Ethan McCarty

Digital strategy | Social business | People-centric biznology

>Intranet news or living stories?

>I’ve been looking at an experiment from Google called “living stories” today and thinking — man, that’s actually more like how so-called “news” works on an intranet. Er, well, IBM’s intranet anyway.

We are very, very selective about what we put on the homepage for the entire 400,000-person workforce at IBM. Naturally, this means the stories we put there tend to be less newsy and more like feature articles. But they still pretend to be linked to a moment in time, which presents some problems in navigational, content-freshness, search-results etc etc. Basically, we end up trying to cram topic-index pages into the news well on the homepage because the news well is what we’ve got. I think the idea of intranet news has long-ago broken down and the Living Stories project could be an interesting approach.

In seeing the way Living Stories works on the internet, I could see creating a similar model for an intranet news portal…that is to say, thematic think-pieces/aggregation points organized by subject. It doesn’t matter necessarily if Google’s Living Stories back end is fully automated or populated by content-management elves because on an intranet it would be curated by communications staff and augmented with socially-derived data such as the most-clicked intranet search results for related terms etc. Perhaps there could be a community angle too — as in, interested people self-proclaiming and contributing content, volunteering to contacted etc.

Yes, we do actually have breaking news stories, but typically they are relevant only to subsets of the entire employee audience. And so we publish those to our profiles-driven, personalized intranet homepage only for those selected employees (e.g. new benefits information for Brazilian employees only appears on the homepage for Brazilians etc.)

Anyway, nice move on Google’s part — I like the idea for Living Stories and could see taking a similar approach for non-news on an intranet.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: