We are very much in agreement regarding the power of social media…and you raise a wonderful question regarding the future implications of the rapid integration of these tools into our personal and professional lives.
I think that, truth be told, we do no fully understand the current impact of these tools on us , let alone the impact on our children, but here are some thoughts, and I think that these are also relevant to HR and the evolving organization.
Increased significance of weak ties: I can still only manage a relatively small number of close relationships or strong ties, but social media allows me to develop, maintain and manage many more weak ties than before. Twitter and Facebook are great examples of this. Not only are these tools valuable in creating and/or maintaining those weak ties, it also makes it easier for me to benefit from those weak ties…because those weak ties are consistently sharing information. So, the size of my weak ties network has grown drastically and the role that the weak ties play in my life has also grown drastically.
Professional asset: For some folks and some professions this is nothing new, but on a broader scale social capital is increasingly becoming viewed as a significant professional asset. You are a good example of this. It is going become more important to their professional success that our children are able to build and maintain a vibrant network, and that they are able to demonstrate the value of that network to prospective employers or collaborators.
Specialized tools: Our children will be able to be much more intentional about seeking out specific new components to add to their network…when they want to find specific people or specific kinds of people to start relationships with they will easily be able to find them and we already have made progress in this direction.
More self directed personal/professional opportunity outside of organizations: I think that we will continue to see individuals able to do more things, find more things and create more things without the involvement of traditional organizations. Not sure that organizations are going to go away, but their role will continue to change and I think we will see a gradual increase in the number of us that are self-employed and involved in a variety of projects with a variety of other people.
What else do you see changing?