Social Media Use within Project Teams: Practical Application of Social Media on Projects

Social Media Use within Project Teams: Practical Application of Social Media on Projects

Linky Van der Merwe (Virtual Project Consulting, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9867-3.ch009
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This chapter gives practical recommendations about the social media tools and applications for use on projects. It will introduce the reader to the most popular and widely used social media tools and will provide considerations for the selection of the best tools to integrate with projects. Platforms being described from a project management point of view are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Google+, Blogs, Wikis, Instant Messaging, YouTube, Webinars, SlideShare, Podcasts and Vodcasts. Best practice recommendations are given for each tool from a project manager as well as a team member perspective. Advice is given about dealing with various challenges such as security concerns and managing the culture change. The current trends that will dictate and influence the use of social media on projects are also discussed.
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Social Media As Communication Channels

Since social media lends itself to be participatory, community based and interactive, it is ideal for engagement among project team members. Various social media tools can be used effectively as communication channels on projects. Team members use it on projects to share information and status, to collaborate and to connect with stakeholders and fellow team members.

With the common adoption of mobile devices in the work place, it is not surprising to hear from Joseph Guarino, owner of Evolutionary IT, in his presentation: “Social media for project managers” (Guarino, 2012) that social networking apps are the 3rd most used smart phone apps. He also stated that social networks and blogs account for almost half of all time online.

When organizations consider adopting social media as a communication tool on projects, one of the first decisions required, is to select appropriate enterprise collaboration software that has social media incorporated into the project management information system. For this type of software, there is normally a choice between Software as a Service (SaaS) which is easy to deploy with a potentially lower total cost of ownership, versus locally installed traditional enterprise software which is more complex and costly to manage. The advantage being that you have more control and you own the project management solution.

In addition to using a project management software solution or even without having an enterprise project management solution, as is the case with smaller organizations, there are popular social networks to select as communication tools on projects. You can differentiate between social media tools for use by project team members versus tools to use as a project manager for thought leadership and to deepen networks.

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