The Role of Social Media in Project Management

With the advent of social media emerging in the digital world, the project managers’ community needs to take correct understanding of this tool and use new techniques to communicate with virtual teams and stakeholders at any given time on the different devices that is available to them. Social media opens alternative communications channels and its power lies mainly in instant and informal communication, independent of time and location. Project communications can become more effective by sharing the information in the form of multi-media from various project sites.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are very popular with the younger generation and the professionals even. The individuals that are engaged on these social media platforms use these sites quite frequently and the response time to any message is very less sometimes it is in seconds and spontaneously.

People use social media as a tool to stay connected to one and other (even companies and brands) to receive quick and spontaneous feedback regarding any given matter. It is a very powerful communication tool and can allow the stake-holders to get project statuses and MIS reports by having the latest pictures and videos on the same. Conversational information can provide additional insight into the project status and other significant knowledge can be shared as well.

Social media channels can support group activities to brainstorm on a project related issues or risks and post them at convenient times (as per the audience’s social behavior) and get prompt feedback whenever a resource is available. This makes participation of all the members / stakeholders at the same time redundant. Further, it is distinctly useful when the time zones are differently spread apart.

Social networking can serve as good tool to recognize team members for their achievements. The recognition can come from seniors as well as peers and junior team members and is instantly shared within the group.

It can be used in team building activities where audio/visuals can be used for training and knowledge sharing in a closed group. The project technical problems can be put on these sites to seek possible solution.

Use of tags/hashtags and rating features can help a project manager to understand the different perspectives that individual team members bring to a project.

On Twitter, hashtags Twitterlists related to project management can be created and the project team searches these tags using search application like TweekDeck. Twitterlists can be displayed on the home page for a specific group(s).

LinkedIn    can help you find experts in project management and seek their advice.  For example, theProject Users Group on LinkedIn has hundreds of project management professionals you can contact with questions and advice.

SlideShare.net is a social network site that contains PowerPoint presentations and other documents that users create and upload. Searching on “project management” will provide project management- related information.

YouTube offers videos on project management area.

A page for the project can be created on the Facebook for posting by the project team members. Connect with other project managers on these social sites.

A word of caution, social networking is not a project management tool to manage the projects, but definitely supports project communications effectively.  Make use of social networking to reach your dispersed teams informally and build strong connects which has positive impact on the project objectives.

‘Essence of social media is to know your audience and engaging them in something they love’