Using social media to break open corporate communication

In my blog inside Intel I'm exploring some ideas for social media implementation, and would like to throw them out here to the IT Community for input. Our social media implementation is a bit patchwork at the moment, so I'm looking at ways to help fill it in. In this case, the idea is to open up our current method of corporate employee communication.

Currently, our intranet is a fairly static site. Most news and articles are just fixed web posts, and what I've been exploring is adding an open discussion area on the end of every article published on any intranet site. Then any reader who has something to ask or add on a topic can contribute. It may be a simple link to related material, or it may be detailed thoughts on the topic. There may be no comments for an FYI about a local road closure, or a lengthy exchange about some of our product strategies. If the topic draws out a reader who cares enough to add thoughts, the net result of those inputs creates material that is more valuable than the post alone. At worst it shows what people think of a topic, and at best there could be ideas, information, and discourse that adds a lot more than the original post.

The second piece of this change would be to allow employees to directly submit their own articles and material, similar to something you might see on or Digg. Those sites are very different, but together they enable every single employee to quickly share content they find valuable, and provide a mechanism for the best of that content to rise up for all to see. It's a staggering difference from the tops-down, management sanitized communication we get today. It leverages the incredible knowledge and brainpower already present across Intel, and starts building a valuable repository of information that no centralized, "tops down" organized project could accomplish.

Perhaps it gets to the heart of an ongoing debate about the role of IT - are we an enabler for existing technical demand, or do we have an obligation to stretch the rest of the company in new behavorial directions around technology? I'm a believer in the latter, but it's far from a settled issue.

Do any of you allow that sort of deep participation in all levels of employee communications? Is your company even one that would allow it? As I work this issue internally, I'd really like to hear how others address it.