Embracing new technology in the workplace

Last week I wrote a post about some criticism my department was getting online (on Twitter and blogs), whether I should do anything about it and where it might all be heading. Pretty much the next day it became apparent that I wasn’t the only one that had been watching things unfold and I wasn’t the only one reluctant to get involved. Word started to spread and soon more people – including those whose job it is to care – were drawn in.

Last I heard there had been an unoffical response to one topic (left in comments on a blog post), an official response, a possible policy review and some sort of ‘get together’ was being planned with the unhappy folks. Sure we’ll all be friends again in no time.

Makes me wonder what happens next though. Whilst I’m sure there were people moaning about us online before, blog posts are generally hard to find unless you are specifically looking for them. As more people get drawn into Twitter however, links to those posts are being passed around local networks much more freely and the larger audience is encouraging people to express their opinions more often and more vocally.

So what happens next? I see three options.

1. Ignore the opinions of our users floating around t’interwebnet unless they become loud enough for us to notice them.
2. Start actively hunting down any mention of us online and address issues before they grow too big.
3. Open up lines of communication so that they come to us!

Number 3 is obviously the easiest – and best from a customer service point of view – but will they do it? Will we be urged to start tweeting what we are up to like the government is urging it’s departments to do? For an IT department we are pretty slow at adopting new technology and haven’t even managed frequently updated blog style webpages or proper news feeds.

Personally I’d go for a nice forum. You can’t beat a nice forum. If it’s done properly you can get a good community going, easily find answers to common questions and generate active discussions without a 140 character limit.

It’s old tech but I still like it.

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