I’m still a Twitter holdout, but Jessica Vascellaro’s WSJ column today claims Twitter Goes Mainstream. As noted in my previous post on microblogging more generally, Twitter allows you to post “tweets” (messages of 140 characters or less) that are read on-line or on your phone. I’ll let Jessica’s more informed perspective describe the possible work-related benefits of Twitter, but I did take note of the following:
Microblogging has yet to find an obvious enterprise sweetspot – but if there are formal classes going on it may be time to pay attention. Classes would help implementation by providing the basics of usage, and perhaps more importantly, the opportunity to brainstorm about uses that would help employees and the firm. I believe an evolutionary (versus intelligent design) approach is less likely to consider the integration of both organizational practices and technology tools. If a valuable mutation occurs, great. But classes with formal discussion of possible links to other enterprise systems, consideration of organizational policies or procedures that might be effectively adjusted, discussion of pain points that might be addressed, and organizational support, are more likely to result in a technology system that provides value. This intertwining of organizational and technological aspects is needed for Twitter or any other change introduction. Ideally the implementation becomes a negotiation with full consideration of the costs and benefits for involved stakeholders. Has your organization offered classes related to more "social" technologies such as Twitter or Facebook? Were the classes about how to use them for organizational benefit, or policy statements about inappropriate behaviors at work (remember when email wasn't accepted at work?) Were there opportunities to brainstorm about new uses?
To help employees get the hang of the service, Zappos has begun offering classes. They range from teaching basics like how to follow a friend's updates to "advanced" topics like using third-party services for fancier tasks, such as adding images to one's Twitter stream.