The mother of all networks

14 Aug

For those of you who’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that i’m conducting a social media experiment at work. I did a load of reserach before embarking on this. Some of this you’ll find in previous blogs on this site. Anyway, part of the experiment is for me to start blogging in the workplace as well as externally. And, I thought I’d share these internal blogs with you. Please note that we do already do a lot of social media stuff – this is all about taking it to the next stage.

So, this blog is all about launching my blog at work, and talks about getting feedback from employees on social media.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Well, the mother of all social networks that is – more on that in a bit.

So here I am in the Virgin Media blogosphere! I’ve been itching to give it a go for a while now -but with stiff competition from Stevie B, Neil B, Alex B, Ash, Howard, Elisa, Paul, Pete, Trevor, Dan, our fab BB bloggers and our latest entrant Andy, it’s been a bit daunting. I’ve got a bit of a complex that my surname doesn’t begin with B, but here goes…

Actually, I’d better introduce myself briefly and let you know why I wanted to blog…

About me: I look after the Internal Communications team at Virgin Media – previously did this at Virgin Mobile – before that Vodafone – and I won’t go back further as I can sense some clicking of back buttons! I’m a bit of a sports nut – a big Man Utd fan (07/08 champions x2!) – Formula 1 (Ferrari of course and definitely not Hamilton)…golf (wow, did you see The British Open?!) – and most other sports in fact. I work and live in London but spend lots of time in Hook. I do try and get to other sites but sadly I’ve been very rubbish lately (note to self, must do better!). I have a great team literally scattered across the country (Edinburgh, Sheffield, Manchester, Teesside, Birmingham, Trowbridge, London, Staverton and Hook) and I report into Ash who you’ll know from his blogging exploits over the past few months.

Why blog? Well, I suppose I should, shouldn’t I?! After all, I look after internal comms here at VM which includes getting the blogs up and running and maintained (well, can’t take all the credit here as our lovely folks in IT look after all the techy stuff). How can we get it right if we’re not doing it ourselves? Eating our own dog food if you like!

So, my blogs will be focussing on communication here at work, and for my first few postings, I’d like to draw you in to the wonderful world of Social Media – and how we could set up the mother of all social networks here at Virgin Media. So, what’s Social Media?

Well, our friend Wikipedia describes it as “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and building of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories, and understandings.”

Que?!! !!!

Put simply, it’s blogging, discussion forums, micro-blogging (aka twitter), web chats, wikis, RSS feeds, pod casting, video messaging, social networks (aka things like facebook) etc etc. It’s about having two-way conversations – sharing stuff whether it’s words, pictures or videos – and doing it in a way that best suits the audience. Most of us are using these methods in the outside world -so, why not bring it inside? Personally, I’m on facebook, I use twitter (, wikis, podcasts, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace and a load more. I use them all the time – and most of my mates do too.

Anyway, that’s why I’m blogging at VM. How do we go about getting the mother of all social networks at Virgin Media? I’d like to find out from you what you think we should do here at work. We’ve got a load of ideas up our sleeves and in the pipeline, but before committing to anything, I thought the only way forward was to get your feedback. After all, isn’t that what this is all about – having conversations about stuff, getting feedback, getting input and then acting on it.

So, my first blog question is…

What social media stuff would you like to see used at work and why?

I’d love to know your thoughts so reply to this blog if you’ve got a view. And, if you’d like to know more, I’ll be on the grill this Friday to talk more about this. AND…I’ll be joined by our two top blogbusters Stevie B and Alex B. It’ll kick off at 1pm and we’ll let you know the details nearer the time. And, by the way, please don’t assume all of this is for those with access to emails and intranet only, we’re also looking at tools we could use for our remote workers.

And here are some of the responses that I got…
How about a worky wiki; a repository for all things product, process and technical. There are plenty of disparate tools that already attempt to do this, such as How2, but the Wiki approach could really open up the internal dissemination of such information. You could even call it Viki!

Gareth already did a faults wiki but it got taken down for not being very microsoft! Shame, because it was excellent!

Signorelli.. That’s a pretty interesting surname. I have a friend who is called Abi as well. Welcome to the world of blogging, I must add though that you do have stiff competition but I am sure you are more than equal to the task. I am up for anything your team eventually come up with afterall my tiny opinion will not make any difference.;-) All the best…

abi, welcome to vm, The OpenGolf was in my hometown Royal Birkdale is the best Golf Course in the Uk By Far, you should play it one day. have a nice day. stu walker cmc manchester

How about a sort of facebook thing, where all people show photos of themselves.. all clean and tell there hobbies, leave each other comments (when not working) and describe themselves and hobbies. It would mean we have a more friendly connection with all our workmates. Looking forward to the social activities.

I was just about to say about an internal social networking site, but someone above has beaten me to it. Would be a good way of getting us to see who’s who at different branches in a more informal environment. Like Facebook displays your Friend list this could be translated to show your Team list (make sense). It’s much nicer to see what people look like rather than just know a name! Again social events could be posted as they are on facebook that you can add them to ‘my events’. For example, some of us from different sites (including my lucky self) will be working at the V-Festival together as Angels in a few weeks and we’ve set up a Facebook group so that we can all meet each other. It would have been nice to do this on an internal system with the official ‘Angel Managers’ having an input and feeding us info that way.

I think it would be nice to have something similar to facebook, on a much smaller internal scale. People would have their name and store/location/area on there, and could choose to upload some pictures – say 20max excluding a profile pic – details about themselves, a write on me wall where people could leave comments, private messaging, there could be ‘games’ the kind that improve your knowledge of our products & services, you could send people mobile ‘gifts’ like accessories or handsets, add people as friends etc… You could have competitions where you earm points and can win prizes. There could be a general home page, with the employee feature on them instead, there could be an advice page agony aunt/uncle and soooo much more. I think it would really improve the company as a whole for the following reasons: (1) we could get to know people in our area & company (2) we could leave them small messages instead of using the e-mail system which the company is trying to cut down (3) it could help build bridges between the ‘divide’ many still feel from the merger (4) it could have educational properties in business terms (5) Getting to know people helps build trust and understanding, so we could work better together (6) they could have mini-blogs – I think almost everyone has a funny story to share After all, isn’t the VIRGIN brand ment to be about fun as well? Work hard & play hard.

Can we have a Instant Message function. I used this all the time at my previous company and it was great to have quick conversation.

Comment from Abi Signorelli on 28 July 2008 17:22:59 BST Thanks to everyone who’s responded so far – really great to hear your thoughts. And…Blogg Reader…lots of tiny opinions make up a big fat opinion – so everything counts. All ideas/comments really welcome. So far, wikis (or rather Viki!), IM and a facebook thing are on the list to look at. Any more? Oh, and brilliant that some of you have requested to follow VMGrapevine. As it’s a ‘locked’ twitter (just need to make sure it’s for us employees only), I need to ‘accept’ you. So, if you’ve got a username that’s something like betsychoochoo or miggymoggy, can you pop me a quick email to so I can tell who you are and accept you. Back soon and keep those ideas/comments coming…

Great to see more girlies stepping up to the blogging challenge…. Go Abi!

I love instant messenger – really great for quick, snappy comms and passing on info quickly….

Do we have the provision to use rss readers? Is it possible to have Outlook configured to allow us to feed? The main reason for my query is to reduce the time spent ‘just looking’ to see if there is a new blog entry / comment.


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