When most people hear the term social media, they immediately think of teenagers using applications like Twitter and Facebook to let their friends know how cool the party on the weekend was, or who is in a relationship with who.

But although this may have been how social media started out, it is becoming so much more than that, and something that has become ingrained in both our personal and professional lives. Erik Qualman’s Social Media Revolution 2011 shows just what a huge impact social media is having on us, and that it really is something to sit up and take notice of.

As technology tends to do, social media has evolved as we have found more and more ways to utilise this tool. Social media is not just about Facebook and Twitter anymore, as there are many other tools out there that are helping people communicate and collaborate more effectively. So instead of thinking of social media as a trivial way for teenagers to pass time, we need to start seeing it as groups of people communicating and collaborating with each other and contributing content to further develop ideas.

If we think of social media in these terms, it has huge impacts for project management, as communication is one of the most integral parts of the project management process. The nature of project management itself is also changing, becoming more about team collaboration and idea sharingrather than a top down command-and-control approach. With a team collaboration approach, just think of the benefits a social media mindset could have on a project team.

At IPM Global we already have some of the principles of social media in our software. Web based project management systems such as IPM mean everyone in the team can log in and check the progress of the project each day, and contribute to status updates, timelines and task lists. Being built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM framework means IPM users have access to all the features of Microsoft Outlook integration, including the Outlook Social Connector. The Outlook Social Connector enables users to click on individual Outlook contacts to see their activity in social networks such as Linkedin, Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, Viadeo and Xing. Users can also send contact requests to connect on these social media sites, all without leaving the IPM environment.

IPM is also able to integrate with collaboration tools such as Microsoft Sharepoint, which allows for the creation of team wikis, workflows and team websites. One of our clients, Murphy Pipe and Civil even plans to implement an organisation wide collaboration tool through IPM using this kind of integration in order for their teams to better communicate and collaborate.

As IPM is a fluid and constantly evolving platform, it can easily adapt to new trends and advancements in both technology and project management practices. Being able to adapt to the changes in the way social media is now perceived means we can keep our clients at the forefront of the exciting new development that is social project management.

What are your thoughts? Have you found any good social media applications to use in managing your projects?