1. On a related note, one thing we quickly learned is that it’s not enough to just have commenting, but you’ve also got to have a notification system to let people know when there are new comments. You can’t assume if somebody comments on an item that they will continually return to that item (or an activity feed, etc.) to see if there have been additional replies and discussion.

    Similar to Facebook and other social sites, we added e-mail notifications that let people know when there are additional comments about items they posted or items they commented on. So nobody ever misses something, and it helps keep the discussion going. (And bonus points if your users can reply to the notification to comment via e-mail!)

    • James Robertson

      @Jase, while I’m always hesitant to say “copy Facebook on your intranet”, I agree 100% in this case! The public sites, including LinkedIn, have long since learnt that push notification is critical for maintaining activity. Nice to see more robust implementations of commenting on intranet news starting to appear…

  2. William Amurgis

    James —

    Thanks (again) for the kind words about AEP. Coincidentally, I just completed a presentation about this very topic — to be delivered in Whistler, B.C., in November — and can offer some additional thoughts.

    We’ve been accepting comments on our intranet for many years, and they average about 200 per day. They tend to fall into four broad categories:

    (1) Expressions of appreciation;
    (2) Advice or additional information;
    (3) Attempts at humor; and
    (4) Political debates.

    Obviously, we prefer numbers (1) and (2), but have to accept (3) and (4).

    Some leaders have complained to me about the frivolity of some of the comments, but I tell them that the mere fact employees are inspired to comment — regardless of the content — then we can take comfort in knowing that our message was absorbed.

    As communicators, our role is changing from broadcasting messages to hosting conversations, but this is a key point: we still get to pick the topics of conversation, and we always choose something that is consistent with our strategic priorities and values.

    Hope to see you again soon!

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Published September 29, 2011

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter)

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