How Facebook Teaches Us Social Task Management
More and more companies are trying out social task management (STM) through online project management software like Binfire or the simple organizer application Trello. STM software is known for combining traditional task management with social networking that makes for a more transparent, collaborative means of business operations, all in real-time. So where does a social networking site like Facebook come in, you ask? Apparently, Facebook has been training you and me in social task management long before we even knew what it meant. Here’s a closer look at the Facebook Group feature:
Every post you make on a Facebook group is visible to everyone else in that group. Say a group of protesters is preparing for a social movement, and has turned to Facebook for information dissemination and organization. Through their Facebook group, they can inform co-protesters about their plan-of-action, meeting schedules, advocacies, and so on. The “notifications” feature ensures people are immediately notified about recent group activities.
STM: Likewise, company groups/departments can better look into the goings-on of their current operations through this Facebook feature. You can “Add File” and post progress reports where people can easily comment and suggest ways to enhance productivity for that or the next project. And just like in an STM software, this is only limited to people who are included in the group, and transparency goes only as far as what you actually post.
Assigning tasks, schedules, and deadlines are part of the traditional task management, and Facebook enables this through file-sharing. Not to mention, the social networking site offers tagging options so you can directly notify the person/s involved. Some offices adhere to these unofficial “social media meetings” for additional tasks and reminders.
STM: Posting on an STM software is really no different from posting on Facebook, sans the uber-specialized STM features the software boasts. Just the same, you can assign tasks, give reminders, make adjustments, give deadlines, and tag the people you’re specifically addressing, on Facebook. Moreover, those people are immediately notified and can confirm right away.
One of the best things about Facebook is that it operates in real-time and creates a community among its users. This makes it easier for collaborative efforts among people working on a project. Because people can see what the others are currently working on, they can easily recognize areas for collaboration. Moreover, they can work on the project wherever, whenever, with geographical location and time differences not being an issue.
STM: Collaboration is one of the greatest benefits of STM software. It clearly recognizes the way our world operates today and translates that into the business world. The “comment box” on Facebook is good for inviting more people into the conversation for brainstorming. For an urgent and quiet approach, you may opt for the group chat, adding only the people you want to collaborate with. Note: The “Ask Question” feature is a good way to immediately get feedback.
Because Facebook enhances transparency, monitoring projects and people becomes easier. Moreover, group posts and chats now have the “seen by” feature that identifies those who’ve already seen your post. This also signals the other readers on whether all of them have already been updated on the latest posts thus, opening conversations, follow-ups, and so on.
STM: Through the progress reports you post in your group, the rest of the team can see the progress of all projects even those of a different department/team. This lets everyone keep track of their work schedule and anticipate any problem or delay early on. Note: The “Events” feature is a good way to notify people regarding important work-related matters.
Conversations are in context
Context is essential in any communication. Facebook takes away all the confusion by clearly presenting what is being talked about. By simply reading the post and the conversation/comment thread below it, you can get in on the conversation with ease.
STM: One problem about business e-mailing is that the context gets lost in the conversation. With Facebook, you can easily identify what your team members are currently discussing. Should you want to read or check posts from months ago, you can use the “search” box at the upper right corner of the page. This is especially helpful when clarifying something, even pointing out correction/s to co-workers.
The entire Facebook layout is built on organization. People can easily see the groups they’re part of, recent updates from “friends”, who’s online, and basically what everyone’s been up to lately. From the moment you log in, you are faced with various information organized in a way that lets you easily operate on the site.
STM: Organizing your data on Facebook is the same on STM software. You are given options on how you can better organize such truckloads of information that’s not straining to the eyes. Features such as “files”, “videos”, “photos”, and “events”, make for an easier and faster browsing. This will lessen (even eliminate) the confusion and allow for a more effective communication and work.
As you can see, Facebook is not just your ordinary office-distraction social networking site. It gives you more than what you originally signed up for. And isn’t it comforting to know that you’re getting some actual benefits aside from the “perks” of stalking and gossip? If used efficiently, Facebook is actually a good starter for your STM software someday.