A friend of mine was recently telling me about taking his son and son’s friends to a movie. At the end, rather that talking to each other , they all got on their cell phones and started texting each other and friends who were not there about the movie. It was described to me as one of those revealing moments where my friend realized that the way we communicate is changing in such a fundamental way, and the reach of our communications is so broad real time, that the very fabric of our social existence morphs every few seconds.
We all seem to be waiting to experience the “greatness” that is coming with the implementations of HR social medias. The possibilities abound and the theories are tremendous. At the same time, we’ve all experienced the realities of the downside. Anyone who has a iPhone or Blackberry understands the incredible portability and ubiquitosity ((I reserve the right to make up new words whenever I want to)) of facebook and twitter. I myself recently posted on the systematicHR twitter page that I felt like missing 5 minutes of feeds pushed me out of the HR loop. There really is that much going on, and some HR thought leaders are literally pushing out hundreds of tweets a day.
Social medias have the wild possibility of changing the way we live our lives, they literally change the landscape and timeline of our social existence on a minute by minute basis. Some find these to be fascinating times, and I think they are. But treating them without some reservations might just get us into trouble.
We’ve all also sat in restaurants with people and found first hand what incredible conversation stoppers social medias on our portable devices can be. Kids are starting to have trouble doing homework because they can’t turn off the messaging out of facebook. Heck – not even in restaurants or at home in personal situations, in half of the meetings I go to, someone is sneaking peeks at their blackberry under the table and doing e-mails or facebook updates.
Real time communications are a beautiful thing. I firmly believe that the transformation in how we work and interact with broader spheres than was not possible a few short years ago will bring tremendous advances in innovation and service models. But we have also been proceeding down the path that these social medias will self govern – people will moderate the community’s “bad behavior.” The problem is that in everyday life, we have seen that “bad behavior” permeates every event and activity. We simply can’t help ourselves and our physical, face to face interactions seem to be suffering. How do you encourage this and govern it at the same time?