Thursday, August 21, 2008

IABC Q&A: Employees on social media

One great thing about the audience at my talk on social media for IABC Washington last week was its willingness to share knowledge. This video captures one such generous perspective: A corporation has measured its Generation-Y employees, in their early 20s, about preferences for social networking options, as part of considering whether to deploy a site for internal communications. Here's what they learned:Figuring out that boundary means you need to start where this company did, with a baseline measure of what employees want. Employees' desire to keep their corporate "parents" off of Facebook may lead your company to creating its own internal blog or social networking site. (The bonus: You'll truly be able to keep that site internal if it's a customized, firewalled part of your corporate site.) Remember, social networking sites for employees will work best--and stay true to the origins of the form--if employees are empowered to create and manage them.

Check out my e-handout from this session to find a link to McDonald's new internal blog, Station M, which launched this summer with a clever campaign to find an employee blogger. In a brilliant Cinderella-story effort, employees worldwide were encouraged to submit videos and essays, which were then posted for a company-wide vote. The winner, Rick, not only gets to blog, but also has been taken off deep-fry duty for a year. (The effort is overseen by the internal communications staff at McDonald's.) The search took advantage of the popularity of voting that's been spurred by reality shows, created internal and external buzz for the blog and the blogger, and set the right tone by letting employees participate even before it was published. (Thanks to Emily Deck for capturing this on video.)

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