I’ve not written on this site for some time.  My general tardiness in this respect can be blamed on two things – getting to grips with a new job, and the discovery of Twittering!

Interestingly, the first problem led to the discovery of the second.  Allow me to explain.  When I first heard fellow bloggers talking about Twitter I freely admit that I didn’t know what the fuss was about.  I read all the posts about how wonderful it was, but just couldn’t see an application for it.  However, having my free time reduced by the new job I felt the need to find some way of expressing myself, getting in touch with like-minded people and generally networking.  Initially I was content with brief status updates on Facebook, but given the cross-over between personal information and work-based interests (and my general habit of keeping the two separate) I found that I wasn’t getting as much out of this method as I would like.  I considered LinkedIn, but I wanted something a little less formal and structured.

So, enter Twitter.  I signed up tentatively, but soon began to enjoy many of the things it had to offer.  I started out by finding friends, then bloggers that I follow regularly, and through this method also began to discover others with similar professional and personal interests.  I soon found myself drawn in, and now find it to be a great all-round solution for expressing myself, asking questions of a developing community, and even finding new people and resources.

All of this got me to thinking about the potential wider uses of Twitter (or general microblogging solutions), particularly within an organisation.  An organisation is a ready-built community of sorts, with multiple divisions and sub-layers – often along formal lines set out by organisational structures and teams.  However, traditional communication paths within an organisation don’t always allow for staff from one part of an organisation to get an insight into the work of those in another part.  What if that barrier were broken down, with everyone within a company able to see the issues that are excising colleagues, and with everyone able to contribute, suggest solutions and generally share knowledge and experiences – no matter where they were?  This is what Tweeting behind the firewall could provide.

I have read many posts and articles on Enterprise microblogging, and other Enterprise 2.0/social enterprise initiatives, and I know that this to some people will be old hat.  However, when examined closer the possibilities of such solutions for my own organisation would be endless, with multiple potential benefits.  The building of a collective knowledge base, selective following of “subject specialists” to help support best practice, improving communications between workers “on the ground” and support staff (particularly through mobile applications), marketing of internal resources to new audiences… I could go on.

Of course, my enthusiasm will have to be tempered by a bout of realism that will be injected once I formally propose this as a knowledge management/communications project.  No doubt there will be skeptics and people unwilling to participate, but the benefits in my opinion definitely outweigh potential negatives, and I shall definitely be putting forward the idea of enterprise microblogging services as part of an integrated programme of KM activities.  Watch this space!