How many communication channels do we use to communicate with each other at CERN? Many! email, e-groups, CERN official website, CERN Bulletin, Service Status board, meetings, posters, CERN Market, and counting…
Each of them has its own audience, purpose, specificities and drawbacks. But none is perfect.
Think of your inbox: how many times did you think to yourself “Great, another reply all message..!”? On the other hand, how often have opportunities for constructive dialogue been missed just because people are hesitant to reply all? How can I receive specific conversations I’m interested in without being annoyed by others which are less relevant to me?
Email has become the de facto communication method in the organization because of its simplicity and ease to reach others. Because of that, it is sometimes overused and so we receive far too many messages. At the end of the day only a small portion of emails really need our attention.
Other communication channels are just not adapted to our needs. Some of them require a heavy publishing cycle or don’t provide the kind of features that we are used to today with social media platforms. At the same time, the multitude of information sources makes it difficult to follow them all and mostly, the options to filter information by topics are limited.
The emergence of social-networking platforms in the consumer space, and more recently in enterprises, has introduced new tools to simplify the way we follow and interact with information. Through this line we are introducing Social.cern.ch. As its name suggests, it is a social-networking platform like Facebook or Twitter but tailored for CERN people and for professional purposes. It aims to provide a single place to stay up-to-date about what’s happening at CERN, unlock opportunities to communicate with everyone and complement existing channels by delivering social media features.
Social is composed of two main parts: Newsfeed and Communities.
Newsfeed is accessible only to CERN people and it's a place where - in a similar way to Twitter - you can broadcast short messages to everyone. It can be an idea, comment, thought, link to an article or video, a picture, basically anything about any topic that is of interest for CERN community. You can add context and meaning to your posts using #hashtags or catch someone’s attention using @mention. For example this is an #opinion piece about #social written by @Bruno Silva de Sousa.
Remember that messages on Social Newsfeed are visible to everyone at CERN. As you can imagine, part of the information there is not of interest to you, so it’s up to you to decide what people or hashtags you follow. Simple, right?
On Social you can also set up your profile. You can add information about yourself, your photo, areas of expertise, past projects, etc. Having a rich profile will aid discovery of expertise within the organization, which can be useful for projects and can create opportunities.
Communities are a space to promote discussions around topics, with categories in a question-and-answer format. Unlike Newsfeed, Communities can, in some cases, be accessed by anybody, including those outside CERN, or can be restricted to groups of people. Two very good examples of Social Communities are the CERN Market and Language Tandem. Hashtags (#) and mentions (@) can also be used, so that posts with the ones you are following will be visible on your Newsfeed even if you have never heard about the community. There is one single place to follow all Social activity: the Newsfeed!
It is important that Social integrates well with our environment and is accessible from anywhere and any device. As such, we support all major web browsers, we have a Social app for iOS and Windows Phone and a dedicated web interface is under work for other mobile devices. Integration with existing CERN web sites is also available with blocks for SharePoint and Drupal for a seamless experience.
With Social, information sharing is made easy and can become a standard. It provides CERN people with a single place to get informed about the content they really care about. So... let’s get Social!
Here's a good place to start. CERN is asking people to share their images and comments about the organization's 60th anniversary celebrations. Join the discussion at #mycern60 on social.cern.ch.