Over on the IT @ Intel blogs, I talked about whether Corporate Blogs Really Matter some time back. Several of you provided comments and questions, and I wanted to take a moment to answer a couple of them.
Michael commented: "I like reading about what you are thinking about, and how you are making a difference in the lives of Intel staff."
On this topic, I did a two-part post on what we were doing to build a technical community within IT. You can check out these posts at the following links: Building a Community Within IT, and Lets Jam. Those posts are pretty extensive, and talk specifically about how we're making a difference in the lives of IT employees, so I won't repeat that here.
Yvan commented: "I would like to hear some of the management problems you encounter when doing your job."
tHere's a specific one that has been a challenge - Many of the employees who post here on the IT @ Intel blog are not directly part of the IT @ Intel program, and therefore don't have social media/networking as part of their job description. That means we have our normal jobs but also participate in this stuff on the side. Making the time for posting and commenting is one thing, but being recognized for it is the bigger challenge. How do you make sure that your manager sees your blog as strategic for Intel and not a waste of time that takes you away from your job?
tI've personally been very lucky that part of my job is focused on community development (you can read about that on the links above). On my annual performance review I have an entire section of accomplishments that are directly related to work I've done in support of social media. My manager didn't ask me to put it on my review, I did it because I felt that it was important - but I still had to educate him about it and the value it provides to the company.
tSometimes middle and senior management just don't "get it". Unless they themselves are participating in the community they don't necessarily see the value it brings. To them it's just a diversion from what employees are actually paid to do. But what if the company saw it as a strategic advantage vs. a perk or side effort? What if the entire company, every employee all the way up to the CEO, was actively involved in being a spokesperson for the company?
Paul O., our CEO, is a blogger on our internal systems. It's not a weekly or monthly thing, but he does it, and it's something that employees appreciate and look forward to. Our CIO recently kicked off his first blog as an attempt to change the way he communicates to IT. It's been a huge success already. As soon as we start to see blogging as another form of communication like using the telephone, sending an instant message, or walking down the hall and speaking to a group of people, then it doesn't become a diversion/distraction, it becomes part of your life/job.
tPersonally, I hate talking on the phone - I'd much rather have someone communicate to me via an email, a blog post, or a face to face conversation.
The way that we communicate as people is changing - blogging is one of those new ways. Making the switch from tapes to CD's was a big change; rotary to touch tone changed the way we dialed; learning how to send a text message instead of calling someone was huge; what's the big deal with blogs and forums??
It takes time to educate management on the value of social media, and it takes time for them to formally recognize it and make the time for it. But if you can get there, and you can start to use social media as a strategic advantage for your company, then you've got it made. It just takes the time to sit down with your boss and say - "Here's how my participation in this activity is adding to Intel's bottom line. And here's how it helps me do my job better." Speak their language, and the change will happen.
Keep the questions coming - let us know what you want to hear about as it relates to IT @ Intel.