Social Networks Within The Enterprise

I’m quite sure we all know what social networking is… don’t we? You would be hard pressed to find someone who does not have a profile on myspace or facebook. I went out to ask what my friends thought of social networking and to discover what they primarily use it for. This is what they thought;

  • To Keep in touch with friends
  • View and share photos and experiences
  • Discover new music (myspace Music)
  • Show others what you’re interested in (facebook fan pages)
  • Organising events

So this is what the average Joe thinks of social networking, but when you look at these points you can see the huge potential from the enterprise side. As an artist using social networking to get your new music out there would have to be the fastest, easiest and cheapest venture as opposed to standard advertising. The potential of reaching an audience that is already connected is massive, it provides the ability to hand pick the target audience and draw them in. That is the marketing side of using social networks in the enterprise. I will cover more on this in a later post. What I would like to focus on today is using social networking internally within an enterprise.

BT is a global company that provides communications solutions to more than 170 countries around the world. They have introduced a social network to its company title ‘My BT’, It possesses all the typical aspects of a social network that you would need. A contacts section(or ‘friends’) to link with your colleges. A profile message board to post comments and a ‘my personal FAQ’ section that allows colleagues to post questions about projects and other work related issues. It has integrated social bookmarking to share the employees tagged links as well as a newsfeed that displays activity on the profile. What struck me as something that is different from your standard social network was the integration of a ‘Skills and interests’ section on the page. Here you list your skill or interest, then a search is undertaken for all other employees with that same interest/skill and a group page is created where they can collaborate.

I was fascinated with this new concept on social networking. When I thought about it, it relates very much to the Extensions attributes of the SLATES paradigm by suggesting relevant content, but it takes a step further by connecting likeminded people and allowing them to share. One of the members behind the team responsible for creating the social network at BT, Richard Dennison, explains that it gives the employees incentives by allowing them to seek help from likeminded professionals and also to build your online brand. I think this is a fantastic way for web 2.0 tools such as social networking to be used within the enterprise and BT have definitely hit the nail on the head with this one. I think it has been executed very well and from what I can tell on Richard Dennison’s blog it has been adopted very well.

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