structure of the be clear about what the function of the wiki is...and to promote the wiki as a useful tool"

These are probably the most difficult things to do but are crucial to the development of any wiki so should be clearly defined from the outset. The final part of the article looks at the developments Addleshaw Goddard have made to their blogs including incorporating plugins within the blogs to support the use of tags.

This is a really interesting article, which demonstrates how Social Software can be used in Law Firms.

*You will need to have a subscription to Internet Newsletter for Laywers in order to read this article.

Photo courtesy of Matt Hamm

Doing more with less...

Last month I spoke at the Ark Conference Managing your law firm library and information service through challenging times as I've said in my previous post this was a really interesting conference, which looked at some of the challenges facing law libraries.

My talk entitled "Delivering information to your fee-earners on the cheap" was about how Law Libraries could use Open Source and other cheaper technology solutions to provide services to their users. There have been several examples recently of Libraries moving from vendor provided solutions to open source applications. The King's Fund moving their Library Management System from the SIRSI Dynix application to an open source application called Koha is one of the most recent examples.

During the course of my research into this presentation I found some very interesting resources, which because I'm the nice blogger I am I thought I'd share with you my readers.

There are also a few presentations I consulted, which are well worth reviewing:

Sadly my feeling is that Law Libraries and Librarians will continue to have to do more with less for the forseeable future. The good news is that there are plenty of tools available that can help librarians manage and develop their services.

Picture from Flickr

Getting the most out of Twitter

The iLibrarian has linked to a great post from Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times called "Getting the most out of Twitter" Claire confirms something that I've been telling everyone I speak to about Twitter in the very first paragraph "The truth is, you don’t have to post a message to get the most out of Twitter"

Obviously if you want to post tweets to Twitter that's absolutely fine but a lot of value from Twitter comes from how it can be used to track topics and subject of interest. In her article Claire suggests five ways in which you can tap into the conversations that are happening on Twitter.

  • Creating a custom news feed
  • Check your lists
  • Attending a conference, virtually
  • What’s around you right now (reviewing trending topics)
  • Asking questions
This is a really interesting article, which is well worth a read for some tips on how to use Twitter beyond posting Tweets.

If you're wondering about the photo this is from FlickR and is available for use under a creative commons licence, the wording is so so true...apart from looking at lolcats.

Social working: portrait of a new intranet

Managing Partner Magazine has published an excellent article by Steve Perry (ex Freshfields) called "Social working: portrait of a new intranet*" the article looks at the steps taken by Freshfields to increase collaboration across the firm.

As Steve explains in the introduction to the article "We wanted to (increase collaboration)...using the new Enterprise 2.0 social business tools that lower the barriers to fee-earners using knowledge management systems...the old intranet had a mountain of information, but too much...was out of date, ownership was difficult to trrace and the system itself was not used...because it was not perceived as being user friendly or adding business value"

Steve then explains in detail the process Freshfields undertook to replace their existing system with an Enterprise wiki system called Confluence, which is provided by an Australian company called Atlassian. Information provided by Steve in this article includes:

  • What is Enterprise 2.0
  • Issues with the old Intranet
  • The solution
  • The pilot stage
  • How to increase fee-earner participation
  • How it's being used
  • Key results

The most interesting thing to read about from my perspective was how Steve and Freshfields encouarged fee-earners to contribut to the wiki. Steve has some great suggestions on how to encourage fee-earner participation pointing out that "People will more willingly participate if the Enterprise 2.0 initiative is seen as strategically important and partners actively support it" Steve also provides other suggestions for encouraging participation by fee-earners, these include:

  • Targeting to ensure there is a clear objective
  • Including the Enterprise 2.0 project in formal communications
  • Identifying champions

This is a really interesting article, which has some useful tips if you're currently or are thinking about deploying a wiki or replacing your existing intranet with a wiki.

*You may need a subscription to view this article online