Social Networking seems to be an area in which there is a huge gap between what people are doing, and what their organisations would like them to be doing. Take a look at David Tebbutt's blog on the IT Director web site posted this morning - it's at
As we discovered at one of the sessions in APR, getting engaged is all very well - but it's the IT Dept that's the biggest inhibiter!

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Hi Alan, I think it's important to differentiate between public and private social networking. Unfortunately, most organisations assume social networking means Facebook - and are very often put off by this because of privacy issues and other similar conceens.. Pivate social networking, however, is a different matter, since it provides a dedicated, secure place for people within a large organisation not only to "network" but more than this, some large enterprise social networking platforms provide much more than just social networking functionality - but are often complete social media platforms that include a range of integrated social media tools like blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, RSS etc. and provide a place for collaborative working and learning - a really important area for businesses today. To ensure that organisations don't get the wrong idea with "social networking platforms" I usually refer to them as "social learning" platforms. I am going to be talking about this more in my presentation on Tuesday 27th - so hope interested learning professionals can get a taste of the potential for social learning platfom within their organisation
A great distinction to make; but I'm still concerned that IT Depts tend to be inhibiters rather than facilitators - whatever we call it!
That's true - and that's why some organisations I know are setting up networks - as well as using other social media tools "in the clouds" in order to bypass their IT departments!
Couldn't agree more. My own experience of trying to get web 2.0 tools installed & used within my own organisation has been dogged by IT blocking (even though this was behind the firewall!). However, they're not the only culprits. Our own Communications Team has colluded with this. Ironic eh?
I have the same troubles. I'm feeling very zen about it at the moment as i've been out of the office a few weeks, but I have a feeling when i'm back there monday, i'll be right back in the frustrating land of business cases that don't get read. I think there are issues with some IT departments deciding for themselves what the business wants or needs (based on their own priorities of security, confidentiality, stability) without being flexible. It doesn't appear to be a very succesful approach; for them or l&d
That's an important distinction that you make there Jane, and one that we need to keep making. It's something I'll be touching on in my session on Thursday too.

Although I've had a thing or two to say about IT teams in the past, I don't think we should tar them all with the same brush. Before I left the corporate life last year, I was working with our IT department to try and implement Sharepoint and all it's social networking tools. It was the HR department that stopped it.
I know that most L&D sit in HR, but do you know why they stopped it? Was it nievity on seeing social networking as time wasting? Were they struggling to see how to assess and monitor social networking tools? What was the obstacle?
In this case, both L&D and Internal Comms sat within HR. The IT guys and myself did a demo to the 'key stakeholders' - they were horrified at the thought of user generated content (even with moderation). They see their role as controlling communication, not facilitating it.

I spent five years attempting to get these kind of tools impemented. I tried everything from engaging them positively, to unauthorised implementations on external servers. Perhaps the failure is mine for not convincing them, but I ran out of options (before running out the door).
Thanks Barry. I wanted to understand the attitudes as I do not face them directly.

Sounds like the issue is not attitude, but insecurity and confidence in this case. Am I right? No leap of faith. Self centric obstructing their vision of what could be?
We're witnessing some sort of disconnect right here. The conference has a great line-up of presentations on social networked learning yet this very site has but 16 members, and most of the activity to-date is insiders preaching to the converted. This "participation inequality" makes me want to scream WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE but I guess that will have to wait for my presentations.
Agreed - if only we could get some of the inhibiters to the Conference!!!! But my point in publishing the blog is that there's some scepticism to be overcome. I believe one of the greatest quotes of all time comes from the Gartner site - the next big hit from the Internet will be on L&D - and, just like Marketing before them, by and large they won't get it!!
Are we surprised? Trying to engage sceptics of socially networked learning, via socially networked learning (voluntarily at least) seems to me to be bound to fail.

Instead of us preaching to the converted, perhaps we need to work out how we combine our energies to go out and evangelise to the unconverted (if I'm not stretching the analogy too far...). That means going to them, and using their communication channels.



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