Learning via microblogging in the Enterprise

Learning via microblogging in the EnterpriseIs learning at your organization stuck in traffic logjams in what was supposed to be your company's information superhighway? Want to kick it in to high gear? Fight the urge to join the endless email chains and conversation threads and cut right through the muck with microblogging!

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Microblogging is dramatically altering the way information is consumed. In essence, a microblog is a smaller version of a standard web blog. When we say smaller, we mean much smaller- you typically have 140-400 characters or less to get your point across quickly and succinctly. Microblog entries are labeled by the social network and its administrator, to reflect the information it is encouraging community members to share. You may have heard of them called “status updates”, “tweets”, or simply “messages”.

In an enterprise setting, a company might label microblog posts as “project updates”, “bright ideas”, “customer feedback”, or even “what would you improve around here?” in 140-400 characters or less, of course. Via these small messages, users can broadcast ideas, updates, images, and links to pre-recorded media like podcasts or videos. Furthermore, posts by users can be indexed by the use of hashtags (“#” symbols) so that they can be easily searched for in the future. One-to-many conversations can take place in real-time, regardless of geographic boundaries.

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The technology provides an informal collaborative environment that can streamline the flow of information for your organization, its partners and suppliers. Experimenting with this technology is relatively inexpensive, and there are several open-source platforms on the market that you should review carefully. Your goals and budget obviously play a large part in your selection process, but so should considerations such as how much customization your organization demands and whether or not your users will find a more bare bones feature set attractive.

Many organizations are crafting learning experiences using micro-blogging tools, and productivity gains have been documented by several organizations. The Harvard Buisiness Review has a nice chronicle of a few of these written by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd, two trailblazers in the implementation of social media tools to advance learning and development (L&D) objectives.

While much focus remains on the marketing and crisis management potential of microblogging technology, less has been written about its potential to teach and enable learning in the enterprise. Yet early adopters in several industries are finding success at invigorating learning at their organizations with this technology, and we feel its potential to transform how L&D initiatives are carried out hasn’t even been scratched. Treading carefully, it’s time for Human Resources to lead this charge!


Alex Santos
Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.