13 ways to create active social networking platforms

Micro-blogging platforms like Yammer, Socialcast and Present.ly can become dynamic spaces for crowdsourcing and idea sharing. But you might have to give employees a push. Maybe two.

There was a time—for a week or so, that is—when our Yammer stream here at Ragan Communications was a busy virtual meeting place where colleagues offered thoughts and posted links that led to story assignments.

These days, we often go a week without a post, and the platform is mainly where we learn that somebody has brought in cookies or wants us to read an article titled, “How is a pickle like a cell phone? Both could cause cancer.”

We’re a small organization, and sometimes it’s easier to chat around a cubicle or fire off an email than log on to Yammer. But many companies are turning micro-blogging platforms like Yammer, Socialcast and Present.ly into dynamic spaces for crowdsourcing, exchanging ideas and finding knowledge across departments.

Social networking tools are good at ferreting out information within large organizations and bringing employees together to solve problems. But without a push from on high, they can turn into social wastelands.

Here are some tips for keeping your network active:

1. Make it official.

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