Learning Circuit Blog’s Big Question for November: Network Feedback

Posted by gminks in big question | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Learning Circuit Blog’s Big Question for November is all about Network Feedback, specifically if you need input from people, where’s the best place to ask?

Tony asked for specific experiences on how to find the information you need, when you need it. He posed the following questions:

  • Where to go in what cases?
  • What works and doesn’t work?
  • How do you effectively work within a given context?
  • What do you need to have done to effectively get help ahead of time?
  • Are there places you can go if you are relatively new and needing to ask questions?

At EMC, our official internal social media platform is called EMC ONE. It is for the most part product based, and the culture in the community is to keep things very business focused. Except for one sub-community called the “Water Cooler”. You can post pretty much anything that is somehow related to your day-to-day work there. We also have started to test out Yammer.

Our open enrollment for benefits ended yesterday, and I had a problem with my daughter’s coverage. Now, remember my daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome, so I pay careful attention to the state of her coverage. I called the benefits help line, but they were not a lot of help (they have to stay on script, I understand that, but special cases can’t be handled by a script).

So I posed the question on EMC ONE and in Yammer. I was hoping some other parent had been through the situation and could tell me what they did to get things resolved. I didn’t want to spend the next couple of weeks playing phone tag and swapping emails with a benefits person just to find out I could have resolved the situation if I had just ________.

I did hear from a couple of parents with horror stories of what it took them to get a resolution. That was not the feedback I needed. Then I got an email from the person in charge of everything. She called me, told me the solution, and even took care of the fixing the problem for me!

I then posted the resolution in EMC ONE, because I would imagine this question will come up again.

Here are my answers to some of Tony’s specific questions:

  • Where to go in what cases?
    You have to start first with the known areas of information seeking for a particular topic. I first called the help line, but they couldn’t fill my need for information. I was reaching out to other parents, but thankfully our benefits team monitors social media!
  • What works and doesn’t work?
    You have to have directed information seeking behavior. You can’t just yell your question out to the wind, you have to shout it in at least a general direction. You have to take clues from one search and apply them to the next one.
    In my case, after talking to the benefits help line I knew there was a gap in instruction out to the parents. That is why I shouted my question out in an area where I knew parents would be listening.
  • How do you effectively work within a given context?
    You have to know when to switch contexts, especially if we are talking in an online (visible) situation. People may want to help you, but not in the open environment of a social networking site. You have to respect that preference. Also, you have to frame your request for information in such a way that people want to help you. If I had said mean things about the benefits team out of frustration, no one would have responded to my request for information.

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