Where forum art thou?

8 Sep

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 research 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.

This blog is all about launching forums on our intranet. It explains what forums are, where they originated from, and how they can be used in the workplace.

A good old fashioned conversation…

As Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (that well known influential writer of the French Renaissance!!) once said…

There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees

In my view, spot on – how dull life would be without a good debate about hot topics?! Incidentally, our friend Michel also said “A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband”. Make of that what you will!

Where forum art thou?

Fear not, my fellow compatriots, thy willst forthwith, be part of thine own forum from whence thou shallt debate ‘til kingdom cometh.

So, for all of you that like a good debate, want to air your view, or simply get an answer to a question, then forums are for you. We’ll be launching a trial of our new Virgin Media forums next week – we’ll set up a few hot topics like broadband, on demand and social media. After that, the world is your oyster and you’ll be able to discuss whatever’s important to you. It will change and adapt depending on what you want to talk about. Watch out for a news story on Home next week that’ll explain how to register, the house rules and all the other bits you need to get you up and running.

So, what exactly is a forum?

According to our friend Wikipedia, back in the day, a forum was the public space in the middle of a Roman city. It had great social importance and was often the scene of a diverse range of activities, including political discussions, meetings, etc. The most famous Roman Forum was the central area around which the ancient Roman civilisation developed – the locals referred to it as the “Forum Magnum”. The forum served as a city square and the central hub where the people of Rome gathered for justice and faith. It was also the economic hub of the city and considered to be the centre of the Republic and Empire.

Also according to Wikipedia, an internet forum “is a web application for holding discussions and posting user-generated content. …forums are also commonly referred to as … newsgroups, message boards,…discussion groups…A sense of virtual community often develops around forums that have regular users..” (For the full wiki description, click here).

As you’ll all know, forums on the internet are rife and cover virtually every subject from Britney Spears to bird watching! There’s a whole host of forums set up talking about tv programmes, sporting events, news, entertainment and so on – I’m sure you’ve heard of our sometimes irritating little friend Digital Spy?!

And, on the outside, for our customers, we’ve started to set up our own forums. Check out our sports forum on our portal at http://www.virginmedia.com/sport/allforums/ where you can discuss scores, hear the latest rumours and check out the punditry from our sports fans.

And, if you’re an out and out muso and dying to hear all the latest goss on the V Festival this weekend, check out http://forums.virginmedia.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?nav=messages&webtag=vmmuvfestival.

So, why are we introducing them at work?

Well, I’m hoping this is a bit of a no brainer. But, just in case…

If you look at the wiki descriptions of the origins of forums and the internet versions we all use today, you’ll see some common themes. Creating a central hub for debate. A place where people go to discuss stuff. Creating a community. A public space at the heart of everything. Somewhere to go to air your view and be heard.
So, our forums are going to be all about just that. Just like we’ve done with comments on intranet news stories and blogs, you’ll get the opportunity to comment, feedback and hear about other people’s view. But this time, set up by you, talking about the things you want to talk about.

I’d love to know which topics you’ll be talking about on our forums so let me know by posting a comment.

Twitter and blogger – a beautiful relationship…

And, you may have noticed something extra in my blog today. Yep, that’s right, you can now see my twitter updates appearing on my blog page – just on the right hand side if you scroll down a bit. Over the next couple of days, we’ll be introducing this to all of our bloggers pages.

Now, I realise this won’t appeal to all the non-twitters out there, BUT, for those of you who want a mini update on what Stevie B’s up to, how Alex B feels about the cricket and what sort of meetings we’ve all been in, then this is the place to come.
And, fellow bloggers, if you’re not twittering – now’s the time to start!

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