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Facebook: Social identity or identity theft? July 9, 2007

Posted by Null in Corporate Communications, Technology.
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No wonder what you might be thinking as a leader or a manager, many of your subordinates are always one step ahead from you. While you are thinking of browsing websites and setting up e-mail addresses, your employees and subordinates are using Facebook for enabling communications and creating social networks.

Initially, my personal response to Facebook was pessimistic since it looked similar to the platform of Hi5 friends network. I did not like the Hi5 network as because it spams tons of mails in my inbox and there are millions of popups when you visit the site, which eventually can take you to infinite internet exploring. I might be wrong because Facebook is getting more and more popular these days and there are many professional communicators who are using Facebook. One example is Lee Hopkins who uses Facebook. In addition, there are many others who are using Facebook for many different purposes. The CIA or employers use Facebook for screening purposes, which means you do not have any secret identity. Well we do not need any secret identity, but accessing my personal information by strangers is kind of mysterious and that makes me scary.

I am still confused how Facebook is making the social networking work. Most of the facebook tools are loaded with flirting tools like graffiti, pokes, cookies, emoticons, etc. It quite seemed to me like a dating or a chat site rather than a social networking platform. Perhaps it may be a great tool and I might prove wrong. But what I am requesting is to be cautious about your social identity while being on the social network.

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Adoption of electronic communication June 26, 2007

Posted by Null in Corporate Communications.
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The adoption of electronic communication media can be twofold. They can improve the communication process and can also escalate miscommunication. As we know that there are several intended and unintended consequences of adopting technology based electronic channels. Consequences such as long text messages, information overload, lack of timely feedback, reduced social presence, and excessive attention to electronic information can jeopadize the intented goals of organisational communication. Hence it would be worthwhile for management and organisations to recognise both the benefits and the perceived negative consequences that electronic communication can bring about. Communication is a two way process. Whatever the media we are using there should be homogeny between the selected media and the type of interaction held. Since the basic principles of communication have not changed much, there should be a blend of both face-to-face and technology based communication. In an interview with The Economist, Jim Flynn from Oracle Corporation expressed that:  

Face-to-face is the only way to work through complicated co-ordination issues. In a world where English is spoken as a second language, the Internet can breed misunderstandings if not backed up with regular face-to-face meetings.

If a computer technology based organisation has so much to do with face-to-face meeting, other organisations should not think of diluting face-to-face interaction when communicating throughout the organisation. A scholar stated that face-to-face interaction is still effective because human beings are biologically designed to communicate in a physical manner. Therefore, it is recommended that organisations should consider the media choice according to their specific needs. I am not suggesting that face-to-face interaction is the only survival kit; rather a blend of both forms can enable a success in the communication process. The question for further research is in determining the ideal fit between the organisational communication setting and the technology that will be used in communication.

Advantages of weblogs over static web pages June 25, 2007

Posted by Null in About Blogs, Corporate Communications.
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As we know blogs are dynamic in nature where the pages are not static. It means that our blog pages get updated as soon as we post a new article. Thus the dynamism of blogs gives us an advantage in the search engine results as well. Thanks to the great innovation of Web 2.0 technologies. A static web page would not have got us enough hits like blogs. This competitive edge tells us that organisations should focus more on a blog instead of their corporate web pages.

I can show an evidence of it. If you search “organisational blogging” on Google, you will find this very blog as the first result or on the first page. The interesting thing is, I started this blog just 3 months back and it surprisingly appears on Google’s top results. How did this happen? It happened because it is a blog and it is being updated every now and then. This is just an example that blogs are more result oriented and can give your organisation the edge to communicate with customers and the external environment. In a marketing point of view, blogs gives you the ability to promote your organisation rapidly.

Employee responses to technology June 6, 2007

Posted by Null in Corporate Communications.
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As human beings we do not easily adapt to technological systems because our intuition tells us that those high-tech systems are beyond our knowledge and understanding. As in most cases, CEOs and managers are frustrated because they spent a significant amount of money for introducing technology but they remain underutilized. This may be due to the fact that many employees know little about the use of those technologies and are unaware how technology can leverage their performance. As stated in Miller (2006) that the use of technology will not escalate until a critical mass of people are using it. But how is it possible to make employees use these systems?

Technological effects

Once the employees realise the potential benefits of using it, they will jump over to use it. For instance, not many people used instant messaging for communication before but consider now that there are billions of people who use instant messaging. It is a socializing process where we need to make people understand the perceived benefits associated with the technology. The question lies here relates with communicating with them and help them learn the system. Basic training and documentation does not always construct the necessary social tie between human and technologies.

Is your CEO blogging right now? June 5, 2007

Posted by Null in Corporate Communications.
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I don’t want to talk details about the benefits of corporate blogging as because there are so many to say. Rather I would tell you what your company would be missing if your CEO is not blogging right now.

Here are some of the consequences:
♣ Your competitors will have the advantage of making relationships with your customers. So you don’t want this to happen.
♣ Others will think that your company is not responsive to technological changes.
♣ Your organisation will miss the opportunity of having an organisational voice who could have been your company’s representative to the external environment.
♣You will also miss the chance of getting valuable customer feedback about your products and services.
♣ Your company will lack the sharing of knowledge and information which could have been critical for your research and development.

Speak no blog, hear no blog, see no blog

To justify the above points, I can give you an overview. There are several Fortune500 CEOs who blog for their company. That many CEOs can’t be wrong. To blog or not to blog is your choice, but you will definitely miss the golden opportunity of getting closer to your employees and customers if your CEO is not blogging now. It’s just simple as that, if you don’t laugh today, you will probably be crying tomorrow.

