Social Networking within corporations

Social networking in a corporate environment can be extremely powerful if used correctly.

I have seen WIKI’s on back ends to manage definitions, rules, and how-to documents in the IT arena, but also for other general information and to submit ideas for discussion. Outside of the WIKI format, in the intranet of a major corporation, I believe having a profile based system will help people to be able to put names to faces, and to allow individuals the opportunity to connect in deeper professional levels.

Having blogs, forums, discussion boards, and workspaces with goals, document sharing, and project management can really help to keep everyone informed of what is going on. Online collaboration tools like Central Desktop (www.centraldesktop.com) is a wonderful, easy to use, and clean way to put together teams in a professional environment, share documents, allow discussion, version tracking, and even hold meetings, all online!

One of the most valuable aspects of social networking and the tools associated with it I feel is the increase in access and ability to educate. Professional growth is a huge desire for people. Once inside of a company, many people can feel trapped if they are unable to get any continued training or education to allow them the opportunities of growth. By implementing an intranet social environment learning resources can be globally shared, classes and seminars can be announced and scheduled, as well as discussed and rated.

Depending on the structure of your company, you may feel comfortable with something like WordPress MU (http://mu.wordpress.org/), and then built up with the new BuddyPress (http://buddypress.org/) you can now host multiple blog users on one account and with BuddyPress create profiles and open the door to IMing, group creation, and work friends. Groups can be your company softball team, your safety team, your charity team, and so on. There is a section for picture albums, which is great for special events, and the result of last week’s softball game.

If you have a more sophisticate IT and UX team you can use Joomla (http://www.joomla.org/) which is free, and then install Community Builder (http://www.joomlapolis.com/) to incorporate profile building and sharing, but by using the Joomla platform you now have a very powerful CMS that can organize content, turn on the forum, install all kinds of plug-ins that allow for document and picture sharing, you can create blogs, company news, calendars, media sharing, etc, all with free open source tooling!

Another free online tool available is called Ning (http://www.ning.com/). Here you can use the free account to build your own social network. If you buy a more advanced account you can expand customizations, and over all accessibility to the site structure, and have a dedicated URL instead of a subdomain. Either way, the free tool makes it extremely easy to get into creating a social network with very little effort.

Social networks should be looked at as tools, especially inside of a company. If it’s perceived as anything else other than a useful tool for growth and advancement, then you may miss the valuable benefits and miss the opportunity to increase your company’s internal growth.

In essence, social networking in a corporate environment can be very easy to implement, and will increase morale, team building, productivity, friendships in the workplace, and can lead to greater tenure in your company. Once you create your new social network for your company, take the time, and make the effort to encourage people to use it and explore it. You will find many benefits from this type of tool.

(This was a response to a Q&A on LinkedIn by Andy Smith. Original question:
How could you see social networking technology deployed in the enterprise changing your business?

I find enterprise software often expensive, inflexible, ugly and closed. Popular personal social networking tools are beautiful, fast, cheap and flexible but lightweight and the value of the underlying data is often trivial (how I feel about what I had for dinner).

What could you imagine would be improved (e.g. mentoring, knowledge transfer, ideation, etc) and how if "Facebook tech" were effectively deployed at your company? Is anyone already doing this well?

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Humperdinks – Addison, Texas

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I just moved to Dallas, and to start my networking I am helping a local restaurant chain with some promotions online.

I am starting with the Addison location. So, this is a flier I put together. I am going to be posting this around the web and finding people in the local area who might be interested.

Any other ideas on how we can promote this wonderful special?

If you didn’t know, Humperdinks brews their own beer, which is quite good, actually.

You can see their Myspace page I am slowly making headway on – taking over the design and management of it from a past employee: http://www.myspace.com/…nksaddison

Hope all is well!

Cheers!

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At the train park!

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On a train, at the train park… Woohoo!

Erik

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July 5th: Aviation photo shoot!

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A friend and I have been working on a redesign on a website for Pacific Aviation Northwest. As part of the package we did a photo shoot on July 5th. My buddy had a digital and took well over 250 pictures, where I am still enjoying the pleasures of film and ended up with almost 50 pictures to work with out of 4 rolls.

http://flickr.com/…040833261/

We had a ton of fun. We will be going out there again to do some maintenance shots, staged, and then some air to air action.

