Notes from Twitter and Microblogging – part 3. 10 April

Uses and risks of micro-blogging in organisations by Soureh Latif Shabgahi from Sheffield University

The research focused on SMEs as these may be more receptive to business improvement interventions. However, initial research found larger organisations as early adopters of enterprise micro-bloggers (EMB).

Found little research on EMB, especially in the UK. Research has tended to focus on communications and narrating work . From the literature:

  • Found EMB used in relationship development; discussions; sharing knowledge; recording; knowledge management and knowledge sharing; communication and awareness raising. Strong focus on communication as providing work-related updates that enhanced awareness of each other and hence increased sense of community. Also EMB stimulated discussions either using EMB or face-to-face.
  • Risks associated with EMB included risks associated with limit of 140 characters; difficulty of using the platform; security and privacy risks; time taken in learning about and using the tools; noise to value ratio including information overload. [Some risks could be seen as closer to resource costs?]

Looked at Yammer as a micro-blogging platform inside the firewall as well as Twitter

Research involved interviews, observation and questionnaires involving 20 SMEs in South Yorkshire.

Interviews cited positive aspects of EMB included: speed of thought; customer and employee communication; mobility and immediacy and being able to communicate at a large-scale. Interviews also identified risks including ease of upsetting/ offend someone either internally or externally (with reputational damage); fear around security as confidential information passed around via Yammer.

One interviewee had a more negative perspective on Twitter as an enterprise tool as, eg, private information had ended up in public domain, reputational damage eg, of poor spelling [??] and alienating older employees [??]

Future research to further develop the model of uses and risks of EMB to inform effective interventions and support for enterprises.

Q&A indicates lack of research on legal risks – although there is more research on legal risks of, eg, blogging.

Possible for extending the research to include less IT savvy organisations and how they may use EMB. Again, finding the breakdown of the dichotomy between private micro-blogging use and public micro-blogging and how that relates to the reputational risks for the company.


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