Sharing Status Updates Reduces Duplication Of Work
Last week I wrote Using Social Software To Accelerate Business Performance, as the introductory post to a new series where I’m going to discuss how “Enterprise 2.0″ tools provide benefits in the business world. I’m going to begin the series today by discussing the internal use of microblogging, which enables people to openly share short messages with their coworkers.
For those of you unfamiliar with microblogging, the most widely known example is Twitter, where you enter “140-character or less” messages, press update, and essentially anyone in the world can read what you have to say. Notice that microblogging differs greatly from email and instant messaging, where the audience is limited, since you specifically choose who the recipients of an email or chat message are. With microblogging, the information is shared openly, enabling more people to read, and thus benefit from what is being shared.
Internal microblogging provides companies similar benefits to services like Twitter, but adds a layer of privacy, by sharing the information only within your company. This enables you to provide status updates internally, which you would not share with the public. For example, you can mention customers, codenames, future projects, and other “internal-only” things.
Socialtext provides internal microblogging via Socialtext Signals. With Signals, when someone posts a message, all their colleagues can read what is being shared. (In a future blog post I’ll explain how you can send signals to a subset of people using Groups) It important to point out that the content shared via Signals is searchable, so the information can be discovered by everyone at any time. Compare that to email, where a great deal of valuable knowledge is locked away in individual in-boxes, available only to the people that were listed on the To: and cc: lists.
So let’s look at a specific example. This morning I signaled a status update “Generating a list of 2000 fake name, titles, phone numbers, and office locations for our new demo sandboxes.” I did not think much of it at the time. I was simply practicing what I preach, and openly sharing with my coworkers what I was doing. Much to my delight, an hour or so later (as seen below) one of my colleagues Graham, read what I wrote and replied with “Once you’ve got that list, could you send me a copy?”
Now Graham does not work with me in Marketing. He’s one of our developers who happens to work on things like directories and LDAP. The 10 seconds it took me to share what I was doing, has now saved Graham hours of time duplicating the work. Multiply the time saving benefits of this one occurrence by the dozens of similar times that this happens each day, and then ask yourself “How can we afford to not be using microblogging inside our company?”
Want more proof, take a moment and read about how St. Louis Public Radio is using Signals to openly share information. As station manager Tim Eby says: “People understand each other more, and they know what others are doing. This lets us respond more quickly to new opportunities.”
Next up, I’m going to write about how you can use internal microblogging for questions and answers.