Change notifications: Think big. Think social media.

In this tip, SSQ contributor Kay Diller suggests the use of firewall-protected social media to inform your organization of changes.

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Change notifications have conventionally been shared inside an organization through email and standardized Alerts, which are quick, concise and to the point. Alerts can immediately be pushed out to a large number of end-users with critical information regarding upcoming changes. They are manually generated and take just a few minutes to complete.  They are also secure as they stay within the organization’s firewall and internal net...

work.

So why change to a social media solution and why is it important to keep these tools behind the firewall, and not use one located on the Internet, for internal change notifications? This article addresses these questions and encourages organizations to embrace social media as an effective tool for change notifications when they are securely architected behind the organization’s firewall.

Social media and change notifications

We are all addicted to the social media found on the Internet. Blogging communities, social networking sites, social news, micro-blogging, live video streaming, and podcast communities are a few of the most used social media. Daily, we connect, share and create across the globe with these fun and exciting tools. 

How can we use similar tools securely within our organizations and behind the firewall to manage change notifications? And how do we know our messages are being read, since social media is generally a pull type of communication rather than a push, like email? By thinking bigger and more creatively than we have in the past.

Savvy companies are bringing social media tools into their environments, behind their firewalls, and are encouraging their employees to link together, blog together, and engage one another in a more meaningful manner than just pushing unwanted information into each other’s email box. 

Even if your organization has not yet brought on social media tools, there are still things you can do to spice up those change notifications by creating your own internal social media tools. Just remember to keep your content secure by keeping your social media sites behind your organization’s firewall so that your change notifications do not end up as tomorrow’s headlines!

Blogging

Blogging on your company’s secured intranet is an efficient and fun way of sharing changes that have occurred or are about to occur. You can personalize the design of the blog to represent yourself, the team, and/or the project. The more creative you are, the more people will come to your blog to find out what changes are happening with the project.

The title for your blog is critical in attracting and keeping people coming back and wanting more. The old rule when creating a title was to call it what it is. For example, a change notification website would be entitled “Project X, Change Notifications.” Times have changed with social media and this rule no longer applies. Catchy, funny, smart titles work better now. Why not try: In the Know or Not a Coincidence or Now why did that happen?  

Next thing you know, other teams will be copying your blog format for their change notifications and you’ll have started an Intranet blogging community.

Micro-blogging

Micro-blogs are short, fast-paced communications and perfect for reminders of changes that are about to happen or just happened. With this type of social media, remember not to overdo it. Keep the messages quick and relevant to the change that is occurring. Finally, it may be tempting to use an existing Internet social media and limit who can see your micro-blogs, thinking you have a secured site, but Internet micro-blogs are hacked every day, so be sure to keep this site secure and safely behind your organization’s firewall.

Social networking sites

The strength of using an internal social networking site for change notifications is if you are unsure about the impact to an upcoming change, peruse the site to locate others located throughout your organization who might be affected by the change. This simple step can reduce the ripple effect of unexpected change, and, at the same time, strengthen your networking within your organization.

Live video streaming and podcast communities

We’ve been doing video streaming and podcasts for a long time, so how do we turn these into vehicles for change notifications? First, keep the video or podcast short, no more than 3-5 minutes, and present no more than five critical and significant changes. On the last slide, share your blog, micro-blog, and other social media locations so that people can follow up after the presentation. Create accounts and permissions for the site and once again, always make sure the social media community is safely behind your organization’s firewall.

Encourage your executives to implement secure intranet social media located behind your firewall to enhance engagement and awareness by employees regarding change notifications. By using the various types of social media mentioned above, you will not only better engage your team through effective communication; you will also find your job more rewarding and exciting.  

This was first published in June 2011

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