The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

Getting on the Non-Social-Media Bandwagon

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 (1) 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?

Thoughts?

References

1.
  I reserve the right to make up new words whenever I want to

3 comments

  1. Bill Kutik /

    Sorry, Dubs, people should make up words — it is how the language grows — only when perfectly good ones don’t already exist. In this case, “ubiquity” would have expressed your idea perfectly. Knowing that you’re doing otherwise, does not make it acceptable.

  2. Many adore social nets– for some very good reasons. But there is also irrational exuberance, not at all supported by current practices, let alone data about results.

    Rossett, A. & Marshall, James. (January, 2010). E-learning. What’s old is new again. Training & Development. http://www.astd.org/TD/Archives/2010/Jan/Free/1001_eLearning_Whats_Old.htm

    You can follow me on twitter @arossett

  3. The kid and his friends were texting because those who had been at the movie wanted the connection with those who hadn’t been. Short, rapid one-to-one messages (the typical text) were their method of choice. It’s a way they get together.

    As for your feeling that you were missing five minutes of feeds: well, you were. For myself, the reply would be, that’s fine.

    Twitter, like other microblogs, isn’t a mailbox; it’s a river. It flows when you’re connected and when you’re not. It flows when there’s high relevance and when there’s none whatsoever. Once you follow more than few dozen people, you can’t possibly read everything. So don’t.

    As with the news on broadcast media, if something really important (to you) is on Twitter, sooner or later you’ll hear about it. That might not even BE via Twitter.

    How does a person learn to “govern” these things? (Strikes me as an authoritarian phrasing, not that you asked.) How a person learns to manage is much like how you learn to manage any other tool. You ask others, you do some research, you try things out in different circumstances. You overdo it for a while, maybe.

    Clay Shirky suggests that information overload isn’t the problem, filtering is. Managing your resources is a form of filtering. I have my email set to check every 30 minutes–nothing in my world that’s really urgent is going to come via email.

    I’ve got mail rules set up to automatically file certain kinds of mail because I don’t really need to read it.

    On my phone, I’ve got distinctive ringtones set for my immediate family and my extended family. That helps me decide whether to even look at the phone in off-hours: I don’t have the kind of client who calls on Sunday afternoon.

    Anyone else who calls can leave a message (voicemail as filter).

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