How IBM took a page from Facebook

Social networking on ‘Beehive’ improves employee communication, starting with custom profiles and photos of the grandkids.

Social networking on ‘Beehive’ improves employee communication, starting with custom profiles and photos of the grandkids

IBM has more than 386,000 employees scattered around the globe. Not surprisingly, the vast majority don’t know each other—sometimes even when they’re on the same team.

But that’s not to say they aren’t connected. IBM, like many companies, sees its workers visiting social networking Web sites like Facebook and MySpace to keep up with friends and acquaintances during slow points in the day.

IBM employee Ethan McCarty’s Beehive page. View the full profile.

Seizing on that as the way to bridge the employee gap, IBM created Beehive, a social networking research program, in September 2007. Accessible through the company intranet, the Beehive site encourages employees to craft unique profiles, a la Facebook or MySpace, to share their photos and interests, both work-related and personal.

Busy bees? You bet. More than 52,000 employees have signed up.

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