By: Bryan Thiel
When I was growing up, MSN Messenger was an after school special.
You’d spend hours a day in class, go to practice or rehearsals, come home, and settle in for a couple hours of instant messaging. We didn’t know it then, and we probably wouldn’t have cared if you told us, but we were engaging in one of the earliest forms of networking and social media.
In the broadcasting industry, it’s still alive and useful today…just in different forms.
Within our studios, we rely on the Microsoft Office package. Word, Excel, and Power Point all have their uses within our environment, and we’ve learned to integrate them in different ways, but there’s one networking tool that helps more than all of the others combined: Microsoft Lync.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Lync is an instant messaging system. At its core it’s fairly basic, but it provides an opportunity to communicate in real time with anyone across the Bell Media landscape, while offering opportunities for scheduling further interactions, video chats, and phone calls as well.
Not only can you message somebody down the hall or on the second floor, but you can connect and communicate with someone in a different city, or even province so long as they’re a part of the Bell network.
For us, it has taken professional networking within our own constraints to a new level.
While there isn’t much beyond instant messaging and email that can be used for networking within my industry, I have been potentially presented with a unique opportunity to develop a networking strategy outside of my industry.
Recently, an acquaintance of mine came to me with a problem: They worked in an industry with so many regulations, rules, and codes, that it was difficult to keep track of all of them. Additionally, it was difficult to keep everyone up to date on the changes and amendments constantly being made, and they were finding many people had questions that didn’t have just one answer.
Because of this, I’ve been working on trying to develop a message board for their office. Not only will it be a place to organize the information into different threads, but it opens things up to inter-office networking and conversation over the different topics. It will initiate constructive discussion, and expansion upon previously built personal relationships.
Throughout our work with Algonquin, I’ve become increasingly interested in the potential of message boards. Free services like ProBoards and Boardhorst have given me the tools to explore that potential.