Final Blogging Activity for INN346

This will be my final post for INN346. While I have learned quite a lot about Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0, and how these applications can be used to further business objectives, I have to say that finishing up the assessment for this semester will be a giant relief.

Social networks are definitely increasingly used to enhance collaboration both internally and externally within a business. They are a particularly effective way of connecting different groups of customers and users with sellers and partners and keeping them up-to-date with news, events, and any other business-related topics. They are also very effective at collecting information and organising it in a way that is visually and intellectually stimulating and simple to navigate.

Particularly relevant for Avenir Rural Mentoring is the research that has been done into using social networks for educational purposes. Students who have access to social networks and who use them to enhance their education benefit from collaborating with their peers and solving problems with digital technology that has become a stable part of society. Social networks also offer the added contrasts of instant feedback from peers and recorded experiences that help shape and focus like-minded social groups around a problem, which results in increasing their understanding.

It is our group’s belief that a diversity of opinions for Avenir Rural Mentoring can be developed through strategic planning and implemented through instructional design. Sharing information through commenting and responding to comments is one key way that Avenir Rural Mentoring can build on their online community and foster the relationships built within it and the learning that occurs as a result of it. Participants will also develop and further extend their digital and visual literacy skills and their web 2.0 knowledge, which will be key in any future occupation they may undertake.

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Final practicum

I have successfully negotiated my final week of work experience – this time with the QUT Caboolture academic library. I’m going to be working there on the first of November, where I’ll go to Kelvin Grove and participate in a professional meeting. I’ll then start my week on the fifth of november and go through to the tenth. It should be really interesting, and hopefully I learn loads.

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Corporate or Enterprise Wikis

Wikis are becoming an increasingly popular collaboration tool, with the most famous example being Wikipedia. They can be used for all sorts of purposes, from creating a place to store information for a particular fandom (such as the Supernatural Wiki and the Doctor Who wiki) to training staff in an organisation to use certain technology. They allow for collaborative authorship for editing and writing articles for submission that anyone with access to the wiki can read and edit. According to Mader (2012), the most common uses for wikis in companies include:

* Developer networks

* Managing software development

* Technical documentation

* Knowledge bases

* Intranets & extranets

Mader also states that “IBM, SAP, and Sony Ericsson all use wikis as part of their developer networks. Others, like Pixar, Carbon Five, and Red Ant use wikis for collaboration with clients and managing production on major projects”.

Avenir Rural Mentoring could potentially adopt a wiki into their framework, particularly for the collaborative authoring features it offers. This would mean that again, physical boundaries as well as cultural and linguistic would be meaningless as students and mentors alike could add content to the wiki and edit that content, no matter where they were or where their particularly strengths lie. This is particularly relevant given that one of Avenir Rural Mentoring’s main objectives is to create and maintain a strong online community.

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Avenir Rural Mentoring’s Blogging Strategy

 

Over the past few years, blogs have become a viable way of promoting a business and addressing new ideas. They are powerful branding tools which allow the user to connect with potential customers or consumers and gain feedback. This kind of blogging is useful for all different kinds of businesses, corporations and organisations. It is therefore important to have a few key questions that will shape your updates to your blog, so that you continue to maintain a healthy blog following. Such questions can include ‘what motivates my blog?’, ‘what are the challenges to what motivates it?’, ‘who is my audience?’, and ‘How can my blog help?’

 

From: ://avenirruralmentoring.com/

 

Avenir Rural Mentoring is a non-profit organisation focused on delivering opportunities to rural youth that they otherwise may not have encountered. Their aim is to increase literacy and aid in mental and physical health so that kids who live in rural areas have a support network that will help them throughout life.  So, what motivates Avenir Rural Mentoring is not financial gain, but rather the health and happiness of rural youth who haven’t got access to things urban kids may take for granted. Avenir Rural Mentoring faces many challenges, including opposition from the state government and in some areas, the local government, the community, and the students themselves, as well as digital access creating issues with some students not being able to access the services Avenir Rural Mentoring will provide. Their audience currently includes parents, teachers, principals, policy makers and education ministers within the state government, academics within the education field, and most importantly, the students themselves. Blogging creates a brand for Avenir Rural Mentoring that helps establish their authority within the rural education sector and allows the organisation to manage their content and to create and maintain an online community. It also allows them a place to advertise success stories they may have had, which will be vital in promoting their brand. A variety of tools and techniques can be used to promote this brand in various ways, such as Twitter, where a communal hashtag can be used so that dialogue can develop and a sense of community can be strengthened. Networking using LinkedIn and other professional social networks can also be incredibly helpful, in that alum can stay in touch with their mentors and old classmates, current students can keep in touch with mentors, other students and alum, and mentors, students and alum can make contact with professionals in their chosen field. A LinkedIn account can be added to a blog as a widget so that all students who have access to the blog can access Avenir Rural Mentoring’s account.

