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Social media: Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay!

It is often said that we live in a world which is becoming more and more transparent. Communication and how it is carried is constantly changing and this brings new opportunities and challenges. People are expected to keep up with these changes, both in their personal as well as in their work lives. The problem comes in when there is a disconnect between what people are expected to be able to do and what they are really able to do. This is the situation some of my participants are facing at the moment. The multinational company where I provide training has, like many other companies, implemented a social media platform which it expects employees to embrace, use and add information to. That sounds reasonable, you might say.

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The problem is that many of my participants don’t use social media in their personal lives, there is only limited training available and there isn’t always time to learn about the tools and their use. Did I mention that everything also needs to be in English? Together we came up a possible checklist to help new social media users figure out which questions they should ask to help them start learning the basics of using social media at work. I hope you find it useful.

Learn about the tools

Do you know the difference between a wiki, a blog and a forum? Can you give examples about different ways to use each of these? How is your company using them? Where can you find them or how can you access them?

Learn about the related terminology

In addition to the tools themselves, there are many words which users also need to be familiar with. What is an entry, a comment, netiquette? How about a tag, a news feed or a blogosphere?

Learn about what the company expects from you

Which tools are you expected to use? How are you expected to use them (i.e. read only, add comments, write entries, add links, etc.?) How often should you contribute? Should you do this alone or in a group?

Learn about your company’s netiquette or online policy

Are there any security restrictions for specific information? Do you need to limit access to certain individuals, groups or departments? Can everyone add any comment they like or are certain comments deleted (i.e. hurtful or irrelevant comments, etc.)

Learn about existing informational structures

Does your department have a site which has already been set up? Are you expected to contribute to an existing location or create your own? Do certain key users need to be contacted before additional groups, sites or pages are added?

Learn about the current role of previously used systems

Should information be updated in previously used systems or only in the new system? Will the information be migrated to the new system? What are you responsible for maintaining?

Learn about your responsibilities

Is it your job to make sure that the information is always up to date? How should you do this? Is there anyone who can help you? Which steps do you need to know how to do to change information which has already been added to the system?

Resources that can help you

We’d like to hear from you. Which challenges do you face when using social media for internal communication? How did you overcome initial challenges? Which tips do you have for other users? Feel free to share your ideas below.

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