Here’s a very interesting IHT article about the impact of social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter (thanks to my friend Michael Riggs via Facebook). Users of these tools develop “ambient awareness” of people to whom they are connected, whether strongly or weakly. So for instance I’m connected via Facebook to Bob who graduated from high school with me 20 years ago. We haven’t met since, but through his daily updates I now get a very good sense of his loathes and loves. Multiply this by many other connections and you get this “ambient awareness” of your entire network.
Now imaging having this ambient awareness within organisations. Imagine knowing what your colleagues in another part of the building/city/country/globe are thinking or working on, and being able to connect and collaborate far more easily because you kinda know each other even though you’ve never met. This, I think, is what companies like IBM, Microsoft and Deloitte are trying to achieve with their internal social networks (see this Computerworld article for more). Is social networking for every organisation? I don’t think so. I thnk the organisation would need to be of a certain size (above 150 employees?) or geoprahically dispersed, and with leaders who won’t view employees’ status updating as a waste of time.
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