Monday, 21 December 2009

Using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al

Prompted by a comment in a discussion thread on the KIN discussion forum, I am current reading "Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges". I'm only part way through but I think it's very good. Seriously good. This will almost certainly not be the last post I make inspired by this book. (KIN members: look for my book review in the forthcoming edition of Kinections).

I'm currently reading the chapter 'New Approaches to Old Problems'. McAfee presents a very simple model - The Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye - of different types of ties for knowledge workers, which I think is very useful. He goes on to describe how, in complete contrast to many organisations, Serena Software have actually adopted Facebook as their corporate intranet! That's not an in-house, behind the firewall version of Facebook but the out there in the world wide web version. McAfee contends that Facebook has attributes that make it "particularly appropriate for the second ring of the bulls-eye which contains large numbers of weakly tied collaborators".

 It was a story I had heard about but McAfee puts the pieces together in a compelling way. And it led me to thinking about the way in which I use SNS (Social Networking Services) tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I was particularly struck by a quote from Serena VP Kyle Arteaga: "At any given time I know as much about my colleagues as they want to share via Facebook ... So now I have a context when I next speak to each of them".

Until now I had - broadly speaking - tended to keep my LinkedIn contacts and my Facebook contacts separate. "LinkedIn is for business, Facebook is for friends and family". My Facebook network of 'friends' has very little overlap with my network on LinkedIn. Which, of course, includes KIN members. When it comes to status updates, I shall continue to make that distinction. I am unlikely to post about work I am engaged in on Facebook. Likewise, I am unlikely to post about the idiosyncacies of my children on LinkedIn. And it is unlikely that I shall start adding many of my Facebook 'friends' to my LinkedIn network. But maybe I'll start adding a few more KIN members to my Facebook friends list to provide me (and them) with that social 'context' Arteaga referred to. To that end, I've just added a link to my Facebook profile on my LinkedIn profile to make it easier for people in my 'professional' network to connect to my 'social' context.

What about you? How do you use these and similar social media tools? What strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Don't laugh - humour in the workplace

Who can forget those classic 'corporate videos' that John Cleese made in the early 1990's? Or David Brent's Office embarrassments. When KIN members asked if there was any research into the role of humour in knowledge sharing, I was hoping that these might be amongst examples and case-studies that might show up.

John Cleese as a civil servant in the halls of...Image via Wikipedia

KIN steering group member, Steve Conway, of Leicester University has been looking into this for us and came up with three well-researched papers. Whilst the papers are peppered with words such as 'jocularity', 'parody', 'absurdity' and 'irony', unfortunately none of these describe the actual treatises. The papers are worth a read from an academic perspective, but what I'd really hoped for were some actual case studies on how humour helped workplace communication. Maybe there is some space for research amongst and by practitioners in the use of humour in knowledge sharing?

BTW here are a few things you will see, but never hear at work:

1. Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 5:00pm to give it to me. The challenge of a deadline is always refreshing.

2. If it's really a "rush job," run in and interrupt me every 10 minutes to enquire how it's going. That greatly aids my efficiency.

3. Always leave without telling anyone where you're going. It gives me a chance to be creative when someone asks where you are.

4. If you give me more than one job to do, don't tell me which is the priority. Let me guess.

5. Be nice to me only when the job I'm doing for you could really change your life.

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