Most of the roles outlined in the previous section are individual roles, even if held by multiple individuals in a team. But there is also a role that complete departments can play. By identifying the ESN as a key tool in their communication strategy, they can motivate whole groups of people to move to it and use it as the primary tool for communication and knowledge sharing. One example might be the research and development department that realizes the value of ad hoc sharing of knowledge and widely encourages their team members to share their ideas. Another great example would be the group of external social media specialists, those that focus on social media as it applies to external representation of an organization. This is a group that is usually quite familiar with social media and, by using internally what they preach externally, they can get even more experience, create awareness of their external activities, and become a driver for the internal platform in general.

One danger with whole groups moving to the platform is that they just replicate the organizational structure in ESN groups. While it is understandable that people think that the unit “organizational group” would be good to have, very often those represent the silos that the social media platform is trying to break down. Over time, it becomes somewhat questionable what is being discussed in a group named “Sales Support France.” Yes, there might be some guidelines, rules, and news ...

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