Magazine article Information Today

Fine-Tuning Social Skills

Magazine article Information Today

Fine-Tuning Social Skills

Article excerpt

When I started working at Learned Information, Inc. (which eventually became Information Today, Inc.), proper social behavior meant knowing how friendly to be with co-workers and whether it was OK to call staffers by their first names, especially since I was the youngest. Nearly 3 decades later (excuse me while I hyperventilate), the word "social" now has the word "media" attached to it, and the phrase comes with an entirely different set of rules. As it happens, the March/April issues of Intranets and MLS have articles that examine the use of social media within the workplace.

Enter the BYOD World

The first thing I learned in the Intranets article by Dana Leeson ("BYOD and the Intranet," pp. 1, 4-5) is that BYOD stands for bring your own device. "In a perfect world, employees would receive a state-of-the-art machine, would be able to install updates and patches to improve the device, and would receive a replacement every 2 years," writes Leeson. In reality, employees often are stuck with devices well past the use-by date, which can demobilize their productivity. While BYOD is helping to jump-start this technological stagnation and open up positive opportunities, it is also creating new issues, especially for security and data privacy.

Leeson's article focuses on the intranet part of BYOD. While giving employees more control in how and where they work, the option of BYOD often complicates matters for the intranet team. Single sign-on is no longer an option, and simple functions such as document management could be lost when employees access and update documents through myriad systems and browsers. The intranet team must ensure that employees can access and share documents on the intranet or within shared drives from any device (sometimes switching devices in the process) using multiple software or browser versions.

Leeson, who manages a global intranet for British Standards Institution, reports that companies need to determine whether opening, editing, and sharing documents in unauthorized applications is something that should be restricted or whether an application needs to be developed to track document versions, updates, and user activity across all devices. He also presents an added concern: Opening a company's network to personal devices means established security measures can be breached. Allowing employees to use their own devices also blurs the line between what is confidential and owned by the company and what belongs to the employees.

The intranet team can best prepare for BYOD by completing an audit of the intranet; it will let members see the potentials as well as the risks of BYOD and be prepared for both. Since most organizations will not have the resources or infrastructure to handle every device, BYOD could turn into CYOD (choose your own design), letting the team develop "a smart and small list of devices the intranet can support." Letting an intranet grow and adapt to the BYOD policy by structuring it into a single gateway to all business tools will help a company move one step closer to becoming truly digital.

Checking Out Social Guidelines

If your workplace is a library, you have other concerns. In "Creating a Social Media Policy: What We Did, What We Learned" (MLS, pp. …

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