I came across a study (well, I have had this paper saved in my Things To Do list for a few weeks, and I am just getting to it now) on enterprise microblogging that reviews a series of case studies of companies that use enterprise social networks and the benefits they report.
According to Stocker, Richter, and Riemer (2012), who analyzed case studies at three large corporations, the benefits of enterprise microblogging include:
- improved problem-solving
- reduction of information over-load
- improved awareness of tasks and work coordination
The benefit I found most interesting is the reduction of information overload. This seems counterintuitive. It is difficult to believe that by adding a communication channel to people's workflow (in addition to email) there would be less information that people have to deal with.
However, as reported in one the the case studies in this paper, the microblogging functionality allows for streams of information to be posted to groups in the context of a specific team or project, rather than posted for everyone to see. This allowed project teams to see only information related to what they are work on (if they choose). It also increases awareness of team members of tasks that are being worked on and what progress is being made.
I find this study an important step in discovering a way of working outside of email and share drives that make actually help work teams to work more efficiently together, especially remotely.
The only problem I have is that these benefits are self-reported. In other words, people say that they see these benefits, when in reality they may only think they do. Where is the evidence that performance improved?
A direct relationship between working on an enterprise social network and actual job performance needs to be discovered before enterprise social networking becomes more prevalent.
But this study does show promise.
Stocker, A., Richter, A., & Riemer, K. (2012). A Review of Microblogging in the Enterprise. it-Information Technology, 54(5), 205-211.