Chirp – What am I going to do with that?

This week Chirp was added as a service to our enterprise. Chirp is much like Twitter, a micro-blogging service.

At its core is the ability to write 140 characters of text in a message box, and broadcast it too everyone in the enterprise. Each Chirp has a time stamp and who sent it attached to it and are chronologically ordered.

Sounds like something you may not want to do – or is it?

Well, what if I said that the only people that would really care would be the people that choose to listen to you. They choose to follow you because they want to hear what you have to say, and if that changed, they could simply choose not to listen anymore. You can likewise choose to follow those people that you want to listen too, and if that changed, you could self select not follow them anymore as well.

Like many very flexible tools, there are a lot of things you may be able to do with this tool.

I would like to share some ideas that I am going to use this tool for since I have been looking forward to something like this for quite some time.

I have been waiting for a tool like this primarily for its logging features. One of those features was the ability to easily put down what I do during the day, that I can recall later. I wanted to use this to help me when I am asked to provide input for end of year performance assessments. Long ago, I made recommendations on several ways people could keep track of what they do, but I wanted to make it easy, and this service gets us pretty close.

The service is primarily a text box that you can put up too 140 characters of information into. You can enter links into the text area, so if you choose to inform your network of followers (friends), then you can post that you are starting work on something and send them a link to that file. You can also simply make them aware of what you are working on that day. Or you can include a link to your finished work so that they can read it. There is a URL shortener that you can use to shorten long URLs if you need too. It can be found in the Tag|Connect (social bookmarking) service if you need it.

You can use it to create groups. After there is a group, and if you are a member of a group, you can track all group member “Chirps” and know what people in the group are saying about that topic. Groups are usually topic centric (like what forums used to be). When you click on the group, you can see all the posts (chirps) made to the group by group members.

In addition to groups, there is the ability to create your own topical “tags”. Those tags are prepended with a “#” symbol and look something like this: #collaboration for example. This means that anyone that adds #collaboration to one of their chirps, will automatically become a member of that “hash tag”. That post will show up if you click on that hash tag along with any others that are in that group.

So how am I using it in the enterprise? Well, for DCIPS, I am using a hashtag for each of the Individual Performance Objectives that I have this year. #GLS123IPO1 for example is a hashtag that will be where I collect all the chirps that are related to my 1st performance objective. That way at the end of the year, if I have used this tool to track the things I work on during the day, I can click on that hashtag, and it will chronologically list all the work I did on that objective this year. This should make creating my input for end of year evaluation easier. Also, since I can include links, I may make a unique hashtag for my products, and one for time keeping like #GLS123P and #GLS123T where the first would be products and the second time entries for recalling posts that describe when I arrived and left on any given day. I can use them where needed.

The tool also has a built in RSS feed, so that I can share with my manager what I am working on, where I am going too (meetings) and anything else I choose to share about what I am doing, and where I am at any given time. If my manager subscribes to my feed on that, and wants to know where I am, when I chirp that I am giving training in a specif place for a specific time period, then he and others can know where that is. Again, but only if I willingly and purposefully post those kind of entries. He may ask others to do it as well, and that is one way to keep track of what people are working on.

Alternatively, if our office had a group name, and we all included a !groupname in our chirps, then all the chirps with that groupname would appear in that space, and an RSS feed of that would be available for the manager in charge as well.

I have listed some things I am going to use this for, and in time people will use it for things I can not even imagine yet. But this tool allows for RSS, groups, tags, and chronologically lists the returns of those results. My peers and friends will likely “follow” my chirps, and maintain situational awareness of what I am working on and where I am as well as what I am producing and for which IPOs I am doing the work. They can see and join the groups I am in, or get feeds of what I am chirping about, what groups are posting about etc… My manager may choose to follow what I am doing, and I of course have a responsibility to chirp about meaningful things that are work related. We have all heard of the person “Tweeting out about going to get a drink of water” which has no real impact or significance and ultimately adds only to the noise around us. I should only hope that we use this tool to share things of value, what we are working on, who we are working with and what we are trying to accomplish. That would be the primary difference between what I Twitter about outside work, and what I Chirp about inside work.

If you like what you have read and found it useful, feel free to check it out, (it uses your intelink passport username and password. Once in, feel free to follow my chirps, ask questions, or post some of your own. I look forward to seeing you in there.

—-
In addition to asking for constructive criticism on this blog post, I will part with these questions-
What are you using Chirp for? What may you use it for in the future? What did this tool make easier for you?

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