My wife introduced me to Facebook a few months ago and I’ve enjoyed using it to reconnect with friends I haven’t communicated with in nearly 25 years. How cool is that?! I can share pictures, videos and thoughts with all 108 of my friends 24/7. My office is upstairs and my wife’s office is downstairs. I can quickly chat with her (she doesn’t like to use IM) through the chat feature at any time during the day, though instead I usually hear “Braaaaaad!” and have to go down and see what she or one of the kids needs. Ok, I still think it’s kind of lame, but that doesn’t stop me from using it. To me, it’s a “family and friends” tool, nothing more.
As for Twitter – I joined it about a month or so ago. I find it somewhat addictive to go out and check the latest updates from the 96 people and organizations I’m following for their latest thoughts and interests as well as to let the 93 followers that I have know what I’m doing or what article I’ve recently posted. For me Twitter is far more of a business tool than Facebook. It’s Facebook without the pictures and friend connections – it’s just blurb thoughts. But I really only use it for business purposes. I announce articles, conferences, etc. on it. I network with like-minded professionals on it. I realize that some people use it to tell the world what they’re doing every 5 minutes, but that’s certainly not for me.
Now that you know my basis for using Facebook and Twitter, let’s discuss whether either can be a valuable tool for Project Managers and team members on implementations.
The Usual Information Sharing Techniques for PMs
To me, the effective parts of project communication, as I’ve always said, are:
- Weekly formal status reports
- Up-to-date project plans/schedules
- Weekly formal delivery team/customer status meetings or conference calls
- Weekly delivery team calls to prepare for customer communications and ensure everyone is on the same page
- Adhoc calls with the customer on issues or progress
- Adhoc calls with the delivery team members on issues or progress
- Frequent information sharing, status check, and issue alert emails with delivery team members and the customer.
I have honestly racked my brain to figure out a way to make either Facebook or Twitter a useful tool for Project Managers and project team members. I can’t figure it out though.
My Thoughts on Facebook & Twitter
Facebook, to me, is a complete no-go. I can’t find any useful business application for Facebook other than to kill time in long meetings or on long webex’s and conference calls. Nada…nothing.
As for Twitter, because I use it almost exclusively for business networking I’m trying to find some good PM use for it. I share info on my articles when they’re published. I connect with other PM, business and IT professionals that provide information I can use or have deemed my information useful. But as for sharing info with on-going team members…I just don’t see it. Oh, it can be done, but email and phone calls are better. A quick Twitter message could get overlooked. And email stays in your inbox and marked as unread until it is read.
Again…I’ve tried. I know there are those of you out there claiming that at least Twitter can be a viable way to share information across teams within an organization. If you’ve been successful with it, I’d like to hear your story. Comment here and let me know how you’re using it because information sharing is ALWAYS going to be a roadblock to some degree. Anything that aids information sharing without just providing another grey area path to communication is a welcomed addition. So tell me how you’re successfully using it. Likewise, if you’ve tried and failed, I’d like to hear that as well. Until someone convinces me otherwise, I can’t visualize a way to use either Facebook or Twitter as a viable Project Management communication tool.