E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Is Social Networking Good for the WorkPlace? – Something in the Water…

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Remember the blog post I created a couple of days ago debating whether social networking tools would be costing businesses dear or not, based on a specific news article from mainstream media? Well, it looks like things may be improving a bit in this respect or, at least, in the perception from traditional media on how social media is impacting the workplace. I am not sure if you have read a follow up weblog post or not from Stephen Collins on the subject, but if you haven’t, I strongly encourage you all to have a look into Something in the water …

In that particular weblog post you would be able to see how Stephen references another traditional news media article, from News.com.au Business this time around, where social networks, and Facebook, in particular, are evaluated in a much fairer perspective as to how they are impacting the corporate world. In a positive way. And, of course, I had to read it. More than anything else to see how fair it really was.

Overall, and agreeing with Stephen on this one as well once more, I enjoyed the article itself (Is Facebook good for the workplace?) as it provides a good and comprehensive overview of the kind of impact that social software is having within the business world. Even better when it shows a number of different examples from companies that have successfully been able to utilise to the best of their abilities how they are making use of social computing to help knowledge workers improve their knowledge sharing and collaboration skills, at the same time they would connect with others.

Of great interest I thought as well how well presented it was the fact that a successful adoption of social software tools depends very much on a balanced approach towards it all. That is, there is no need to try all of the different tools out there or to spend hours and hours on them all experiencing how they operate. That is right, the keyword here and throughout the whole article is balance. Without it, it is not going to happen and it is probably going to fail at some point in time. Yes, I know that sometimes we take this for granted, but better bring it up again to keep things under perspective, don’t you think?

Another item that caught my eye while reading the article was a particular policy that I myself have been exposed to it for over 10 years and some times I underestimate the impact it’s had in IBM for all of those years. To quote:

"IBM Australia’s internet policy doesn’t specifically mention Facebook, but says “IBM encourages its employees to explore responsibly – indeed, to further the development of – new spaces of relationship-building, learning and collaboration”. (Emphasis mine)

Exactly, how are we supposed to explore and discover new spaces for relationship-building, learning and collaboration if we do not have a direct and immediate exposure to social computing? How can we say whether it is going to help us improve the way we interact with other knowledge workers and customers, if we first do not try the tools for ourselves and see if they would meet our needs or not? I am not sure about you, but to me it just makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Overall, the news article is a good read and one that clearly shows the potential of social computing to change the way we share our knowledge and collaborate with other knowledge workers in our corporate world, and beyond, and the best part of it is how through that very same balanced approach, and with that energy and strong determination to explore the new media, we would all be able to extend our working relationships with others, not just from our immediate team mates, learn along the way so much more and do what we all do best, collaborate effectively.

(You would agree with me that we would need more news articles like that one, right?)

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  1. Hi Luis, you might be happy to know that I’m doing my bit to bring social networking to business. Early next year I start teaching a course as part of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education, Professional Development on how to build social networks for business. This is a course for corporates to understand how and why they need to be engaged and provide a community for their consumers. I did try to get the course off the ground two years ago, but it was too early. Once the new version of Facebook hit, it was much easier. 🙂

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