Social Networking in the Workplace

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One of the things I have noticed is that the corporate world has not kept up with the changes in technology and human interactions. We all know that most larger offices in particular block social networking sites such as Twitter and FB as well as others. Yet many of them have pages themselves on these sites. Really this type of attitude is much like the days when employers wouldn’t allow personal phone calls. Really, all it says is that they don’t trust their employees. The funny thing about this is that if I was to walk around to the IT department of my own employer you see members of the IT team on these sites and MSN etc. I know a few IT Administrators and they admit that a lot of the time these bans have nothing to do with productivity and corporate direction and more about the IT Department’s advise to Management. To add salt to this wound, the reason they usually give is that they believe that either it’s to save bandwidth or that if they allowed access it would increase their workload because they would have to spend more time on security.

We really are in a world now where networking and social media is the way to grow your business or build a positive profile. People need to be trusted in the first instance and in the end if they do their job then let them have that social aspect. It’s important for workplaces to realise that in order to increase productivity and happiness in the workplace you must show trust in your staff. One thing that is important is to allow employees to operate in a similar way to what they do at home. If an employee is comfortable it will increase productivity and happiness in the workplace. Suncorp Bank has announced that they will allow their staff to use their own computers at the office if they want to. I know if I was able to use my Mac at the office I would be much more comfortable because it’s what I am used to. Rather, I use a Mac at home and then come to work and have to use a Windows machine. Let’s face it, staff are accessing their social networking sites via their phones or tablets anyway, so maybe it’s time for companies to endorse this form of communication and give people the benefit of the doubt. Then you can monitor the usage statistics and productivity and make appropriate decisions. We live in a world now where open discussion leads to innovation, so open up this dialogue in the workplace. Develop an MSN style system within your organisation, build message boards, allow social media site access and entrust your staff and you will soon see both productivity and innovation as well as your brand boom.

I don't doubt that there will be people who will get slack but there will also be many who will flourish because they feel more connected to both those in the workplace and their real lives. This is only one of many issues I see in todays workplaces. I don't base my views just on my feelings but on much research and looking at that hard to find common sense approach. Look at everything in a workplace. That includes how people communicate to the whole open plan mess. You will find a new, creative, productive and booming business.

Digital You


Who are we? Well if I asked you about yourself you would tell me about the non-virtual you. The thing that I have realised is that I as a person have gone through many years of growing up. I was born and then over many years due to how I was raised, my experiences and my own self discovery have ended up with the person I am now.

Who we are online and how we interact online is a completely different matter. I’m not saying we are not ourselves although we know that many people have a completely different personality online. What I am saying is that we need to consider our digital self as a separate person. I know you may say that it’s still you but really it’s not.

Think of your digital self as a separate identity. Your digital self will still have the same values that your non digital self has but online is completely new and different, from the types of people you associate with to how you interact to your reputation. Think of your digital self as your child and you are raising it and constantly deciding who you are. We struggle with integrating this technology into our current persona because it is different.

In our lives our identity, who we are is a constant developing and changing thing. In the digital world it should be to. If we don’t consider our digital self as an entity of it’s own we will spend all our time trying to melt the digital and non digital side of us into one.

I realise what I am saying may seem difficult to understand and that is ok. As ‘online’ is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives it can become more and more difficult to work out where it all fits. This is why if we realise that our digital self is growing, and growing up constantly that we need to be flexible and be very clear that this is different to our real life identity. More and more people use the Internet to establish who you are, whether it’s a prospective partner, friend, prospective employer, stalker or a lot of other people. So it would make sense that you have to develop your online persona now before it becomes uncontrollable. protect those elements of yourself that need protecting and allow those things you want to appear in searches through.

We have all heard that once something is in the cloud it is there forever. At the same time we will all make mistakes and grow from them. The key is to think of your digital self as a person and start the process of raising your digital self.