Social Project Management Isn't Facebook or Twitter

I'm a big believer in applying the social media metaphor to the project management process, but I don't believe that implies that I suggest we incorporate Facebook or Twitter.

 

I believe the social collaboration that takes place within project teams needs to happen inside the firewall and should leverage social media practices within the team, but not where it might include individual team members' larger network of friends.

 

Over the weekend I read an interesting article citing a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey that suggests that the number of Facebook users de-friending people within their network is on the rise. Up to 63 percent in 2011 from 56 percent who responded to a similar survey in 2009.The study cites a number of reasons, reputation management being one of them.

 

Having become a de facto spokesperson for my company, I entered the social media landscape from a professional perspective and have since included a number of my friends and colleagues who have found me online. Some of whom have been great to interact with via Facebook, while others—not so great. Some I have had to de-friend because I want to maintain a public image that is consistent with those things that I value as important, and secondly, because I have two rules regarding my social media persona:I don't want to say or do anything that would embarrass the company that I work forI don't want to say or do anything that would embarrass my momI feel like those are pretty good rules for social engagement for me, you may have different rules (or maybe even none at all).

 

I work within the bounds of what feels comfortable for me.Although I am a firm believer in the social media metaphor as an incredibly powerful vehicle to encourage collaboration, I'm not comfortable with allowing that conversation to take place publicly via Facebook, Twitter, or whatever.

 

I prefer to leverage social tools within the project management software I use, enabling those social media-like conversations to take place among my network at work—my team.I imagine that there are some who would suggest that restricting the network or the context of the conversation defeats the purpose of a social media platform. It might. However

 

I'm convinced that the benefits of doing so positively impact the ability of the team to perform without the added distractions associated with traditional social media as exemplified by the Pew survey. That being said, I don't suggest we restrict social media use in general. In fact, there are a number of networking, learning and best practice sharing that takes place outside the firewall that I believe is critical to becoming better project leaders and team members. I just don't think that's the best place for conversations about the tasks and issues associated with current projects.I'd welcome the opportunity to hear what the rest of you have to think about this. Am I missing something?

 

—Ty Kiisel, www.attask.com

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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of CIOZone.com and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and About.com.

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