Social Media Tools At Work?

Social Media Tools: Applicable at Work or Not?

Working as a project management consultant, I’m often asked about some of the “new” social media tools available to organizations.  What are the BEST tools?  How can they help?  Are they worth it?  If you’re thinking about whether or not to apply social media tools at work, you’re not alone.  Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world, what tools are available, the pros and cons, and how to sell your ideas to upper management. I’ll spread this discussion over the next four blogs.

Part 1 of the discussion:
First of all, what are we talking about when we say, “social media tools?” Well, here is a current list of some of what’s out there and what it’s being used for:

1. Twitter: a conversational tool that allows individuals to submit “tweets” that consist of 140 characters or less.
a. Each tweet can be followed by anyone worldwide (unless it’s limited to a specific environment like your organizations intranet).
b. Most tweets today are one way. For example, Lance Armstrong tweets during the Tour de France cycling competition to an estimated audience of over 100 thousand cycling enthusiasts and “Lance fans”.

2. Blog: collaborative forums that allow individuals to post ideas or share information with anyone on the internet or within your intranet. Other individuals can then respond to these postings and interact virtually with the blogger. The result is an ongoing virtual conversation between a group of individuals unlimited in size and type.

3. Wiki: this is taken from the Hawaiian word for “quick.” Similar to a blog, it allows individuals to develop and maintain threaded conversations online. This supports online sharing of information in real time and collaborative efforts of co-located teams and large diverse groups, amongst other things.

4. Online digital network tools:
a. Linkedin: one of the main “business” social networking tools available with over 53 million current users worldwide.
b. Facebook: similar to Linkedin, but has attracted one of the largest online social networks worldwide, not limited to working environments.
c. MySpace: another social networking tool popular with the general public worldwide.
d. YouTube: a place to discover, watch, upload and share videos with friends and the world at large.
e. Friendster: similar to Facebook, but mainly popular in Southeast Asia.
f. Qzone: similar to Facebook, but perhaps larger since it isn’t blocked in China (over 200 million reported users).
g. Orkut: similar to Facebook, but mainly popular in Brazil and India.
h. BADOO: One of Europe’s most popular social network tools.
i. VK: Russia’s main social network tool.
j. MIXI: One of Japan’s most popular social network tools.

5. SharePoint: this is a Microsoft tool that enables organizations to easily develop and maintain off the shelf, and customized websites that support the integration of many social media tools, digital workflows, and internal Microsoft applications

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Larry T. Barnard

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