This time we had some fly bys, take-off, and landing, and of course, still shots.

He brought his kids, I brought mine, and one of the employees of the aviation firm brought his daughter. All 5 kids went up during the first flight and had a blast!

Let me know what you think of it all!

Cheers!

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New iPhone 3G vs. Blackberry Bold

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I know I haven’t even had my Tilt for a year yet, but these two new devices are getting me excited again! I have been a Blackberry fan for years, and this new Bold is the best of many worlds all wrapped into one package!

On the other side, the iPhone has finally evolved to a point where it’s functionality matches the needs of working people!

Having access to the 3G network has been a big deal for me and my Tilt, so I wouldn’t go without it again. Powerful email solutions are important to me as well as integration with the Google and Gmail world, which both devices handle quite well.

The iPhone MobileMe feature is pretty cool in that it auto syncs your phone with whatever email/calendar platform you use, be it Outlook or Mac Mail and iCal. It syncs over the air, so you can be sure it is always showing the most updated info on all of your machines in your life.

The Blackberry still requires a sync action, but that isn’t a deal breaker because with the new powerful processor, onboard storage AND the ability to add MicroSDHC cards is an amazing feature.

I have come to really enjoy my MicroSDHC card. I have an 8GB card and I load all kinds of things on it from video samples to show clients at standard formats (without going through the iTunes conversion) and my audio files for travelling, but also my writing projects, so if I feel inspired and don’t want to whip out the laptop on an airplane, I just pull out my phone and go to town!

I need a camera and I have noticed the iPhone camera to be quite amazing in quality. My Tilt isn’t too bad as long as I remember to wipe the lense off before I take a picture. I haven’t seen the quality of the Blackberry camera, especially on the Bold, but it is am inportant feature for me.

Keyboard – I like have a tangible keyboard, like the Blackberry and Tilt devices, but I have been told that after a little practice and with the new software the iPhone can actually be just as good – just takes some getting used to.

What about bluetooth keyboards? If you need to perform several productivity tasks and don’t need your laptop to do it, could you sync up a bluetooth keyboard and go to town? I enjoyed that about my Blackberry, but I had to sell my keyboard when I got my Tilt – not compatible.

I do design work, video work, and general communication work. Aside from those heavy tasks, I want a device I can EASILY replace my laptop with on a regular basis.

The Tilt has been nice so far, but it has it’s little quarks, and is almost clunky. Too many key strokes to get places, and not intuitive enough. I don’t mind a learning curve at all, in fact I quite enjoy a challenge once in a while. But in a phone, if I have compatibility issues with email, then it becomes a turn-off.

I use Gmail as my primary account. I like how the email client organizes email and message accounts, but it has issues on this device that I have found to be typical with WM6 devices. Sure the IMAP and POP features with Gmail are not 100% smooth, but this is a regular basis and I shouldn’t have to find work arounds just to keep my workflow active.

The other thing about the Tilt that I have decided I could do without is the keyboard. I have been a Blackberry user for quite a long time and I really enjoy the Blackberry keyboard design and function. I also like the ability to single handedly use the device. You just can’t do that with the Tilt. So, in order to use the Tilt you have to think about when you are going to use it – you can’t be as impulsive as you can with a Blackberry, or the iPhone for that matter.

I watch my friends use their iPhones and see how easy it is to get around on it. That is attractive to me! When I find myself dreaming about smaller phones, I know I am not on the right device.

So, both the new iPhone and the new Blackberry are coming out soon, and I know the pricing on the iPhone will be good, and the Bold – well, we don’t know yet. I have been fortunate enough to hold out for refurbs and have had good luck with them. I just don’t if I can wait that long this time!

If you made it this far in this post, let me know your thoughts about these two phones!

Cheers!

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Performance program for Brian Regan

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I didn’t realize it is a Comedy Central show! I guess I should have known, the promoter is Live Nation.

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Nashville at 6am

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