What's Your Internal Social Networking Strategy? - InformationWeek

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6/2/2008
09:00 PM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
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What's Your Internal Social Networking Strategy?

Nemertes recently noted that eighty-three percent of organizations are now "virtual" meaning that members of workgroups reside in physically separate locations.   The emergence of the virtual workplace has radically changed not only how we communicate and collaborate, but how we build social bonds among employees.

In years past, the water cooler served as the informal meeting place.    We went to lunch with our co-workers and found out more about them on a personal level.   We chatted during breaks.  But in the virtual workplace, such informal interaction is difficult.  Sure, there's usually some chatter in the first five minutes of an audio conference, or maybe a few IM messages here and there, but virtual workers often lag behind their non-virtual peers in forming close personal bonds with their co-workers.

Thus virtual organizations should have an internal social networking strategy to encourage informal interaction among team members.  Examples include message boards, establishment of special interest groups, or even using public social networking sites such as facebook to form private company communities.  Of course, any effort needs to be correlated with HR & governance concerns, but the risks are typically outweighed by the benefit to the organization as a whole.

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