Facebook and internal communication. It is a combination that has never sat together comfortably, opening the door for the development of the flourishing enterprise social network industry.
But can forward-thinking firms actually utilise the world’s biggest social network to enhance communication with employees?
Dr Ana Adi, head of international development for the media school at Bournemouth University, challenges the preconception that Facebook is unsuitable for internal company communication – but acknowledges the challenges of using the platform.
She said: “Why would you switch to a platform like Yammer when you’ve already got a public platform?
“But you need to know how it works. For instance, if you just create a page and everybody posts there, it could be seen publicly. Also, you’d need to train employees to manoeuvre between ‘public’ and ‘closed’ posts.”
Privacy is a big issue when it comes to Facebook, particularly when the lines between private and professional life can become blurred. Even the meaning of privacy brings its own problems, differing across the globe.
Dr Adi, who will be one of the speaker at this year’s IoIC ‘Insight Seminar’ this Thursday (Nov 13), told InsideOut Magazine: “In Malaysia, the literal translation of privacy is ‘hiding something’, whereas if you go to Europe or North America people understand immediately why you might want a private space.
“In Asia they don’t have a problem posting things, they feel they have nothing to hide. In Europe and North America they say ‘This is my stuff, why would you be there?’
“These sort of issues need to be discussed before you introduce Facebook for employee communication.”
Dr Adi stressed the issue of information overload was also becoming more prominent in the workplace.
She added: “If you put information somewhere, whether it’s a noticeboard or the internet, people will see it. But unfortunately, more often than not, because there’s an overflow of information, people don’t view it.
“We need to rethink how we bring information to our colleagues. Why should they read and engage with the stuff we’re communicating?”
Read Dr Adi’s full interview with InsideOut Magazine here…