microblogging – connecting leaders and followers

Microblogging is a combination of blogging and instant messaging that allows users to create a short message that is posted on their profile and, for many, is summed up by one word: Twitter.

The rise of social media has coincided with the growth in the use of smartphones, tablets and similar devices which allow microblogging to provide a quick way to communicate with a group of people.

Mobile apps and smaller devices allow users to express themselves in real-time and access information quickly on the go. Smartphones and tablets allow users to feel more connected to the world around them, strengthening relationships with contacts and interests.

As an HR tool

There are a number of key benefits from microblogging for HR professionals including networking, access to knowledge, recruiting, gathering feedback, and sharing ideas and information. Its immediacy and speed of use make it a powerful way to share news, advice and opinions and build interest.

Microblogging allows the shop floor direct access to the most senior managers and reduces concerns about executive remoteness from front-line issues. Traditional ‘gatekeepers’ have been removed. It allows executives to eavesdrop on themes, ideas and opinions and tune in to what others in the organisation are thinking.

Microblogging is a powerful internal communications tool, particularly for organisations that have a wide geographical spread. A survey of more than 1,500 people found that employees wanted to engage more with senior teams via social media channels: 42% would be happy to talk with their line manager or team leader over Facebook, and a fifth would be content tweeting the head of department or chief executive. Likewise, nearly 40% of managers would be happy to reciprocate.

Two-way communication

Internal social networks such as Yammer, Socialcast and Google+ are said to be fast replacing staff intranets and print communications as a way to engage employees. The major benefit of these internal social networks is they aim to replace traditional top-down communication with two-way conversations throughout the organisation. Harnessing this interest could have significant benefits, enhancing internal communications and creating opportunities for innovation and knowledge sharing.

Twitter has already changed behaviour at conferences and presentations as delegates often tweet key points and reactions in real time via their mobile devices to a much larger audience.

Social media and microblogging are dynamic with new sites emerging and others fading away; it wasn’t so long ago that it seemed MySpace dominated the virtual world.

Twitter continues to expand in popularity, but there are other sites that could have a business use:

  • Instagram has grown to be one of the most popular social networks for photo sharing that the mobile web has seen. Social media expert Social Media Examiner has identified 26 different areas in which business can benefit including brand awareness, attracting interest in the organisation and highlighting employee achievements
  • microblogging site Tumblr is heavily influenced by image sharing. Users can follow others and be followed in return. ‘Reblogging’ and ‘liking’ is a popular way to interact and interesting content can attract a surprising number of new followers. By using Tumblr, Social Media Examiner says organisations can build an audience, acquire new followers and enhance a brand through exposure to the company profile
  • Pinterest is an intuitive pinboard-style platform is definitely making an impact and for businesses can be a valuable tool in spreading brand awareness and attracting new traffic for an organisation’s marketing or recruitment website presence
  • Reddit has a strong and close-knit community. Submitted links to content get voted up or down by users and links that receive the most ‘up’ votes are pushed to the first page where the potential for viewership is huge. Its strengths as far as business users are concerned at present, lie mainly in gaining feedback and gauging opinions. Companies should be careful when attempting to push brand communications on reddit as there can often be a backlash if communities are not respected.

It recently started a ‘subreddit’ human resources (www.reddit.com/r/human_resources).

more articles about: social media in the workplace