The second day of the conference began with Brodies IT head Damien Behan talking about why he has resisted many attempts to adopt social media technology. My ears pricked up at one point he made about how “most viruses come through websites, not e-mail”. Maybe the webmail blockers have it all wrong.
The mood of the room was light-heartedly against his insistence on blocking Facebook and reasoning that “we go to work to work”. I wonder if the employees feel it’s a great place to work, or that they’re being policed unnecessarily? I always say it’s the same as blocking the telephone 100 years ago. Is it just a case of learning to use the tool appropriately?
Despite being a Facebook refusenik, Damien did mention the Workbook Facebook overlay which provides a secure Facebook for the enterprise.
Kevin Anderson, Guardian Blogs editor, gave us an insight into how news media has changed over the past ten years, why The Guardian has pursued social media and how their principle of “connection, not crowd-sourcing” enables them to “involve the audience in meaningful ways”.
(He even managed to slip in the “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?” gag I’d been thinking about using in its “consultant” variation.)
The Big Smoke
Proving a talented chairperson can make anyone feel at home, Pfizer’s Chris Shilling introduced me as working in “the only industry more hated than pharmaceuticals”. Spread the love.
I told two stories. One about how we’d applied design thinking to community facilitation to create our CommunityBuilder framework. The other told how we’d introduced blogging into British American Tobacco with BlogCentral.
I may not have been clear enough when I made my point about the assumptions many people have about the “media savvy generation”, because one member of the audience attempted to disagree with me by agreeing with what I’d said! As I recounted, an external research agency came in last year to conduct some research on this demographic, expecting to find younger people more connected, always texting, using social media sites and so on. What they found – both inside British American Tobacco and other companies – was they don’t exist! People from all generations use these tools. (I will have to find the report and start showing it to people..!)
Although we were quick to get into blogging, we’re not the only people to have done so. Ruth Ward talked about how Allen and Overy had adopted blogging as a team communication tool.
I was impressed by how well she seemed to know the users – easier in a smaller company, but it must help your confidence when gaining support – but surprised to learn they had no blogging guidelines… until she pointed out it was all covered by the company’s communication policy.
On reflection, lawyers probably do tend to think these things through rather well.
Jillian Cameron then presented an overview of how the Government is looking at new media trends and attempting to embrace them with varying degrees of success. The sheer scope of this endeavour meant some of it was a little abstract and while old media tends to knock the slightest stumble, I was impressed by the range of experimentation. Enabling this in the near future will be a fascinating pursuit, particularly with a 500,000 strong Civil Service.
Government 2.0 2
Alexis Castillo-Soto then showed off the newly-launched MOSS 2007-based intranet of the Learning and Skills Council. Not being familiar with Sharepoint, I was impressed to with the potential of the tools which are included. I could almost imagine using it myself, though the migration from Lotus Domino could be a challenge.
Let’s hope Alexis can invite the Intranetters for a visit very soon.