You can't escape it: MySpace and Facebook are everywhere. So rather than fight it, harness the strengths of social networking and put the technology to use inside your business. Social networking can foster closer working relationships between your employees and keep everyone up to date on company news, group projects, promotions, and important dates.
Why go social?
Social networking may conjure up images of wasting valuable work time by sending silly messages to buddies, but there are compelling reasons to welcome business-focused social tools into your company.
Reason 1: You have a young workforce that is hooked on social networking. They're comfortable with working, collaborating, and making connections via the Web.
Reason 2: You have telecommuters, contract workers, or remote offices, but still want to foster a strong central community where employees can keep track of each other and their projects.
Reason 3: You need to replace a clunky old intranet system with a more modern solution that encourages greater employee participation.
Reason 4: You have a growing workforce and want to make it easier for employees to find other employees with certain skills or knowledge to answer questions and collaborate on projects.
Now build it
Once you've decided to give an internal business social network a shot, how do you start? Web-based service providers are a good starting point to test the waters. Business social networking is a growing area, so look for more companies to offer solutions. In the meantime, check into these options:
- Ning: Private-label social networks are this company's specialty. You can custom-brand a network and upgrade to the ad-free service for $20 per month.
- Socialcast: Socialcast focuses on providing private social networks for businesses. Cost is $5 a month per user, for six or more users. You can take it for a free test drive with less than six users.
- Socialtext: Collaboration is the key for Socialtext's offerings. The wiki feature is designed to get employees to work together and share their knowledge. Additional social features include profile pages, tagging, and integration with directories.
- WorkLight: WorkLight takes a slightly different approach by leveraging consumer social networks that your employees are already on. The WorkBook product lets workers communicate through Facebook securely so that your business information stays out of the public eye.
Development on the business side of social networking is good news for your company as you look for ways to harness collaborative technologies. Internal social tools are a smart way to give social networking a spin while still keeping a handle on your data and employees' time.
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• Project Green (Posted on: 06 Oct 2008)
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