Module 2 - Web 2.0 Technologies and Social Software

Blogging and Microblogging
Many organisations have recognised the value of providing social networking opportunities for their staff and stakeholders to actively 'connect' with each other. Being connected through social media in the workplace is becoming increasingly popular. As Catherine Grenfell states, the main purpose of microblogging is to offer a tool for members of an organisation to 'engage, listen and learn' (2011).

Some organisational factors to be considered are:
  • Which tool to use? There are a wide range of tools available to consider when setting up a microblogging network. The tools can be categorized as either 'Build', 'Buy' or 'Free' (Grenfell, 2011).

Below are 12 tools listed by Kristen Burnham (2009):
  • 1. Co-op: Allows you to post updates, ask questions, share links and track time. This tool also offers the ability to share your daily agenda with coworkers and enables you to search the transcript for old information. Tool is free.
    2. Combines collaboration tools such as wikis, social networks, blogs, file sharing repositories, microblogs and discussion boards into a secure enterprise platform. Free and paid accounts available.
    3. Jaiku: Similar to Twitter but supported by Google. Updates can be posted via Web, instant message and SMS, as well as through third-party applications built by other developers. Tool is free.
    4. Obayoo: Allows you to create a private and secure network for your company. Features include archiving messages, creating groups and inviting people related to your work, perhaps clients and contractors, to participate in discussions. Tool is free.
    5. Features include creating groups for each project or topic of discussion; sharing documents, video and audio clips. Can be accessed via computer or mobile phone. Tool is free.
    6. Sharetronix: Open-source software that allows updates of 160 characters or less. Features include bookmarking favorite posts, sending users direct messages and adding up to 10 tags to describe the user's interests, hobbies, profession, etc. Tool is free.
    7. Snipia: Capabilities include creating project groups, assigning and updating tasks to group members, posting Twitter-like status updates, and uploading and sharing files with your team members. Tool is free.
    8. Socialcast: Features include public and private groups, e-mail integration, custom filters, user profiles and analytics that provide insight into the people, connections and information sharing occurring in your Socialcast community. Free and paid accounts available.
    9. Socialtext: Accessible via browser, mobile device or an Adobe AIR desktop application. Features include a wiki, social networking profiles and activity streams. Free for up to 50 members.
    10. StatusNet: Enables incorporation of micromessaging into a business's own Web domain. Features include file sharing, groups, plug-ins and apps, customizable themes, and desktop and mobile access. Support costs extra.
    11. WorkSimple: Offers users a personalized dashboard that displays upcoming commitments, tracks deliverables and highlights assignments; social profiles that showcase skills and peer recommendations; and performance profiles that capture employee performance, accomplishments and reviews. Free and paid accounts available.
    12. Yammer: Private and secure. Incorporates microblogging, a company social network, discussion board, search capability, groups and can be accessed via desktop, mobile phone, instant messaging, e-mail or SMS. Free and paid accounts available.

  • Who will manage? In an organisation, it is necessary for someone to 'implement, nurture and police' the social network community (Grenfell, 2011). Grenfell recognises the need for a manager who will devote time and effort into building up the community, moderating use including acceptable and appropriate topics and discussions and helping to create acceptance of using social media (2011).
  • Developing Social Media policy and guidelines - Organisations need to develop strong social media policies and guidelines which outline appropriate online behaviour and conduct. Basically, a social media policy should clearly state what a person can and can't do when using social media within an organisation. Social media policies and guidelines are based mainly on common sense principals that are respectful to both individuals and the organisation your are working for.
  • Adoption of social networking tool - If you build it, will they come? Just because a social network is provided doesn't necessarily guarantee all members of an organisation will use it. Grenfell states that 'generally less than 5 percent' actually actively particpate and that most people are passively participate (2011). The reasons for passive participation can vary from skepticism, wariness of technology or time investment. Either way, whether one is an active or a passive participant, social networking, in particular 'microblogging', can provide opportunities for individuals to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to a larger group or organisation.

Burnham, Kristen, (2009), 12 Microblogging tools to consider, retrieved from
Grenfell, Catherine, (2011), Deploying microblogging in organisations, retrieved from