Social Technology: Best/Worst Thing Ever?

Jason, I hope that you are enjoying the shift in weather. Spring is a favorite season of mine, it always feels like a fresh start on things…especially after this winter.

On to the business at hand.

Thanks for your post teeing up social technology…there is so much noise about this issue out there. I guess I have a paradoxical view regarding social technology, I think that social technology is very underrated and very overrated. That works for me, because as you like to remind me, I am a consultant and I do not have to make sense!

Getting on LinkedIn is not going to build social capital for you. But you can use LinkedIn to more effectively build social capital. Getting on Twitter is not going to build social capital for you. But you can use Twitter to more effectively build social capital. Having 17,374,981 “friends” on Facebook does not mean that you actually have any social capital. I guess I view the rapidly evolving world of social technology as similar in nature to steroids. Steroids alone will not make you a great athlete. You still have to be a really talented to play professional sports, but steroids can make you even better (although there is clearly a number of bad aspects to using steroids, so not a perfect analogy).

I think that new social technologies are absolutely changing the way that we interact, and some of those changes are good and some of them are bad. You and I as friends, as collaborators and as business partners communicate with each other in a variety of ways. But the vast majority of our really important and serious conversations still happen face to face. We use texting, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and this blog to complement an already very real relationship. That is a wonderful thing. But when social technology is used to replace, avoid or simply create the perception of a real relationship it is bad news…whether we are talking about a 1:1 relationship or the relationship between an organization and its workforce or its customers.

So, I think that the most important question that is not being asked is what kind of relationships do we want to have? As employees, as employers, as HR leaders, as business leaders, as citizens, parents, friends, neighbors, consumers…what do we want those relationships to be like?

I look forward to digging into this further.


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