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Peter, the UK’s leading social media consultant, explains: Using social media technology to develop internal learning is the new rock and roll, as far as corporate advancement is concerned. If your brand wants to engage with its consumers properly, it is now pretty much accepted that it must first engage and enthuse its own employees. The way to do this is by empowering your workforce through knowledge – and the way to do that is to set up an internal social media group or page where employees may gather to crowd source the things they need to know.
To take the most obvious example of group learning and apply it to your own brand – Wikipedia is used by millions of people every day. It’s a collaborative effort that appears to enshrine a remarkable truth: people love to share their expertise so much, that they will do so for free and without lying. Yes, there are instances of false of fake pages on the site, but these are few and far between. In almost every case, the knowledge you get from this source is true to the best of everyone’s knowledge and belief. It fundamentally enhances the endeavour of anyone trying to get an understanding of a subject or enable themselves to work and think in a specific area with a solid grounding.
Creating internal wikis is an excellent way to promote learning and knowledge within your company. A wiki can be used for a variety of things – from blogging about currently important topics within your brand’s industry to storing resources for employees.
One of the biggest truths unveiled by the rise and use of wikis is that people will always take the trouble to learn provided they know where to look. The problem with learning at work historically is always that people were afraid to ask – when there’s a central wiki in place, they don’t need to. If everything any one could ever want to know about the operations of a brand and its company is in one place, then there’s no fear about looking stupid trying to find it. You go where you know you have to and you do the learning you know you need to.
Social media, of course, has unleashed another powerful learning agent into the workforce – the helpful expert. People aren’t just happy sharing their knowledge in predesigned chunks, as they would on a wiki entry. They’re also happy responding to discussions where their input would be very helpful.
In practice this can range from answering questions on a wiki forum, to becoming a sort of on call expert for a specific topic or knowledge area. In both cases, companies are benefitted by habits that people have been developing in their own social media use over the last five years. Facebook, for example, is full of people updating their statuses with questions and requests for help – which people who can, love to answer with genuine offers of assistance.
It’s all very heartening, really. At the heart of the social media learning experience is the extant knowledge of people just like us.