Being social – first stop, Twitter!

5 Apr

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try {var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-4669406-2”);pageTracker._trackPageview();} catch(err) {}In one of my early blogs last August (the mother of all networks), I talked about us getting into the wonderful world of social media in the workplace. 7 months on and several blogs later, I thought I’d give you a peek on where we’ve got to on this.

Firstly, what the ‘eck is social media?
We all talk about social media all the time – but it’s worth recapping…As a quick reminder, our friend Wikipedia describes it as “primarily internet and mobile based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and 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 experiences.”
Confused (.com)??
Put simply, it’s blogging, discussion forums, micro-blogging (like twitter), web chats, wikis, RSS feeds, pod casting, video messaging, social networks (like facebook) and many many more. 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 doing this outside of work – so, why not bring it inside?
Getting social

I’ve had so many chats with so many people… with so many ideas. I’ve been having meetings with key people across the business on getting this moving. I had a chat with Neil Berkett, our CEO, the other day, and he’s up for it – and, I’ve been talking to some lovely folks in IT who are seeing how they can help.
Virgin Media’s vision is about being “the simple choice in a complex digital world – giving people total freedom and choice, enabling them to talk, watch, listen, work and play, whenever, wherever”. Well, if this is what we’re doing for our customers – why wouldn’t we do this for our people?! We simply have to don’t we?
Very roughly, here are some key things about what Getting Social will mean:

  • Connecting and learning about each other through personal and professional sharing
  • Enabling us to communicate, innovate, collaborate, participate, learn, contribute – with openness and transparency – faster!
  • Unlocking the knowledge of our people, making it faster and easier to find experts and bring together diverse teams around a common point of interest
  • Using the internet to create highly interactive networks of individuals who want to stay connected in a very rich environment
  • Faster resolution of customer issues through a fully connected and networked community
    Extension of the power to reach our customers

We’re developing this over time rather than one big bang launch. So, I’ll keep you posted as new things happen.

And, my first stop is Twitter …
Twitter (micro-blogging)

Well, unless you’ve been hibernating over the past few months, you must by now have at least heard of twitter. Apart from me and a load of other VM Twits banging on about it all the time, it’s been THE news in social media land:

Jonathan Ross (@wossy) talked to Stephen Fry (@StephenFry) about it on his first show back from suspension (if you can, check it out on YouTube). Incidentally, @StephenFry is the 2nd most followed twit worldwide after Obama (@BarackObama) (more about Obama’s use of social media here)

The 1st pic of the plane crash-landing on the Hudson came from twitter (I blogged on this here)
Mainstream news, celebs and shows are all a twitter with things like…..Philip Schofield (
@Schofe) now has a laptop for his live show so he can tweet throughout; Chris Moyles (@CHRISDJMOYLES) tweets through his morning show on Radio 1; Will Carling (@willcarling) provides some fantastic commentary through each match in the 6 Nations; the One Show, Sky News, BBC News and a load of other shows have all done a feature on twitter; and there’ve been a host of fake celebs ‘outed’ by @wossy!
I could go on and on about the news stories on this – but I’ll spare you on that one. Try googling Twitter and you’ll see what I mean!
And, if you’re still not convinced about Twitter, then check out this blog from @davelee, an online journalist for the BBC I’m following on Twitter.
So, what have we been doing with Twitter internally?
I must apologise firstly about talking twenglish for the next few sentences…
We’ve now got a fantastic community of tweeple regularly tweeting and following our own employee account. It’s a locked twitter account, ie for Virgin Media twits only, that spreads the word about hot topics, events and top tips (or top twips!) on how to use Twitter. It’s bringing together a community of like-minded VM people – sharing ideas, helping each other out or simply bringing a bit of fun into people’s every day lives.
We’ve had some amazing connections and successes purely through our community on twitter – everything from sorting out someone’s problem on internal systmes, working across different teams to find answers to customer problems, to someone announcing that they’re going to be a dad!

To coincide with the Brit Awards, we also hosted our very own TwitAwards in February to celebrate the most dedicated of VM Twits.
And, we’re now hosting regular conference calls (TwitCons) and inviting all of our VM Twits so we can share progress while also hearing back from them on any ideas they have.
Over to you…
So, have any of you used Twitter for your employees? If so, would love to hear from you!

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