Enterprise Social Networking, Team & Broadcast

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Enterprise Social Networking, Team & Broadcast

Enterprise Social Networking is one of those buzzwords that seems to come and go every few years. As all of us have been pushed towards remote work this past year the tooling for providing team based collaboration and broadcast communication has had to step up in a big way. Over the last several years collaboration based social networking tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack have been in the limelight. While broadcast based social networking tools have been kind of in the background such as Workplace, Chatter, Yammer or Intranets.

So, what do I mean by collaboration (or team) based social networking? Collaborative social networking is typically focused on a small group of users, where the majority of users are actively participating in both the conversation and the dissemination of content. In short, its for you to work directly with the people you work with. And bringing the information created to a broad audience is the exception rather than the rule.

For Communication (or broadcast) based social networking it's kind of the inverse scenario. You generally have a very small subset of users creating the majority of content, which is then disseminated to a broad group of users. Usually this is driven by needing to provide information to a broad swath of the company. The key contributors are typically Information Technology, Corporate Communications, and Human Resources. With Security, Marketing and other groups participating at times as well.

Larger organizations have a strong need for both types of social networking. Especially now with everyone working partly, or mostly, remote, in order to:

  • Hybrid & Remote Considerations
  • Prevent isolation
  • Keep everyone moving forward
  • Keep everyone on the same page
  • Keep teams productive and functioning

With the present conditions in mind, we have seen a large uptick in companies coming back Enterprise Social Networking. In order to figure out how to address issues that have arisen from a suddenly disconnected and isolated workforce. However, many companies rather than viewing Collaborative vs. Communicative social networking as requiring different tools, they’ll attempt to make one tool fit both scenarios. This leads to poor adoption and frustrating by all parties.

The needs of collaborative social networking tend to focus on real time/stream of consciousness conversations with a small group of users. Ideally with a method to tie in other systems to allow for file and project collaboration from a single system. Slack, and Microsoft Teams both do a pretty good job with this scenario. And while you can use them for broadcast style communication, other tools in your wheel house may work better.

For broadcast communication style social networking, usage tends to focus on approved content being published to a broad audience at a specific time. Then people react or respond to the published content. Wall and Feed style feeds tend to work well here, like those of Yammer, Chatter, or Workplace. Walls tend to better highlight key recently published content, along with trending and popular content making it easier for end users to consume the information most relevant to them. While at the same time providing more options for moderation and approval for enforcing company guardrails and governance.

With needs that are almost opposite of one another, having a single system that attempts to do everything for everyone will not be a smooth journey. But by using best of breed tools for the use cases they work best for, can create an environment where users can naturally interact with one another even when they can’t see one another in person. While also creating a method for preventing people from being isolated from the company potentially causing them to start looking for other opportunities as they don't feel connected to their employer anymore.