Magazine article Information Today

Learning by Example

Magazine article Information Today

Learning by Example

Article excerpt

Sometimes the word "social" in social networks seems to be a misnomer. What happens to the people in the process? I've focused on two columns from Intranets (September 2013) that emphasize the human end of intranets instead of the technical aspects. And both of the writers stress the value that people have in the process, which is ideal for anyone who manages, promotes, or provides a product-intranet or otherwise.

The Accidental Intranets Manager

The book department at Information Today, Inc. has a series of books with "Accidental" in the title (e.g., The Accidental Systems Librarian). Though covering different job titles, each book serves as a guide for people who find themselves in a career for which they were never trained. That's what I thought of when I first read "People First!" by Martin White (Intranet Insights, p. 7).

White often helps companies redesign their intranets and frequently works with individuals who "did not start out their careers wishing to achieve fame and fortune as intranet managers...." He says that in most cases, these involuntary managers had no clue what the role "entailed or offered" before they inherited the job.

So, White says AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) developed a certification course for information management professionals. Although the course has a broad reach in the technologies and management issues it covers, it pays little attention to intranet management. And the library and info pro organizations haven't done much to attract, train, or support intranet managers either, according to White. He believes a similar certification program is needed for intranet managers to outline and provide minimum standards of expertise and experience. And he feels that a degree in intranet management would be better yet.

In many cases, the skills that a good intranet manager should possess (e.g., design, communication, and technical abilities) are often part of hands-on learning. This isn't all that easy, especially when those in charge of even large organizations think one person can handle the company's behemoth intranet, as White notes. In today's digital workplace, White says intranet managers have the working knowledge of organizational information requirements and cultures, but they are not contributing to digital workspace developments because they lack the managerial experience needed at that level.

White described the scope of the problem in great detail. He doesn't have any specific solutions to offer, but he's hoping his call to action will generate a few along the way.

All Talk, No Action

I liked the topic Mike Chapman discusses in "Leading by Example" (Outside the Wall, p. …

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