Networking for intranet managers
Intranet Management can be a lonely occupation. Even in larger organisations, there’s rarely more than one or two people with Intranets as their sole responsibility, while in smaller companies it falls to internal comms or someone in the web team.
If you need others to learn from, bounce ideas off and share your intranet woe, you need to get out and about and network with your fellow intranet pros. By connecting with contemporaries, you can keep up to speed with developments in the tech world, sneak a peek at intranets elsewhere (and nick all their best ideas), and find the occasional shoulder to cry on.
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
I get all my news from Twitter. Follow the #intranet hashtag for the latest industry news and blogs, as well as to connect with fellow intranet specialists. To make life a bit easier, we’ve created an intranetizen twitter list with the key people that we think you should follow. Take a look here.
While intranets rarely get a mention in mainstream IT industry news sites, there’s an impressive range of intranet managers, consultants and researchers out there who regularly blog on all aspects of intranet management.
Our top five intranet blogs to bookmark:
- Column Two: James Robertson of Step Two Designs writes regularly on intranet innovation
- KiloboxCommunique: Interact Intranet’s own Wedge writes impressively regularly, with a focus on the communications side of intranets
- NetJMC: Jane McConnell, who runs the annual Social Workplace study, blogs regularly on digital workplace trends
- Content Economy: Oscar Berg writes about communication and collaboration technologies, with a particular focus on productivity,efficiency and innovation
- Intranet Diary: Luke Oatham writes on the trials and tribulations of intranet management
Online is great – and for those of you outside the big cities is often the only option – but as any internal communicator knows, there’s no subsitute for face-to-face comms. There are a number of practitioner groups for intranet specialists which have popped up in recent years. This list is quite UK- (and specifically London)- focussed; so let us know of other international groups via the comments section below.
- J Boye: These guys run a wide range of practitioner groups for different sectors in the digital world. This includes a number of dedicated intranet groups meeting regularly in the UK and Europe, where small groups of intranet specialists review case studies and get feedback from peers on their own intranet challenges.
- UKeiG Intranets Forum: The intranet wing of the organisation for information professionals. As well as regular informal meetings, UKeiG’s member site offers an impressive range of online resources, with a focus on information and knowledge management.
- IBF: The Intranet Benchmarking Forum’s confidential member meetings are the gold standard of intranet networking groups. Open only to organisations which use their benchmarking service, these regular meetings bring together those managing large corporate intranets and provide valuable insight for those managing complex, global intranets.
- Intranetters: Organised via a Yahoo group and mailing list under the watchful eye of Rob McLean, this informal, friendly group of London-based intranet managers meets (roughly) quarterly for a show and tell, followed by Q&A (usually followed by pub). As a largely self-organising group, it is, refreshingly, free to join and attend. A must for those with small training and development budgets.
- Internal Communications Teacamp: Another free-to-attend group, this time co-founded by me. These bi-monthly meetups are open to all IC professionals in all sectors. Each time one or more attendees will share a case study, share ideas, natter about comms and drink tea. Past meetings have covered low-cost digital comms, evaluation and measurement, and communicating with hard-to-reach groups.
Another sign of the increasing maturity of the industry is the emergence of dedicated conferences for intranet professionals. No longer are we expected to be happy with a couple of workshops within a broader web event; now there are events taking place all over the world, covering a wide range of intranet topics in their agenda. You can see intranetizen writers at a few conferences this year.
Our top five recommended conferences for 2012:
- IntraTeam 2012
- J Boye Philadelphia
- Intranets 2012
- Advanced Intranets and Portals
- Interact Intranet Conference
If you can’t stretch to a conference, IBF Live, the monthly online offering from the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, is excellent value. Using a WebEx meeting, and compered by IBF’s Paul Miller, this gives you a whistlestop tour though some of the world’s leading intranets. Fantastic for generating new ideas. For those with stamina, try the IBF24 event in May; this brings you live tours of some of the world’s best intranets in one 24-hour marathon session.
LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for intranet managers, with a burgeoning number of groups covering all aspects of intranet comms, collaboration, design, usability and governance.
Intranetizen’s top five LinkedIn groups:
- Worldwide Intranet Challenge (WIC)
- Intranet Professionals
- Intranet 3.0
- Intranet Career Path
- Sharepoint Experts
We hope that’s inspired you to get out there and connect with – and learn from – others in the intranet industry. If you’ve got a favourite group, blog or event, let us know in the comments section below.