Posted by Iker Ibanez
There are two aspects I find interesting about social networks, specially those ones oriented to our leisure time, and are precisely two impacts they have on our other life, the professional one.
The blurred boundary
Not so much time ago, before Facebook came into our lives, there used to be a more or less clear boundary between our life at work and our life out of it. Yes, post work drinks have existed for very long, but there was still a boundary which allowed us to have two separate compartments that had little communication or interaction between them. But suddenly things changed, Facebook (and more recently Google+) came into our lives, allowing us to establish a link with our colleagues, friends, family and other relatives in which the boundaries between our professional and personal lives are blurred.
Some would argue that this could bring a number of issues in terms of our privacy, and I tend to agree that there is always a risk that someone might regret a post, a comment or a picture, but these sites normally give the -advanced- user a way of controlling their privacy and exposure. However, I still find this possibility very interesting as it has a very positive impact in the human relations within the enterprise, providing a space that allows for a more personal, human interaction between colleagues that creates stronger bonds between team members.
It is only a few years since these networks are widely adopted, but a positive impact can already be seen in teams that are already blurring the boundary. As always, there will probably be some downsides, but so far, I would say so good.
Breaking the siloes
There is another interesting thing, which more than a real impact is some sort of potential application of these social networks. Internal communication in big organizations is an issue. It is probably one of the biggest challenges organizations face. Information, expertise and knowledge sharing are a common problem which, lets admit it, we have still not manage to resolve. What about adopting a social networking strategy?. Is there anything we can learn from Facebook and similars?. I think there is.
You and I are now connected to hundreds of people all over the world, from which we receive regular updates about what they are doing, where they just checked-in or what they are eating. Real time. Anywhere.
Think about applying this to your organization and the power of such a tool. You choose who to follow, whose updates you are interested in receiving, you post information of your activity at work and share it with whom might find it interesting. You find your colleagues by expertise, location… Interesting? I really think so.