Aug 022011
 

Past Saturday, I could not confirm my attendance for next Toastmaster’s meeting because I did not remember my work schedule for next Saturday. My iPhone carries information about my personal schedule (Apps, Facebook, personal email etc.) but my work schedule stays in work email and Sharepoint. Some amount of project information can be made available to project team through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+, however, an organization needs to consider advantages and risks before using social media for projects.

Advantages of Social Media tools in a project

  1. Learning social media tools is faster because project team would already be using these tools
  2. Social media tools promote informal learning which comprise of around 75% of total learning
  3. Social Media tools promote community feeling. When a team creates a Facebook group, members not only share a common interest but also get to know each other at their personal level. This feeling keeps team members motivated.
  4. Information is always readily available. With the advent of smart phones, social media tools are always available to many. Thus, information is always at finger tips.
  5. Free marketing for organization. When more information is shared publicly, it generates publicity for the organization without spending any marketing dollars.
  6. Event Management becomes easier. Social networking tools have lot of features (events in Facebook and twitter) to notify individuals of any upcoming event or to quickly share any information. Information is broadcast to users on their preferred mechanism rather than mandated company email.
  7. Since social networking is mainly written or electronically captured, information is electronically available. This information undoubtedly will need refinement but can be stored in organization’s knowledge base.

Risks of Social Media tools in a project

  1. If Social networking tools are allowed to be used during office hours then it may be difficult to track and control the time spent on these sites. The time spent may be misused for personal use.
  2. Even after laying ground rules on what to share and what not to share, accidents do happen. Team members may share confidential or proprietary information.
  3. Using social media for official use may induce stress on team members because personal and work life will mix.
  4. Personal issues, grudges, misbehavior or bullying may become a problem for organization.

Conclusion

Social media undoubtedly has some risks but the advantages far surpass these risks. Nonetheless, adopting social media requires culture change and laying out ground rules. HR and top management need to make a concerted effort to overcome the inertia and adopt the limits of Social Media use as per the organization.

Do you feel that Social Media can improve the work efficiency in your project? If you are using Social Media in your project or organization, what is your experience with it?

Reference:

 

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