Email and its effectiveness…

At work, we’re having another periodic set of valuable exhortations about email overload – and there are various good practice guidelines coming out.

Valuable, too. But I like the 10:1 email rules from Lars Ploughman

  • 9 people read the email
  • 8 people file the email (in their private folders, thereby duplicating effort)
  • 7 people are interrupted in their work or thoughts when the email arrives
  • 6 people will never be able to find the email again
  • 5 people didn’t actually need to know about the change
  • 4 people joining the project in the next phase wouldn’t have received the email
  • 3 people will be able to find the email again, should they need to
  • 2 people will check back to the email at a later date when they need the information
  • 1 of them will understand the email in context, be able to find it at a later date and action it

So, does that mean more wiki working; more proprietary software; or social networking.

Me? for a project? I’d go for wiki, with links to a controlled repository.

Facebook keeps on rolling…

Stowe Boyd, a key blogger on social networking inter alia is suggesting that corporate blogs may wind down in favour of Facebook Business pages?

Is he right? He’s actually experimenting

“So I think I will try an experiment. I will retire /Messengers — maybe permanently — and set up shop on Facebook. The existing content at /Messengers will be migrated to /Message, and some bits of it might be repurposed for the new page at Facebook for Stowe Boyd And The /Messengers. Go take a look.

… but I am interested to see if my biz presence fans out through fans. Fan me!”

I’m still working on how we could usefully interact with our customers on Facebook; looks likely some other folk will be thinking about that, too.

Some commenters think *less* companies are going to allow Facebook interaction.

I think they are wrong.

How do business users use Facebook?

I was glancing at the Facebook news (thanks, Google Alerts ) and saw an interesting piece on facereviews (looks at facebook applications) on how a senior product manager uses Facebook.

It was all about using the networking capability of Facebook itself (rather than the applications), and suggested a rather more positive view of Facebook than LinkedIn.

“Business users need to remember that business is all about people and your relationships with those people. Keeping connected to those people in your network is important for a multitude of reasons.

…talks about how she keeps in touch with her network of work, career and business connections worldwide… She keeps connected to her peers … via Facebook.

She shared why she prefers facebook to Linked In from a business perspective and how the Facebook experience is much richer and more personal with those business contacts. She also talks about how Facebook really makes communicating easy and much more personal than Linked In (too stark & regimented)”

I’m a moderately interested user of Facebook, and have a nascent network on LinkedIn. Currently, I’m certainly learning more and getting more interest from Facebook. I think I share Jennifer’s view.

I’m thinking more now about how a corporate entity can use Facebook to build relationships within the group – and with its customers. Now doubt I’ll post more later.

The death of Internal Comms?

In another interesting post, Richard at Inside Out  asks some interesting questions about how the future will change for Internal Comms professionals.

He highlights change into operational networks rather than managed communication hierarchies – in truth these changes are taking effect already, as harassed professionals use a variety of methods to prune their email overload –  some here – some  more  ruthless.

I use filtering in Outlook to move corporate briefings to another folder which I’ll read when I get chance to, in an airport/station, when I’m grabbing a coffee.Some colleagues filter out *anything* that is cc’d to them. Basically, they are making a choice to try and tone down the CYA emails.

How do you make me read your message? Well, in truth, you can’t. You have to make me want to know what’s important, and good internal communicators know this. Make it easy for me to get the message when I want it; make it snappy to read; keep the format consistent. Then I might read it.

Sending a weekly dirge of “What’s happening in MegaCorp, Blue Widgets Division”, will just get your message canned. Sending a series of links *may* be better, as at least you won’t be quite so hated, but probably won’t get your message across better.

As Richard points out, communication is being done through a variety of means: blogs, recommendations,  social networking, like Facebook (where this blog is publicised  and my other ShaiDorsai blog is imported to)

“A world in which the information consumer controls what they consume from a menu of feeds – basing that choice on the reputation of the source, recommendations from colleagues and serendipitous discovery through social networks. Interactions are almost exclusively real-time and informal in nature.”

I reckon he’s right; some communicators are naturally gifted and can manage their messages intuitively, and have the focus and time management to do this themselves.

Many who need to communicate won’t have the ability or the time to manage the new media… and Richard and his ilk can continue to earn their money.

Now, how he communicates this message to the senior executives is crucial… I wait with interest to find his next steps…

Is Facebook a symptom or a cure?

In a thoughtful post at Inside Out Richard asked if

“‘… there seems only one cause behind all forms of misery: bigness’ (i.e. as the organisations around us get bigger, we feel smaller, alienated, lose autonomy and control and become institutionalised – we become, ‘… dominated by gigantic, impersonal, bureaucratic, standardised entities’).

I wonder whether the phenomenal popularity of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are another manifestation of this malaise, or part of the solution?”

I’m firmly of the view that Facebook is part of the solution. It allows groupings to form outside the normal hierarchical or organisational boundaries, and lets people learn from each other – and perhaps more importantly from each others contacts very easily.

I can follow Inside Out easily from Facebook, along with multiple other aspects; yes, I know *I* could use an RSS feed, but Facebook is somehow both easier and more welcoming.

Although, as was pointed out to me quite firmly by another colleague, providing links to Facebook content without considering that not everyone is a member and “with time to waste” could be considered rude.

So far?I think it has the potential to be a cure.

Another time, another place?

Another time, another place – not just a saying, it’s also a film made near my home.
Well, another place to blog anyway.

Why? because it links into Facebook, and this might make it easier than my current way of importing my existing external WP blog into Facebook as notes.

I’m beginning to build connections and understanding through Facebook and getting a glimmer of how it can be useful, as I see connections building between friends and colleagues.