For my report assessment I have the idea of engaging via a microblogging service with a community of midwives. To start, researching into the blog of best fit is required. Kristen Burnham’s (2009) article provides a summary of microbloggs other than Twitter, providing a snapshot of popular sites currently used. This form of social networking would be ideal for my chosen community in providing patient updates and sharing information in regards to any problems that have occurred.
Other than Twitter (which I currently only use to catch up on my favourite musical artists) the only other microblogging site that is familiar to me is Yammer. This tool is currently used in my workplace within the faculty of Information services that incorporate IT and library services. It serves as a discussion board for work projects such as the upgrading of software tasks, meetings of the different levels of personnel and also for social interactions such as the lunchtime touch football match. Grenfall (2011) promotes the use of micro blogs such as this in that it “breaks down hierarchical structures and improves the sense of belonging felt by staff.”
By using a microblogging service such as Yammer it can provide a secure and engaging way for staff members to keep daily updates on their agenda with co-workers that rely on each other for information, all within an instant messaging service like an SMS. In addition by securing a corporate style interface it emphasises the importance of privacy of information shared between the members and the use of a repository of resources for members. It also has the ability to archive messages and to create not only a private group but a public group in engaging clients needing to converse via a blog.
A point of concern is that if there are both passive and active users how will an organisation ensure that everyone on the team will adopt the service for continuity? Grenfall (2011) highlights that to drive adoption of the service there will be a natural process in that some staff will “consume the messages as they are posted in real time, whilst others may only refer to them once a week, or via email updates.”
The NSW Department of Education and Communities is a good example provided by Grenfall (2011) of a large organisation with many hierarchies that with the use of microblogging can be broken down to similar teams in different regions who are undertaking the same work. This example justifies the positive application of a microblogging service to my intended government team for my project assessment.
It was comforting to read about the typical behaviours of a microblogging community. I am more relaxed to hear that it is okay to be a passive user. Grenfall (2011) states that more people watch than actually participate (like this author) and this will be a good point to highlight when promoting and adopting a microblogging service, decreasing the pressure that staff may feel to engage frequently. The main benefit to promote to staff who are uncertain about the service is that it offers a strong feeling of connection between a group whilst linked to an organisation.
Strengths and weaknesses that will be considered using a micro blog are:
- That there will be a connection to the organisation’s overall strategy
- An exposure of common weaknesses and threats in undertaking a microblogging application such as privacy of client information and security of the platform
- An outline of the realistic and positive changes the tool will support or improve to the current communication methods, such as mobile, email, face to face meetings.
- It has the potential to provide an insight into additional research for improvements in both the workings of the organisation and the intranet/blogging technology itself.
- Employing a community manager to moderate and nurture the team’s discussions
- Commitment by the community and to understand the benefits it can provide
Grenfell (2011) provided a comprehensive list of important points for organisations or communities considering to adopt additional web 2.0 practices to enhance their communication practices.
This article has provided a good base of information to begin the creation of a social networking strategy for my intended community.
Burnham, K. (2009). 12 Microblogging Tools to Consider - Inhouse microblogging improves privacy. Retrieved from http://www.cio.com.au/article/328255/12_microblogging_tools_consider/
Grenfell, C. (2011). Deploying microblogging in organisations. Retrieved from http://www.steptwo.com.au/papers/kmc_microblogging/index.html