Digital & Technology


We asked several communicators of different ages for their perspectives on modern technology and their use of other channels and formats. Here, Matt Batten (aged 36-45), lead employee engagement officer at Royal College of Nursing, shares his print, Google Home and blogging, as well as the channel he likes least. 

18th May 2018

I get news about the business from social media. Royal College of Nursing (RCN) tweets a lot of news about the organisation and what our chief exec is doing, so it’s much more immediate than waiting for a story to appear on the intranet.

I’ve made a conscious effort to have more of a presence on Twitter and I use Snapchat with friends. Facebook now seems to me to be for an older generation.

Our intranet is quite social. When I first started in an office environment, communication was through lots of emails and a basic intranet. It seems odd to me now to not have been able to comment.

Blogs get the most hits on our intranet. Staff write them themselves and in their own voice. I love blogging. I do it for updates on projects I’m working on, to bring some personality to subjects that might otherwise be really boring, like GDPR.

Artificially intelligent web chats are something I’m really excited about. We had a workshop earlier this year about how we could offer an improved digital service to members. We had an AI demo, and everyone was wowed. It could work well for us in terms of contacting people we can’t easily reach. Nurses on night shifts could get online advice, rather than waiting until the next day to talk to someone. If we’re rolling it out to customers, we should definitely be looking at how it can be used internally.

WhatsApp is so easy to use. A lot of people have got it, so it’s not like you’re downloading something specific to that group. When I was doing a management development programme recently, I was part of a work WhatsApp group for the first time and I found it really useful, because we were all based right across the organisation.

For me, the least appealing channel would probably be email. It’s just a legacy of what we’ve always used, almost like a safety net – if you send out an email, you know it’s gone to someone. I rarely use email outside of work.

At home, I can’t imagine life without Google Home. I use it for streaming music, for directions, for putting something on the TV.

I like print. I don’t buy newspapers – I go to online news sites or Twitter – but I still get specialist magazines: a Welsh language magazine and Star Trek and James Bond fan magazines. The print quality and photos they choose are brilliant – and they’re not available digitally; fan merchandise hasn’t quite gone there.

I’m pretty attached to my mobile. I downloaded a qualitative time app that tells you how long you’re on the phone. I was surprised to find I average nearly three hours per day.

I tweet a lot of pictures, which is easier to do on my phone. Mobile apps are far better that desktops, though I prefer mobile-responsive websites that look like apps, and which I can bookmark so they don’t clutter up my phone.

I took a break from social media when I was unwell recently, and when I returned, I realised that I had missed various events and good information on Twitter.

I like the idea of reducing my online time. In the last year or so, I’ve stopped using my phone after 9pm and I’ve had a better quality of sleep. I don’t feel interrupted. Now if I’m watching a film, I turn it off, or I’d be constantly looking up people on IMDB.

AGED 36-45: Channel preferences for receiving news and information about the company

39% News stories on the intranet                          

27% Posts on an ESN                                             

30% Email or e-newsletter                                    

4% Printed collateral (staff magazine/flyer)       
Source: IoIC

Read our other age perspectives here: aged 16-25, aged 26-35 and aged 46-55.

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