One of my colleagues at the Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communicators (SV-IABC) just asked me about major collaboration trends.
She’ll be on a panel at our SV-IABC luncheon event at Michael’s at Shoreline in Mountain View, California, on Thursday, April 18. Here’s the website to register, or if it’s too late since it’s happening tomorrow, just pay at the door. http://sv.iabc.com/
I have so much to say on the topic that I decided to blog about it instead of just giving her a couple of quick comments.
Three trends have affected the way I collaborate in the work place in big ways.
They are industry collaboration, content marketing and the crazy fast rise of social networking.
1) Here’s some elaboration on the first one. When the recession hit a few short years ago, industry consolidation grew rapidly. The large New York based company I worked for acquired 100 companies in just about a decade. They were smart strategic acquisitions and today the company is doing quite well just based on the stock price alone.
I had a lot of new coworkers. Many of my PR projects involved working with the new company communications teams.
Because it wasn’t economical to continually fly to all the sites where these new coworkers were, our company started massively collaborating on-line. Instant messaging (IM) became the “norm,” meetings in Second Life became the norm for some groups and then a few years ago, the company standardized on an enterprise social collaboration tool, a sort of Facebook for the enterprise.
Management loved IM because you could better tell if someone was working or not. The challenge was that if you turned it off, for example to focus on writing a press release or to run a meeting, some people thought you were not working.
2) The second trend is the growth of content marketing. More and more, the communications siloes of internal communications, press relations, product marketing, advertising, and web communications have blurred. The company I worked for changed the press relations folks’ titles to “external relations.” We were charged with “finding” and driving news and trend stories that would publicize our key messages and back our growth strategies. These stories might be part of a sales pitch or become the lead news peg on the website. As you know, a nice Youtube customer use story can be used by any group want to demonstrate the value a company provides.
3) The third trend is the crazy fast rise of social networking, especially Facebook. I have spent the past 12 years mostly physically working alone from my home office, both at my last corporate job and while I consult for my new clients which are mostly software start-ups. However, I do feel like part of my work teams and collaborate in a higher quality manner because I know my faraway coworkers due to getting to know them through Facebook. The vast majority of Facebook friends are coworkers, former coworkers and business partner types.
Yes, I’d see them at a few of our annual events like industry conferences or events we’d hold for press and analysts so it wasn’t all on-line but the on-line connection certainly helped.
However, since LinkedIn has become so popular, I’ve mostly just connected with business associates on that site instead. For example, I’m connected with all of my software start-up clients and new business partners on LinkedIn but not on Facebook.
As a result, my number of FB friends has stayed consistent but my LinkedIn contacts list has grown dramatically. I’ll elaborate on that topic in another blog someday.
In any case, collaboration is a hot topic and some big happenings in recent history like the rise of social have definitely changed the way we do this task.
I hope to see my Silicon Valley communicator friends at the SV-IABC luncheon on April 18.