Interview: Sebastian Majewski – UN DESA: Enabling the world to make informed decisions

January 31, 2012

From NASA to SAP many large organizations are upgrading to SlideShare Network for a rich, branded and distributed social media presence. Here, Kendra Mayfield speaks with Sebastian Majewski, from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), an organization that helps countries around the world meet their economic, social and environmental challenges. In this interview, Sebastian explains why UN DESA decided to upgrade to a SlideShare Network.

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With more than 300 documents and 300 print and electronic publications published globally each year, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (UN DESA) information sharing is, well, complex.

Charged with a mission to “enable the world to make informed decisions,” UN DESA turned to SlideShare to create a social media hub, the UN DESA Presentation Channel, to house its complex data and content—from statistical analysis and policy briefs to reports on global development conferences.

“Our content is part of the public domain, so we want it shared as widely as possible,” said UN DESA’s Sebastian Majewski. “SlideShare was the perfect solution for us. By uploading our content to SlideShare, it can easily be embedded and disseminated to a much larger audience.”

United Nations DESA on SlideShareOne of the United Nation’s largest departments, UN DESA has 10 sub-divisions—each structured by specialty, such as its Population Division; UN Statistics; or Social Policy and Development. Despite this large presence, many people don’t know what UN DESA is. Like many governmental organizations, the hierarchical structure was a hurdle for information dissemination.

So, UN DESA began searching for a social media channel that would work for its organization. “SlideShare was the tool that best fit our needs,” Sebastian said, “since it has the interaction and integration, without the commitment of a Facebook page. We provide information to users and they can disseminate it for us, through sharing and embedding.”

Empowering content owners
Starting with a single SlideShare Channel, Sebastian worked with SlideShare’s Business Development team to expand UN DESA’s presence by creating multiple accounts with branded channels. Now, the UN DESA Presentation Channel serves as a hub for the other UN DESA division channels, which all have the same look-and-feel. UN DESA also decentralized its publishing process, which “empowers each division by giving them control over their own content,” Sebastian said. “We then take it and stream it on the parent channel.” The SlideShare Network is also a time-saver, since content owners can now direct user questions and requests directly to their SlideShare Channels.

Slideshare Analytics allows Sebastian to identify what keywords or UN DESA publications are the most popular among readers—and where they’re sharing content. When UN DESA pre-released the first chapter for the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012 Report, users from countries such as India, the UK, Russia and South Korea downloaded it, generating 13,000 views in the first month. Following this enthusiastic response, UN DESA released the full report on SlideShare and embedded it in a live chat on Facebook.

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A ‘culture of information sharing’
Since upgrading to the SlideShare Network, UN DESA has broadened its reach and enhanced its user engagement. In the last month (Dec. 25, 2011 to Jan. 24, 2012), the UN DESA Presentation Channel received more than 2,000 downloads and 43,000 views, as well as 44,000 “Likes” on Facebook—most of which came from its SlideShare channel.

SlideShare also helped UN DESA improve the flow of internal communications by establishing “a strong culture of information sharing,” Sebastian said. After being trained to use their SlideShare accounts, content owners began uploading documents, subscribing to each other’s channels and coordinating with experts from other departments.

“SlideShare is a tool that helped to unify our department in coherent outreach,” Sebastian said. “It has really empowered our internal teams to get involved in social media”.

So what’s next? Sebastian wants to use SlideShare to make content accessible via mobile technology and integrate documents in more languages, from Arabic to Russian. Stay tuned!

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