James Royal-Lawson


Tweets from IntraTeam Event Stockholm 2010

On October 5th and 6th 2010 IntraTeam held their first intranet conference in Stockholm. It was a great event and the most international intranet conference held so far in Sweden.

Day one featured Presentations in English, day two in Swedish – but almost all of the tweets from both days were in English, which was wonderfully considerate of those attending.

The Speakers

The two-day line-up featured:

  • James Robertson, StepTwo Designs
  • Rossen Roussev, former Shell Enterprise Portal Manager
  • Martin White, IntranetFocus Ltd.
  • Mark Morrell, Intranet Manager, BT (British Telecom)
  • Michael Sampson, Collaboration Strategist
  • Webrådgivare Fredrik Wackå
  • Christian Skjæran, Intranet Manager, Corporate Communications, Chr. Hansen A/S
  • Ingo Johansson, Web Consultant, Global IT Development, NNE Pharmaplan
  • Gabriel Olsson, Head of Corporate e-Comms, Tetra Pak
  • Damra Muminovic, Sogeti

The Tweets

Here, collected together in one document published on Scribd, are all 325 tweets by 101 people from the morning of the 5th of October until Sunday the 10th. There were a number of post-conference blog posts and articles, so I included the 4 days after the conference.

The Summary

In one of my last tweets from the 5th, I summarised the first day of the conference with these few words: task-based, people focused & mobile.

We’re taught in school NOT to collaborate. It’s called cheating.

Michael Sampson, @collabguy, at IntraEvent Stockholm 2010.
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What is Employee Generated Content?

Here is my definition of Employee Generated Content, as well as brief explanation of how it differs from user generated content (UGC) and social content (social media).

What is it?

Employee Generated Content (EGC) is a variant of User Generated Content (UGC). Both refer to material produced by the users (or employees) of a website (or intranet), but the main defining difference is that EGC is created, published and accessible within the walls of the company. It is intranet content that stays within the corporate firewall.

Formal content and EGC

Types of intranet content can be largely divided into two main groups: Formal content and employee generated content.

Formal content is the controlled, corporate content, that is produced and published by following an established process. It’s what we know of as “the traditional intranet”. It can be trusted, it’s authoritative, and (should be) fully up to date.

One-man band

Employee Generated Content is intranet content that is created, edited and published directly by the employee themselves. There will be guidelines, and other governance mechanisms, but the process is self-contained. It’s a one-man band.

EGC is not (necessarily) professionally produced or edited. It may not be authoritative , and could represent personal thoughts and opinions. The trustworthiness of EGC is based on the reputation of the content creator within the organisation rather than where the content is published.

Social content

Social (intranet) content is a sub-set of employee generated content, but not the other way round. Not all EGC is social. For example, an intranet blog post on your (personal) intranet blog is EGC, but the comments colleagues write in response to your post are both employee generated and social.

Further reading:

Creative accounting – Guardian article giving a number of concrete examples of employee generated content within major organisations.

Communities of Practice: Optimizing Internal Knowledge Sharing – Detailed UX Matters article about intranet collaboration.

Microblogging and bullying in the work-place

The concept of choosing to follow someone is very familiar to those of us active on twitter. As is the concept of not following someone.

In small organisations, my experience has shown that normally everyone would follow everyone. This is largely because small organisations are likely to be cohesive as a team, especially at the smaller end of the scale.

In large organisations (over 250 employees), my experience has shown that it is accepted and understood that you don’t follow everyone. Why would you? Following 20,000 people would ruin your micro-blogging experience (or at the very least force you into needing some kind of Tweetdeck-like application to filter and sort it all!)

In medium sized organisations (50-250 employees), I’d generally expect employees to follow everyone in their team, or department, and then a sprinkling of other colleagues from a range of other teams and functions – plus senior management.

Cultural shift

We all know (or should know) that the move to a social intranet involves a cultural shift in how an organisation works. A social intranet is not achieved by the availability of a particular tool. The cultural changes required will be unique from organisation to organisation, and some will be more ready than others to adopt the way or working that a social intranet enables.


One particular aspect of that cultural shift I hadn’t considered is that of exclusion. Deliberately avoiding certain collegues on your social intranet. Groups of employees deliberately freezing out other employees by not following them.

Now it’s easy to initially react in the classic control manner. Let’s ban Facebook! Let’s ban Yammer! That, I’m afraid to say, is not a solution. The problem isn’t Yammer and it’s ability to let you choose who you follow and unfollow. The problem is that a culture of exclusion and bullying behaviour exists within the organisation.

Address the issue, not ban the tool

Your focus needs to be on how to address that issue internally, not how to “fix” Yammer (or whichever tool your organisation uses). A “solution” such as forcing everyone to follow everyone else is impractical and not really a solution. It will drive down adoption, reduce the business gain from microblogging, and almost certainly force the bullying that exist in your organisation into another forum.

Microblogging needs to be open (a “company wide” feed, available to all) to make people feel included (even if they aren’t active within the microblogging tool). It also needs to be searchable (to allow employees to utilise the digital assets stored in the status updates and shared links). It doesn’t need to be forced (follow everyone) or banned (driving the conversation elsewhere).

What problems have you encountered with rolling out social features on your intranet?

6 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 34, 2010)

The business case for social intranets

To quote Oscar: “Most people will come to understand that a social intranet is not just about adding features such as blogs, wikis, activity feeds & micro-blogging on top of a traditional intranet; it’s about rethinking the purpose of intranets with the intention of bringing the paradigm shift in how we communicate & collaborate that is taking place on the web to the very core of how enterprises are operated & managed.”

Enterprise Microlearning

The significance of enterprise microblogging (or “microlearning”). Not only does it state the importance of status updates in the workplace, but also gives a number of practical examples of their use.

Does news add any value to an intranet?

Time after time when we look at intranet stats and surveys we see the evidence that employees just aren’t that interested in news articles – they want things (especially on the start page) that help them get their jobs done.

User behavior in SERPs. Eye tracking study July 2010

This translation of a Spanish eye tracking study shows how people’s intentions (they tasks they are trying to complete) affect their behaviour when viewing search engine result pages.

Santa Barbara Zoo launches smartphone technology

Using QR codes is a cost-effective and straight-forward way to improve visitor interaction at zoos and museums. Hunt down relevant content (perhaps it’s already on your site?) and print some new signs plus some guides for visitors explaining how to scan the codes.

Halfords: mobile site review

Lots of things here that Halfords could improve and tweak. Interesting to see the start of a trend for “collect in store” (rather than “buy via mobile”). It’s a mistake though to prevent mobile users from accessing the regular “desktop” site.

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