Image of a lamp that looks like a network with nodes

Source: Seth Tisue on Flickr

WOL Week continues! Yesterday we introduced the whats and whys of working out loud. Today we have the first of our activities aimed at guiding you in working out loud with intent within your organisation.

The task

1. List three keywords that represent your area of expertise.

Add these to your profile on social channels, both internal and external. These channels may include Yammer, Jive, Office 365, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

2. Search and connect with others who have similar areas of expertise.

An important feature of social platforms is the ability to search by keywords. Type one of your areas of expertise into the search bar, and use filters where available to narrow your search to ‘People’. When you find others who share your area of expertise, consider connecting with them. Rather than simply clicking the ‘Friend’ or ‘Follow’ button, why not add a short message that explains why you want to connect? For example, you might state what you expertise you have in common, and that you’d like to discuss and exchange views on this expertise to then share these insights back to your workplace.

Expertise location: A fundamental element in a social network

One of the earliest business cases for enterprise social networks evolved out of the need to connect people within organisations and across geographically dispersed locations. There was an acknowledgement that company directories in traditional intranets did not provide adequate detail to determine who had expertise within fields of practise. As the social intranets and social networking platforms have evolved, the connection with others based on areas of expertise and topics of interest have informed how algorithms identify “people like you” and make recommendations for connections.

Your personal profile in a social network is a fundamental element that creates your identity and the basis for developing your network. WOL week is a great time to review and update your profile – does it reflect who you are? One of the greatest oversights we notice is the number of people who don’t use a profile picture and leave the default network image. In the context of your workplace social network, ask yourself – would you want to to connect and share knowledge and experiences with a grey ghost or silhouette? We often hear from people that they would not. Others tell us that they see the lack of a profile picture as laziness, i.e. that someone can’t be bothered to upload a picture, or even as someone who wants to hide from others. Think carefully about your choice of photo and what message it is sending your colleagues.

The second element critical to the ability to build professional connections with others is your area of expertise, your skills, and your knowledge or topics of interest. When we make connections in face-to-face environments we typically have a short banter about these things – what do you do; where do you work; etc. When we connect with people online, we look at their profiles but we also look at their connections – who do we know, that they also know? What do we have in common?

If your profile isn’t up to date, how will you create your online identity? Why will people connect with you? Before you start a conversation, take a moment to review and update your profile.

Today we have looked at expertise location in the context of identity and online networks, and undertaken our first WOL with intent activity. Join us tomorrow for activity 2, and in the meantime remember you can join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #WOLweek.


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