Chris Heuer Workshop on Tagging

Chris did an exercise on tagging, in which he had us all put post-it notes on our badges regarding three things we like to do. Then we circulated and looked for people with common interests.

He showed a video on tagging by Technorati, and also the popular tags on the photo sharing site, Flickr.

He also shared his tags for socialmedia.

Chris says people are tagging for their own purposes, so they can find things more easily later. It’s not primarily an altruistic endeavor. By tagging they can have a URL reside in multiple folders instead of just one.

The added benefit of saving things in this way and making the tags available publicly is it helps others, too.

Hearing Chis talk gave me an idea for another course I need to add to the SMUG curriculum. That will be part of the Core Curriculum, and will be called Social Media 106: Intro to Tagging.

Until I can get that written (or until Chris writes it for me as a visiting professor), these notes from his session will at least give an intro to the intro to tagging.

Best Buy Using Social Media for Employee Engagement


Steve Bendt and Gary Koelling from Best Buy presented on their Blue Shirt Nation project. Gary blogged his script in advance.


I can’t add much to Gary’s detailed notes, except to say that this shows both the power of unleashing employee creativity, and how it can be done for almost no money. They got employees involved in a contest to promote the retirement campaign through videos uploaded to the site.

Out of 140,000 employees (almost all young), they had a 30 percent increase in people signing up for 401(k) accounts.

I’d like to be able to share the video that they showed, the winning video in the contest, but it’s not on YouTube (at least I couldn’t find it.) It’s only available on Blue Shirt Nation, and you can only get to that site if you are a Best Buy employee.
Maybe they will upload it or include it in an update on Gary’s blog.

Update: Thanks to Lana in the comments below for pointing to the video on YouTube:


They used Drupal to create this and spent about $100 initially to get the domain name. Drupal is open source.

Here’s a contrary view about the program.

Digital Signage and Corporate Social Media ROI


Chuck Gose from MediaTile, who formerly worked for Rolls Royce, presented on this topic that goes by many names: video signage, dynamic signage, video bulletin boards, etc. It’s intended particularly for reaching workers who may be on a factory floor and may not be at a computer screen during the day.

Hardware and software required includes LCDs or plasma screens, Integrated PC, set-top box or controller, and a physical or wireless network. The message and strategy should define deployment of this kind of system, not getting the cool technology and then figuring out how you’re going to populate it.

Key advantages include the ability to change the message on the fly, enhance the message with video and/or dynamic Flash, target the message to the right work areas, and grab employees’ attention.

In Indianapolis, Rolls Royce had two manufacturing facilities, a million square feet each. Digital signage was a way to start discussions on the shop floor, or what Chuck calls “social media in the social realm.” It can reach both the connected office workers and others who don’t have computer access.

Digital signage can increase “access” and can tease/drive traffic to your social media efforts. For example, an RSS feed of news stories from a company blog could automatically appear as a ticker on your digital signage. One thing Chuck is experimenting with is using a Twitter feed to populate the ticker. They also subscribe to RSS feeds from press releases and automatically feed it into the signage. That way the employees find out news at the same time as the outside world.

In summary, Chuck says digital signage:

  • Provides greater access to your social media program
  • Increases ROI by increasing visibility and offsetting printing and placement costs
  • Effectively communicates to employees while they are on the run
  • Delivers messages to often “unreachable” employees
  • Provides message flexibility.

I think using RSS feeds to populate content and having a “ticker” is one of the best ideas from Chuck’s presentation. It can keep the presentation  fresh automatically, and those same feeds can keep the intranet presentation timely, too.

Cisco Systems on Web 2.0 for Employee Communication


Maureen Kasper, Director of Corporate Communications for Cisco Systems, agrees that if communications professionals don’t become experts in social media, we will be obsolete.

As I’ve said previously, professional communicators failing to keep up with social media at least borders on malpractice.

She lives in the central coast of California, having moved south from Cisco’s San Jose office without telling anyone. This remote working has been made possible by social media and the real-life connections she made before the move. She says CEO John Chambers has been a communications champion.
Cisco Social Media Objectives: Encourage use of social media by giving access to the best tools, but protect both the corporation and individuals. They have done a major initiative on employee training.

Cisco has 20 officially sanctioned corporate blogs. Each is related to a corporate priority. Each unit/each employee looks to connect with the priorities relevant to their jobs.

She says the rules for social networking are the same as in the offline world, but just using the tools.

When commenting in a blog, be Transparent: State you are with Cisco, Use Cisco in your user name, use Cisco email, link to a Cisco website for reference (either your dept. page on or Tone should be conversational, thoughtful, thank for perspective, “perhaps you might consider” other fact that have not been as well represented. No corporate speak.

Maureen says: “If you want people to behave differently, take away the tools that let people interact the old way.”

They are developing an internal alternative to MySpace as a souped-up corporate directory called the Cisco Employee Connection directory. It will list personal skills and interests, expertise and other user-editable fields.

For example, she says Cisco IT doesn’t support Macintosh, but 1,000 of their employees use Macs. So they’ve formed an online user group to solve each others’ problems since they can’t count on official IT support. That’s the value of the Social Graph within Cisco.

Cisco also has Ciscopedia as a collaborative reference document and an internal portal they call Communications Center of Excellence (CCoE) that is available to anyone in the company. This is about “scaling the message” to 65,000 employees, because the communications leaders can’t be everywhere.

CCoE Content

  • Communications challenges, solutions, success stories
    • TEchnologies, process, behavior
  • Discussions throughout
  • News blog, Project Update blog
  • Roundtable Discussion show
  • One-Minute video overviews
  • Technology details
    • Education to Vision to Provisioning

Cisco did their first Virtual Company Meeting on Aug. 23, 2007 using Telepresence. You feel like you are in the same room with counterparts around the world. Here’s a cool example:


For Cisco, bandwidth is no object, so they use video mail and lots of leadership video on their intranet.

They also have discussion forums, the use of which depends on how much people care. The corporate strategy things don’t get much discussion, but the question of whether the green initiative meant taking away people’s water bottles had tens of thousands of discussants.

This was a very interesting presentation. I think one of her key points, as she mentioned above, is that you may need to “burn the ships” on some of the old communications technologies in order to drive adoption of the new. Otherwise, people will just settle back into familiar ruts.

Super Tuesday and Corporate Internal Communications

Sheryl Lewis from ROI Communications, one of the sponsors of today’s event, talked about how Web 2.0 has influenced the election. Barack Obama’s campaign has been particularly empowered by the grassroots democratization of media production. Sen. George Allen’s campaign was killed before it even started by the macaca incident on You Tube.

The application for internal communications in businesses, Sheryl says, is that the millions of people who have been part of the political campaign networking online and that had such an impact on Super Tuesday, are going to work this morning in our businesses. The technology that is changing politics needs to make its way behind the corporate firewall to enable these employees to network and connect as effectively on behalf of our businesses as they have in the political world.