The purpose of this article series is to educate project management practitioners about the use of social media in the project management profession.
Part I will cover the benefits from using social media, as well as recommended best practices.
Part II will cover the platforms to consider and the value of each social media tool for the project manager. See links to Part II articles at the end.
Social media is a reality, and its growth is destined to continue. The integration and adoption of social media into our personal and business lives is increasing. There is no indication that it is going to stop anytime soon. If you are not currently involved with social media, either personally or professionally, and you have no plans to do so, you may find that you quickly get left behind.
Why Social Media
Managing relationships to build trust is especially important for projects managers, because it is becoming increasingly common for project team members to be distributed geographically while working on projects.
This increase in virtual teams makes the communication process more challenging; therefore more difficult to establish strong relationships and bonds that lead to high levels of trust.
Communications delivered through social media are potentially a valuable resource for developing trust between project team members.
Source: Herbert Remidez: Journal about the explosion of social media – the emerging practice of companies using social media to support project management.
Benefits of Social Media
Social networks, both within and outside of companies, increase the value of collaboration by reducing the search and coordination costs of connecting parties who have related knowledge and interests. By developing and managing relevant formal social networks, organizations can facilitate communications that improve decision making and operations.
In a field like project management that depends on lessons learned and best practices to deliver repeatable results, the pool of resources you can tap into via social media is very powerful.
Best practices for Social Media
The best use of social media is to focus on building relationships. Make sure your team is in agreement with which social networking tools are to be used. You might want to document how the team should use the tools, when to use the tools, and what type of content should be contained, and not contained, in posts. There is a much stronger chance of the tools being used when everyone understand some fundamentals about them.
Privacy and security are valid concerns and must be taken into account when adopting social media into the workplace. You need processes and guidelines in place to ensure that social media is used responsibly and that care is taken when sharing information inside and outside of your team.
Social media is not a technology; it is culture, a culture created, supported and enabled by various technologies and applications that are constantly growing and changing. The true innovation is the cultural change that social media has bought about. People think, act, and communicate in a completely different way.
For example on Twitter, being able to discuss challenges with other project managers and hear from PMs in different sectors, provides an on-going roundtable that fosters continuous improvement.
Social media is an extraordinary opportunity to improve team collaboration at all levels. Social media is the way of the future. It will keep maturing, growing, and changing, but it is here to stay. Get on-board or be left behind!
Continue reading the series on the Practical Use for Social Media in Project Management:
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