I’ve complained about information overload before. As we get into lists and networks and blogs, and microblogs, we subject ourselves to information from increasingly diverse sources. Some of these are annoying sources that we wish we didn’t have anything to do with (your nephew’s farmville updates on Facebook), while others are truly valuable if you could just keep up with them (that HR analyst that has 50 posts per day on Twitter).
I’ve also written before that I think that the value I provide will never be on Twitter – I honestly just can’t stay on top of it that often considering the work that I do for clients. However, I do feel that I can provide value to my readership with longer, more thoughtful pieces like this on a more mainstream and “traditional” blog. Personally, I basically have 4 sources of information and the same 4 sources that I use to connect with the Web 2.0 world. These are this blog, systematicHR, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The first two I use every day, the last two I use very little.
The point of this is that I have decided that it’s impossible to have any sort of a meaningful experience if I’m spread too thin across 10 different networks. Yes, I’m registered on all sorts of social media accounts that I never check.
As an employee, you need to determine what the method is going to be right for you (facebook once a day? twittter 50 times a day?) You also need to figure out what your goals are for participation. Is it about career? Is it about networking? Getting on the cutting edge? Is it about increasing your own personal effectiveness or a team’s effectiveness?
The great thing about information overload is there is a solution, While information overload is problematic for just about everyone, the problem is also the solution. If you have many choices about where to go for information, then you have a more manageable environment. People need to apply their time spent in networks with more thoughtfulness.
This is actually where it gets tricky. We as an HR organization can help employees decipher what type of participation they should be having based on their habits and goals. However, determining the overall set of Web 2.0 technologies to deploy within our organizations that will support the many types of interactions that are possible while not limiting the possibilities is a tight rope to walk. The organization has to determine what the best methods are without restricting too many modes where people will find meaningful experiences.
You might automatically say that microblogging will never happen, but what about microblogging the town hall for people who could not attend the event live? How about the opportunities to constantly update the project team in the week right before a major implementation go-live? Based on the goals of employees, the goals of the organization and the culture that you operate in, there probably is a good answer for a set of Web 2.0 technologies you should deploy. The answer however, is less around how you want employees to collaborate, and more about how you create meaningful experiences for those employees. Without meaningful experiences, a collaboration environment never takes off.