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Adoption of Social Tools by Enterprises

According to Bryer and Zavatarro (2011, p. 327), “social media are technologies that facilitate social interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberation across stakeholders. These technologies include blogs, wikis, media (audio, photo, video, text) sharing tools, networking platforms (including Facebook), and virtual worlds”. Given the increasingly digital nature of the world we live in, the adoption of social tools by organisations around the globe has been surprisingly patchy. Many believe this is because of a lack of scholarly research into the effects of the use of tools such as blogs in a corporate environment (Macnamara, 2011, p.4). No conversation about adopting Enterprise 2.0 however refrains from circling back to ROI, or Return On Investment; as Ethan Yarborough states, “champions of Enterprise 2.0 must be able to tell a compelling ROI story to their management before they can gain approval to move forward with their project”. The key to adopting Enterprise 2.0 tools successfully into your business is a matter of shaping the tools to the needs of your organisation.

One organisation that has done this successfully is Zappos. Zappos in an online retailer that sells shoes, clothing and accessories. They emphasise the creation of relationships with customers through Web 2.0 technology. Their Facebook page contains the catch-phrase “Let’s be in a Like-Like relationship,” which shows that they treat their potential fans as equals. They first ask customers to ‘like’ their Facebook page before asking them to sign up to their email list, which provides catalogues and updates of sales and events. Zappos also waits until someone has become a ‘fan’ of their page or ‘liked’ their page before allowing their content to become visible to that user. They also have added widgets on their custom welcome tab where a user can post about their products and the user’s comments will post to their profile. It makes the use of Zappos’s Facebook page ver user-friendly and interactive, and provides Zappo with instant feedback directly from the customer. It also serves to promote Zappos to new and potential customers.

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Moreton Bay Regional Libraries – Legal risks of social networking

Moreton Bay Regional Libraries is an organisation that involves a network of libraries across the Moreton Bay Regional Council. Currently, it contains some fourteen physical libraries and one mobile library and a collection of 600,000 different resources. Their mission statement is to  deliver innovative, sustainable library services that connect people by lifestyle, leisure and literacy. They provide information to all citizens of the region and a variety of different services, activities and workshops to people of all ages.

 

The library uses a variety of media to promote the events and services they provide to the public. Physically, the library uses leaflets, pamphlets and posters within the library itself as well as in newspapers and in other libraries to promote programs, workshops, and author talks to the public. Digitally, the library uses its Facebook page, as well as its website and the Moreton Bay Regional council website to keep its patrons and potential users apprised of new events and acquisitions. Recent reports have indicate that there is a very high customer participation in the majority of the programs it offers, and that 90% of customers have been satisfied with the programs that the library has offered.

 

As a part of the Moreton Bay Regional Council, the libraries are subject to all of the policies that apply to councils. The library has to follow and maintain the policies that the Moreton Bay Regional Council has in place, including those not specific to libraries. Policies that this particular library adheres to include a finance policy, service delivery policy (which touches on circulation, collection management, community libraries, disaster management, interlibrary loans, LOTE, meeting rooms, mobile library, online registrations, organisation membership, reports and volunteer management, and procedures), service development policy, systems policies, and collection development policies. Particularly relevant to this blog is their social media policy, which is extensive due to their large presence on Facebook, on their website, and on Twitter.

The Social Media Policy addresses  internal risks such as breach of copyright, defamation, breach of the Privacy Act, discrimination, risk to reputation, false statements and or misleading and deceptive conduct, and breach of continuous disclosure obligations in the case of listed public companies. It is imperative that staff make sure that the information they provide customers is accurate and fully represents the products and policies that represent the libraries. They also must make sure that the updates that staff make must be in line with what the libraries are hoping to achieve. In this specific case, updates and new acquisitions to the collection are advertised, new activities and events for children, teenagers, adults and seniors are added, and quite often library-related or book/author related posts are added to keep customers appraised of literary news.

