In fact, forward-thinking executives are leveraging the power of social networking to improve internal as well
as external communications. In San Francisco, Tomlinson and her team use Twitter to communicate with the city's
citizens, while Yammer, the enterprise social network recently purchased by
Microsoft, is used for employee communications.
"We utilize social media to communicate outages [and] maintenance windows and to update employees during our
day-to-day operations" -- all in real time, she says. (You can follow the San Francisco's tweets at @sfgov and Tomlinson's at @GGUP4.)
For Tomlinson, that strengthens both her own professional position and that of her organization by helping San
Francisco city workers leverage massive communication power -- without an unwieldy infrastructure that would
torpedo the IT budget. It also makes her and her team more responsive, since everyone can update one another (and
citizens) from wherever in the city problems are occurring.
- Little things matter: Comments and basic engagement with employees go a long way.
- Sharing humanizes you in the eyes of your staff.
- Smart engagement minimizes risks; avoidance does not.
Executive participation in internal social media is key, says Gartner's Mann: "One of the really big motivators
is if the CIO or even the CEO drops a comment on a blog. That shows that senior management is participating and
Internally, Harkins and his team use blogs and wikis to communicate with others at Intel. The constant
interaction between Harkins and his team ensures that he's always on top of what's going on -- and his team has
direct access to him, if need be. Externally, Harkins says, he uses popular social media websites (he declined to
specify which), reaching out to industry connections and work groups in his field. Social media strengthens his
organization, he says, by publicizing, both to the company and its customers, just how hard his team works to
Over at ADP, Mike Capone regularly writes for an internal blog that reaches more than 5,000 employees, giving
his thoughts on strategy, new ideas and company happenings. The top boss at ADP has adopted social media
communications too, he notes.