By Dr Preman Rajalingam, Senior Lecturer, Medical Education and
Lead for Educational Development & TBL Facilitation
Back in 2004, way before the advent of social media or even smart phones for that matter, I taught at an institution of higher learning that used MSN messenger as the main platform for informal staff communication. Much faster and less intrusive than email or phone calls, we were able to schedule appointments on the fly, seek immediate clarification from service departments, or simply jio (invite) a colleague for lunch.
This fast and free-flowing communication aided collaboration across functions, and created a culture where even the most junior employees felt like they had a channel to senior management. By today’s standards, MSN messenger is clunky and limited. However, what made it work was not the platform, rather it was the willingness of the entire community to engage with novel means of communication.
Fast forward to 2017. Social media is ubiquitous and we have job titles like social media managers, aspirations to be “influencers” and workshops on social media etiquette. It is so ubiquitous that many of us stay logged into our social media profiles even at work. So when we heard of Facebook’s collaborative platform Workplace, a small group of us decided to find out more and see if this could be brought to LKCMedicine to harness our innate connectivity.
Workplace was launched in October 2016, so it’s still very much in its infancy, but it’s already been adopted by many organisations we work closely with, such as the Singapore Civil Service, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Institute of Mental Health. Designed to facilitate communication within and between organisations, it allows people to chat with colleagues and offers the social network’s features in a corporate environment. Best of all, it’s free for educational institutions.
For the last year, about 30 champions (a.k.a. guinea pigs) have been experimenting with Workplace to figure out if this could work at LKCMedicine. So far, the feedback has been positive; Workplace is being adopted as an informal communication channel for a constructive and thought-provoking exchange of ideas.
I share their sentiments and am excited to see how we will use this platform to communicate at LKCMedicine. LKCMedicine will officially launch Workplace by Facebook later this month.