Should You Launch Your Own Social Network?

Many of your employees already participate in social networks such MySpace, FaceBook, and LinkedIn.
These networks are useful and important for them to take a personal, maybe even professional stake in keeping in touch with those who they know and meeting those they do not know.
What about your company creating its own social network for employees?

The advantage of your own social network, especially for companies who have offices around the world is that you can create a way for your employees to know one another, learn from one another and feel that even though they are geographically dispersed they are still part of a team.
One advantage of open networks is that you can email your list of contacts or request for information or leads. This can work the same in a private social network.
Imagine if you have a consultant or employee working on a client project in Baltimore. Using your social network, she can email a request for assistance and get help from the employee’s in your company’s private social network, who may be in Asia or Texas.
Cisco is one company moving to help companies create private social networks. It bought a company earlier this year, to give it the technology and expertise to do this.
Although the background to this announcement was a consumer push for Cisco to help media companies and entertainment companies launch their own social networks, businesses could be interested in this as well.
Internet News writes “Our goal is to create a real business,” said Dan Scheinman, a senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Media Solutions group. “We’ll be able to offer media companies a solution that’s much cheaper than doing it yourself and hopefully we’ll be more scalable than others.”
“In Facebook, you really care about who your friends are,” he said. But, he argued, enthusiasts such as sports fans want a shared communal experience even if it’s with people they don’t know. On the NASCAR site, he said, one racing fan living in Guam commented on how great it was to connect with people sharing his interests.

What does this mean for your business?
Although I always say that it’s first important for you to get the basics down – email newsletter, blog and web site, going beyond these core tools and helping your employees communicate better internally should definitely be considered.