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Micro-blogging goes corporate

With the exponential growth of company-managed Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, and the swift adoption of social games such as FourSquare to draw customers into small coffee shops and boutiques, it is clear that social media has established itself as a valuable, cost-effective channel for raising brand awareness, managing reputation and attracting new customers.

But what about social media for employee communications?  With the exception of a handful of forward-thinkers such as Coca-Cola, Zappos and Ford Motor Company, most companies devote more time to drafting policies that prohibit Facebook access than exploring ways to improve collaboration and communication though social media.

That’s why a recent blog post, “Ten micro-blogging services you might have missed” caught my eye.  I’m always looking for new products that apply Twitter-like updates to internal communications processes.

I was very interested to read of a handful of new internal micro-blogging services designed specifically for teams and internal audiences.  Some that I found of particular interest are:

  • Joint Contact, developed as a project management tool to help teams share documents, images and team updates, manage workflows and tasks, and  encourage online discussions and problem-solving.
  • Trillr, a Facebook-like application that asks members, “What is on your mind?”  Like Facebook, Trillr offers options such as customized lists and group discussions.
  • Present.ly is another collaboration tool, with options for both large and small businesses.  As an added advantage, Present.ly resides within an organization’s firewall, so updates and information are kept secure from external users.
  • Ididwork is a tracking tool, which allows users to create to-do lists, log completed tasks and receive feedback from team members and project leads.
  • OraTweet was developed by Oracle as a way to help clients improve collaboration while reducing email traffic.  Like Present.ly, OraTweet resides inside the company firewall and allows for secure and private collaboration.

Information overload is a big concern for most internal communications professionals.  We spend our days attempting to stem the flood of unnecessary broadcast emails and petitioning the IT department to disable the “Reply All” function. 

Armed with one of the new social media services, we may be able to win a few of those battles after all.

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