I’d heard great things about Asda’s Green Room, an online portal where Asda staff can get together to find out what’s happening around the company as well as share their own stories, pictures and videos. What excited me most about it was that anyone can join in. The whole shebang is exposed to Asda customers, shareholders, media – anyone with a passing interest in Asda can and is encouraged to take a look around.
Given that I’m hugely interested in what I see as the inevitable convergence of internal and external communications, driven primarily by growth of social media, I had huge expectations when I paid my first visit. First impressions were mint. It looks great and sounds great. So I scratched beneath the surface a little. I have to say, by the time I left I was feeling pretty disappointed.
OK, so it has only been going for about 5 months. Actually 5 months in social media is probably the equivalent in several years in real-time. There are some signs of genuine interaction with ‘colleagues’ (that’s what Asda call their staff) and customers who have commented on the stories posted by the Green Room team. However, many stories have attracted no comments at all.
When you consider that Asda employs over 150,000 people in the UK, 90,000 of whom who are part time (and therefore presumably have a bit more time for social networking) this does not feel like success.
Lifting the bonnet slightly, I then saw that the Green Room’s own Facebook site has only 200 fans and despite almost daily updates, 2 ‘like its’ were the only sign of interaction going back to November 2009. I didn’t see a single comment on any of the wall posts during this time. The Green Room’s Twitter channel only has 51 followers (52 now – hi Steve!).
Please don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love what Asda have done here, it is ground breaking stuff – truly. I’m just a tad disappointed that Asda colleagues do not appear to have embraced the portal with as much enthusiasm as the very capable Green Room Team clearly have.
Watch this space – I intend to find out why.