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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Interesting discussion as I recently took over responsibility for one of our 'blockers' our communications department and although I questioned it at the time, having responsibility for learning and communications works very well. Many of the communications tools are perfect platforms for learning so I am working on intranet/social media projects with an L&D hat and a Communications hat. You do need excellent relations with ICT though and to understand some of the barriers 'historical and real' that they face. I actually brought along our Head of ICT to the Learning Technologies Conference and we are now collaborating on our ideas for a facebook style site, he found it thought provoking. I think the Learning Tech people should offer a discount for ICT Managers attending with L&D people.
Hi as one of the 16 but not yet 100% converted by the concept of social media having integral role in training - more in communicating and sharing. Guess I am currently at 70% and rising - I really appreciate being able to use this site - great idea and bringing me along just fine. I see (or should I say saw) social media as enhanced communications tool - knowledge sharing etc. Starting to see that group learning brings understanding to a higher level than an individual struggling on their own. Plus the benefit of just in time - not needing to wait until conference to debate this is great.
Isn't it great when practice is better than theory! In 99.9% of cases it's the reverse!!
I'm waking up and smelling the coffee! I really enjoyed both your sessions that I attended yesterday and today. In fact you inspired me to locate your site for a further look once I got home last night and for me to join twitter and sign up for a blog, although not added anything to the blog yet.

I'll be a slow starter on contributing preferring to listen (or in this case browse and read), but that's just me! I will get there and in the meantime I can gain so much I'm sure from reading the posts that are around.

Thanks for inspiring me to take the next step forward
Almost all the major issues are out on this thread - distinction between public/private, IT as blockers, Hr as blockers, time wasting fear, confidentiality fear etc.

My own view is that:

1. HR, although supposed to be people people, are largely technophobic and can only see the word 'social' in a real world context. They are also woefully ignorant of the legal issues in this area and don't seem interested in finding out.
2. IT people confuse security, with issues they know little about namelt the legal issues surrounding confidentiality, harrassment and libel (HR issues). In fact a normalised policy on use sorts this out. IT is still largely stuck in the old top-down, client-server model.
3. Work relevant social networing takes place largely outside of work through Facebook, Twitter etc used by people at home. This is fine.
For most IT depts, it's a perception of 'social not-working'. And, even though an IT man has been sharing my bed for the past 20 years plus, I have to say that it was a mistake to allow the IT departments to have the march on technical knowledge. It's comparable to being completely ignorant about matters mechanical when you take your car in. You're totally reliant on the mechanic and what he tells you. Because I grew up knowing what went on under the bonnet of a car, I was sometimes able to make running repairs that were considered impossible. We need to be like that, here.

The IT departments now sit in a position of power. Because senior management seldom understand what they're talking about, they can simply cite all sorts of reasons why something shouldn't be done and it won't be done. Up to now, we have not known enough to challenge that. As a consequence, they have moved from being a service department of enablers and empowerers, and have become the gatekeepers.

As I said at last year's L&SG meeting in April "Who died and left them in charge, anyway?" I was, of course, mostly tongue in cheek, but I think the real answer is 'we did'. As George said in his keynote: "we have acquiesced!"

We need to upskill and do our homework, so that we can tackle the objections they raise, and address their concerns. We need to get back into a position where we say we need X, Y and Z and the IT people make it happen, rather than telling us it can't be done and that being the end of that.

With regard to the senior management team, we need to stop using the terminology that scares them off. Words that make social media something 'other'. Don't talk about social networking or 2.0 or blogs or wikis. Instead, talk about approaches, and ideas and solutions and improved performance.
I agree. It's as dangerous to leave IT in charge of technology as it is to leave L&D in charge of learning.
In support of this, I think the biggest success we have had at Lloyds TSB was to get the learning site out of the corporate intranet onto the internet, hosted on our own servers, with a hole in the corporate firewall leading out to it. To do that we needed, as Karyn says, to be able to counter the people who said 'it's technical, dear, you wouldn't understand' with a demonstration of competence; it was a matter of luck in a way, having the right people in the team - one who'd been a manager in IT and another who'd been a network adminstrator. We proved to IT (and have to prove each year) that we can be at least as secure as any other corporate site; as a result we have an acceptance - and not just a grudging one - that we know what we're doing and consequently lots more freedom to get on and do what we want, and be more responsive to our internal customers. That doesn't yet include any 2.0 stuff - that's going to be like starting over again - but without the history we wouldn't have a chance.



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