 

Moreton Bay Regional Council specifically forbids its employees to speak about internal meetings or express opinions that differ from the company policy, and doing so can result in termination. They also reserve the right to police the comments that their patrons supply to their social media sites and remind users to be courteous, polite and refrain from insulting one another. It’s important to find a line between professional and adding a touch of personality to the posts, so that they don’t come across as cold or aren’t able to connect with users.Recently, Moreton Bay Regional Libraries advised customers of the death of Maeve Binchey’s death and this particular staff member expressed her own opinion about her love of Maeve’s books. Obviously there would be no issues with a post like this internally. However, staff would have to monitor the comments to this post to make sure that they remain sensitive and respectful.

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Benefits and risks of implementing Enterprise 2.0

There are, obviously, many risks along with the benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 into your company. Understanding the potential benefits and risks that are relevant to your particular organisation is, according to Ross Dawson (2009), critical to being able to engage in the cycle of value creation. These can vary substantially depending on what type of company it is and its structure. In order to combat this, initiatives must be designed that will draw out the greatest potential benefits and that will fully address the potential risks and concerns that may arise.

Key potential benefits from implementing Enterprise 2.0 include:

* productivity and efficiency

* staff management

* knowledge sharing

* enhanced reputation

Key potential risks from implementing Enterprise 2.0 include:

* security issues

* loss of control

* impact on reputation

* information reliablity

* productivity impact.

Obviously there are counterpoints and responses to each of these potential risks and concerns that will alleviate their impact on the company overall. Ross (2009) also makes a compelling argument as to the risks a company runs by not implementing Enterprise 2.0. Such risks include:

* unauthorised use of web tools which could lead to IT security risks and a lack of integration with existing systems

* fragmentation of information, where information is inaccessible by the rest of the company

* increasing difficulty in attracting and retaining talented staff

* reduced competitiveness.

Clearly the risks a company runs by not implementing Enterprise 2.0 into their daily operations are much higher than the potential risks they may face in adopting this technology.

According to Jacob Morgan (2010), VistaPrint is a company that chose to implement Enterprise 2.0 into their daily operations. An online supplier of printed and promotional material as well as marketing services, VistaPrint is one of the fastest growing printing companies in North America. As an online company, Enterprise 2.0 and the technologies and applications it encompasses play a vital role in the success of VistaPrint. They currently focus on two things: an enterprise wiki and an internal ideation platform powered by Inutit. Jacob Morgan (2010) believes it is important to note that VistaPrint, as a company that has always valued idea sharing, wasn’t looking looking for Enterprise 2.0 solutions. Their goal was to collect ideas from everyone in the company and to let them flow in a natural, non-bureaucratic way.  Web 2.0 just happened to be the solution for what they were looking for. The first step to this process was figuring out what they needed and then find the technology to support it.   three key requirements were identified as crucial to making this a success:

1.    A frictionless system that employees will want to adopt
2.    A robust tool that will solve real business problems and can be integrated into existing work processes
3.    A shift in company behavior to increase employee adoption.

The end result was Mediawiki, the same platform that runs Wikipedia and that allows for plug-ins which enable integration points into other platforms and tools. Given the structure of VistaPrint and its status as an online company, this kind of wiki was the best fit for the job and appears to have been very successful in providing its employees with a place to collaborate and share information and ideas.

The implementation of Mediawiki had two key impacts on the way that VistaPrint was operated. The first was the creation of a full-time innovation management position, which, Jacob Morgan (2010) believes, was “used to make employees aware of the successes that occurred as a result of collaborative idea sharing and to generate excitement around the ideation program”. Obviously the benefits of this new full time position will be that the reputation of VistaPrint in that particular sector will  be enhanced, and new talented individuals will be drawn towards the company. The creation of the wiki could have resulted in unreliable information, but with proper training and guidance, VistaPrint were able to avoid this problem.

The second was the creation of a creation of a knowledge management group. Basically it was designed to address various inputs, including people, process, training, and adoption, and to help keep VistaPrint’s Enterprise 2.0 moving in the right direction. Obviously the management of staff was one other benefit that VistaPrint enjoyed from their Enterprise 2.0 implementation. Their productivity and efficiency improved overall, and knowledge was shared amongst staff members. Of course, this ran the risk of impacting negatively on the product VistaPrint provides its customers, but with proper training and effective use of communication skills, this issue was also avoided.

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