Face-to-Face or Gadget-to-Gadget communication? May 18, 2007

Posted by Null in Corporate Communications.
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While many people might argue that technologies are enhancing the communication process but there is no alternative for face-to-face interaction in an organisation. Organisational communication is an essential apparatus for the success of an organisation and thus it would be reasonable to ensure that the communication process does not breakdown .With the help of technologies, communication processes have become faster, convenient and accurate. But technologies are also causing damages to the organisational communication. Due to the widespread use of E-mail, Intranet, Wikis, blogs and other technologies, we are missing the social cue and the etiquette. Electronic communications may create conflicts among people and may lead towards a communication breakdown. The consequences are severe if organisations depend entirely on the electronic form of communication. Therefore organisations must prefer the traditional face-to-face interaction in cases where it is possible to avoid the electronic form of communication.

What does effective internal communication means? May 2, 2007

Posted by Null in Corporate Communications.
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Internal communications is a communication process that is held within an organisation and between the members of that organisation. The fact behind internal communications is to enhance the organisational communication process and work relationships so that it enables efficiency in the work processes and bring harmony in the organisation. Traditionally, face-to-face interactions, company newsletters and other printed publications were the most used communication channels. But due to emergence of various technologies, communicators these days get the opportunity of selecting from a pool of communication channels. Nowadays, internal communication channels also include Web 2.0 technologies such as intranet, email, weblogs, wikis, Live TV, podcasts, YouTube, SMS and so on. But the question of effective communication still exists as because internal communication is not being done the way it should be. According to Rodney Gray (a communication specialist), internal communications are failing because most communicators are focusing on the wrong communication issues and methods.

In fact having some general principles might help communicators. Principles such as 1) informality in communication, 2) concentration on the needs of employees and various internal stakeholders, 3) interaction with all levels of function, 4) communicators should think themselves as members of the communication results not as communication specialists as because other groups such as employees and shareholders are now influential media producers, 5) Senior management should support the new form of communication process that can take place by using technologies and interactive communication.

However, technology itself cannot ensure effective communication. There should be a blend of several inputs to achieve effectiveness. On the other hand, communicators themselves cannot ensure effectiveness. Unless everyone is involved in the whole communication process, it would be a one sided story for the management and the communicators. It is worthwhile to look at the basics why communication is going wrong. Most importantly, the satisfaction of employees should be considered as the priority for effective communications because employees now fall in the categories of importance as much as customers and shareholders.

Contents of corporate blogs April 22, 2007

Posted by Null in About Blogs, Corporate Communications.
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What do we write in corporate blogs? Is it all about the products and services we sell? Well it depends whether we are going for an external or internal organisational blog. For an external blog we are trying to communicate with customers and other external groups. Thus we can concentrate on the technologies we use for our products and services. We can also make announcements and get feedback from our customers. However, there might be some other external parties who will get involved. For example, if the product that we are selling is tobacco, then anti-smoking campaigners and health organisations will join the blog to have a conversation about the pros and cons of tobacco marketing. The crucial part is to be polite with external communicators and view their ideas respectfully.

On the other hand if we decide to blog internally, we can blog about the different ways to improve our organisational efficiency. In case of a project team, we can even discuss about the issues concerning the project work. A whole bunch of topics like company annoucements, change of direction, employee socialisation, employee involvement, social responsibility, etc can be discussed about. With blogging conversations you will get so many expert opinions and diverse ideas from your employees that you might not have thought about those issues individually. Thus it creates a new form of Decentralisation in the organisation and which is good for enhancing the organisational culture.

List of top corporate bloggers April 22, 2007

Posted by Null in About Blogs, Corporate Communications.
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While there are no universal laws about who should blog for an organisation. Although many critics suggest that CEOs should blog for the company, but I believe employees who are highly identifiable by an organisation should blog. You might wonder who are the top bloggers in external corporate blogging. Here is a list of top rated corporate bloggers. Try having a look into their blogs and guess what made these blogs so special in the blogosphere.

These are some of the good corporate blogs that I browsed before starting my own blog.  Some of these blogs are technical and I did not understand most of the conversations of those blogs.  I suggest to look at the blogs, their contents and styles, and the way of conversations held. In addition to these, don’t forget to browse Jason Calacanis’s media blog where he talks about the gossips of Hollywood.

Blogging for competitive advantage April 22, 2007

Posted by Null in Corporate Communications.
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Blogs which were once viewed as teen journals or geek diaries suddenly turned out to be a knowledge management tool to many large organisations. These sudden move by many firms towards blogging has surprised many communication scholars and practitioners.  When I started moving in the blogosphere, I too wondered why do organisations blog? There are several reasons behind it.

Organisations blog for various reasons. As for an external organisational blog, the primary objective is to get closer to the customers and get feedback from them about your new innovations and product updates. Therefore you need to take a lead in the topics that are relevant to your industry and create a network of passionate communicators in those fields. That brings your organisation in a form of social identification to the media and to the community. For example, GM’s Bob Lutz talks about the auto industry and communicates with the external community through his blog. Thus it creates a social network within various people who are interested in those topics.  John Porcaro, a marketing manager of Microsoft believes that listening to customers and their needs helps them meet their expectations. His personal weblog helps him a great deal when communicating with customers. Corporate blogs are not just about marketing and product promotion, but also to represent the organsation as a knowledge base in the communities they exist.

As far as I understand, internal corporate blogs are useful for team communications in product development. Organisations like IBM and Macromedia already claims that they have benefitted with the use of internal blogs. Internal blogs are also useful for multinationals with international subsidiaries and international managers. The parent company can communicate and share knowledge with all the international units within an internal blog which eventually gives a competitive advantage to the firm.