How curation, collaboration and crowdsourcing can engage staffers

Employees have many ideas to move the company forward. Here’s how to get them involved.

Curation, collaboration and crowdsourcing are three buzzwords you’ve probably heard bandied about recently. But what do they mean exactly, and why should communicators take advantage?

Here’s a quick rundown:


Curation

Shel Holtz discussed the value of curation at a BlogWorld presentation I attended in New York City, casting the communicator in the role of “curator of content,” or one who delivers informative content from various sources to a targeted audience. He says it’s a great way to become a trusted guide for useful content about targeted topics.

Communicators can offer curated content to targeted groups within their organizations, offering a valuable service to their time-strapped workforce. Curated content may help employees work more efficiently and make more informed decisions. Just be sure to ask the original authors for permission before you post their content.

Collaboration

Micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, Yammer, Jive and Chatter offer opportunities for communicators to encourage collaboration among employees.

Twitter hashtags, for instance, can help identify topical conversations. I participated in a chat that discussed internal communication topics in messages of 140 characters with the #icchat hashtag. You can easily isolate these conversations on Twitter and join in yourself, closing each remark with the identifiable hashtag.

“There’s something fun, enjoyable and pleasantly interactive about this channel of communication,” says Judy Jones, the executive director of employee communication at The New York Times, who was part of the same chat. “But like most social media,” she observes, “Twit-chats are hard to explain and best understood through firsthand experience.”

Twitter chats can be a great learning and collaborative experience. The conversation doesn’t always stay on point, but there’s always something interesting to glean.

Crowdsourcing

This leads to the third way communicators can add value: crowdsourcing. Michael Selzner discussed this topic on Social Media Examiner, where he described it as a “multiplayer experience that relies on collective, thoughtful engagement.”

This is a great way to involve your staff with new ideas. Communicators can drive engagement by teaching senior executives to sound out ideas (marketing or otherwise) and provide context for change initiatives through crowdsourcing conversations.

Dom Crincoli is a senior strategic consultant at Dulye & Co., and blogs at DomCrincoli.com where this article originally appeared.

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