PRL Blog 614.2 7- Internal Communications

Hello All!

This week in advanced writing we discussed internal communications and how it can be used to benefit an organization. We have been asked this week to look at internal communication tools such as Yammer, Digsby, Skype and any others we may know to discuss how these tools will help facilitate internal communications and how it may hinder those messages as well.

Yammer

– Unfortunately in order to look at Yammer you need to sign up for it. Syr.edu has a network within this site, so I was happy to see that. I immediately know Yammer ripped its layout from Facebook. It is almost completely identical to the color scheme and layout that Facebook currently has, though your newsfeed is your profile as well. There is no opportunity to upload photos, but I believe that is what makes it look more professional. I could see this being useful. If compared to Facebook, again, it is almost exactly the same, but is specifically used for employees to be active and share information with their co-workers in an extremely simple way. Links to videos and other pertinent information can be posted for all in a network to see and then it allows others to comment on or share the link with others as well.

The only major downside I see to Yammer, is if Facebook can be so addicting and take away hours of people’s time, why wouldn’t Yammer be able to do the same thing? An employee could spend hours looking through videos and links another provides on the syr.edu network, looking at other groups, discussion questions,etc. Though the information may be valuable it can also deter employees from completing daily tasks, since the website has that personal/laid back feel.

Yammer, to me, feels very much like a weak version of LinkedIn. You can pretty much do all the same things, but have a little bit more privacy as to who you can connect with. On Yammer any employee can follow whomever they wish and see everything that that particular employee is posting (granted most of it should be professional). I suppose Yammer then has similarities to Twitter, as anyone can follow anyone they would like. I feel on a web site like Yammer the information should be more private or centered specifically to the office one works in. On Twitter, the goal is to have message disseminated to as many people as possible, so having strangers in another state follow you is ok as long as they have the same interests or goals.

I give Yammer a B- because it is very similar to other websites, but can be focused on networks within offices.

Digsby

– Digsby isn’t available for Mac products, so it immediately is limiting itself to companies that only use PC’s. From the front page it is a service that provided instant messaging, email and social networking. This is absolutely nothing new, other than the fact that it is packaged all in one.

I like that it can combine your own personal “buddy lists” from Aim, Facebook, Yahoo and about ten different other sites into one, so you have it all at your fingertips. It also compiles all your emails and all social network sites as well. After reading, I have a slightly different perspective. Employees have so many different emails, social networking sites, etc., that they like to monitor on a daily basis. I would compare this as being a larger scaled version of Tweetdeck. When Tweetdeck first appeared, I couldn’t believe I could check my Twitter and my Facebook at the same time! This gives you the opportunity to look at everything all in one platform.

As I mentioned above with Yammer this could be distracting to daily tasks within an office, but on a much larger scale. If email, network sites, and friends are available the entire day, it gives more reasons to surf than to work. The concept could be extremely beneficial if organizations limit it to work emails, organization networking sites, and a “buddy list” of co-workers that one may need to reach during the day. If this were the case, it could be an extremely face-paced way to speak with those around you and monitor all information streaming onto networking sites for the organization.

I give Digsby a B+ because many of its features can improve communication between multiple platforms.

Skype

– Skype is a communication tool that I utilize for Hill-Communications and to keep in touch with friends or family for an extremely cheap price. If used computer-to-computer the service is completely free and provides you with audio and video capabilities to have a real time conversation with others. I have seen this used department-to-department and internationally as well. One thing Skype has become popular for is interviews. Rather than having to make someone travel, companies will give the option of a Skype interview allowing the candidate to interview from home or office anywhere across the US.

I feel the capabilities of Skype are much more beneficial for distance situations rather than internal communications. There are certainly multiple situations that it can be used for. In Public Relations Theory this week, we discussed an example of a brand that ended up in a crisis due to lack of communication between branches all over its Japanese offices. If Skype has been implemented as a resource, the branches would be able to speak with each other whenever needed.

Note: Telephones are capable of the same things, but I think the video aspect helps a lot in speaking with others.

I give Skype an A-. Of all the tools looked at so far, this one has the most promising capabilities for interoffice and department-t0-department discussions.

Second Life

– Second Life is an online program used my undergraduate community and for the speaking center I used to work at. The idea is that each person creates a virtual 3D version of themselves (to allow personality to show through) and through this avatar, individuals can meet in specific areas within the worlds and have meetings, teach lectures, etc. The speaking center used it specifically for appointments, as well as meetings between team members. It was extremely hard to find a time when every person could meet on campus, so we picked a time everyone was free (from wherever we all happened to be) and met in a college classroom setting with our supervisor for meetings. As the avatar you can speak, so having conversations could be audio or through a chat option.

I loved this platform because it didn’t matter how your representation of yourself dressed, it was possible for multiple groups of people to get together and chat about particular topics, give speeches, study, edit PowerPoints, etc. For younger generations, I felt this website gave students the opportunity to be more comfortable  (if speaking in front of others made them nervous), and allowed the to be themselves. It makes talking about “touchy” topics much more relaxed because you are looking at a virtual image of who you are speaking with. Debates went much more smoothly because of these new worlds. This may be the same in an office setting, along with presentations and longer meetings.

I am bias towards Second Life so I have to give it an A for the type of services it provides. It does limit sharing of videos other links, but school email was utilized for any of the information needing to be sent back and forth.

Once social media became a term that everyone understood, there has been a boom in the number of services programs and web sites can provide. Many are similar in ideas, but each has its own unique way of getting people in contact with others. Everyone has their own preferences about how interaction in offices and in one’s personal life should occur, so I’m not sure there will every be a consensus as to the best internal communication tools. If an organization finds one that works for them, that is the most important part. Finding an efficient way to connect all offices will prevent miscommunications and solidify for all employees who may need to get in contact as fast a possible.

I’m sure over the next decade more innovative ways of communicating will be invented and I hope to be a part of that experience.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

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