A hippie nerd's valuable lessons

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by Rik

A hippie nerd's valuable lessons

Plek recently attended The Next Web conference, where hippie nerd Ethan Zuckerman spoke about his disappointment with the unifying force of the Internet. We applied his words to internal social media.


Homophily and social media

Old fashioned nerd Zuckerman (of MIT Media Lab) is disappointed because social media were supposed to connect everyone to everyone, cultivate mutual understanding and contribute to world peace. In reality we only seem to like to mingle online with like-minded people. Zuckerman calls this homophily. Plek's very own Rik Mulder recently wrote an article on this for Frankwatching.


The consequences for internal social media

Social media companies like Facebook make good use of homophily to keep you on their platform as long as possible - so they can sell more ads. But the goal of internal social media is usually to connect employees from different departments in order for them to share knowledge. To achieve this goal, you have to fight the urge we seem to have to only connect with people we already know. Four tips:


1. Choose the right platform

Do you let employees go about their business in private WhatsApp groups or on Slack? This increases fragmentation. Conversely, on a company-wide platform like Plek you can actually stimulate new connections. However this will only work if the new platform is just as easy to use as the one employees were already using.

2. Activate!

Motivate employees to get involved on the new platform. Plek has automated onboarding and periodic emails to enable and increase activation.

3. Be an active community manager

Your role as communication advisor is constantly changing: from gatekeeper and web editor to community manager. You can actively encourage colleagues to make new connections. Plek has extensive usage statistics and tools for analysis to help you with this.

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4. Open up!

Consider involving partners, volunteers, freelancers and other stakeholders on your internal platform. This will give you new insights, and it will turn your organization into the main hub of your network. Heineken's Green Room, which was built on Plek, is a stellar example of 'opening up'.

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Want to know more?? Read Rik’s article on Frankwatching – or call him for some custom advice: +31 (0)20 774 0033.