Last week I facilitated three workshops about how and why to implement social media in organizations. I was invited by the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) to this Metropolib conference because they were looking for a digital native who could sparkle interest among Heads of Libraries from several global development research institutes.
I can tell you enough about how I facilitated the workshops, because while the topic was about tools and technologies I did not use any of these. I even did not open a laptop. However, in this post I want to focus on the for me most important element from the workshop.
I focused on how we could become an indispensable networker by using social media tools. As a result, I did not explain the technological issues, but I explained more about the social issues of social media.
What are the social issues we need to think about when we become a part of a network? Nobody’s is sharing their information and knowledge because you are asking for it; it needs to happen on a voluntarily basis. In order to simultaneously share information and knowledge in a network you need to have trust within the network. How do you get this trust? Within my workshop I envisaged on tagging: tagging your messages, but also tagging your social media profiles. Tagging is important because all these bits/tags are being used to filter the information overload within the social media tools. Do you really think all of your 50, 100 or 200 followers on Twitter are reading your messages? Your followers already have a substantial information flow of Twitter messages when they follow 50 people, so how can your message get through to people who might be interested in it?
First of all, you should have a level of trust. Therefore, creating trust should be a compentence and a benevolence in an organization. However, having the trust in a network takes a long time, but losing the trust can be realized easily. Therefore, it is far more important to show people how they should become a part of a network (how to become the indispensable networker) rather than to tell them more about technologies and tools. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't focus on technology at all. In my eyes organizations should concentrate on tagging. By tagging your twitter account with, for example, your own picture, it becomes relatively easy for your followers to filter your messages out of the information overload. But they will only do this, when they trust YOU!