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Social Networking

Posted by on 15 Sep 2007 | Tagged as: Social Networking

I was scanning the blogs I have subscribed to and ran across this short Captivate video on how an organization is using social networking to connect their members before a conference. As I’m watching this many ideas start coming to mind about how people could use this in their companies, in their college programs, and in other organizations they’re involved in.

In work settings: I was thinking about the fact that many companies have people spread all over the country, as well as the world. How great would this type of technology be for all of those employees to connect to one another. They could share ideas about what is working and what isn’t. They could share best practices about everyday activities. They could even connect with another employee near them if they have a job they need help with.

In addition, I thought of international conventions that many companies have. This type of social networking could be used with all of the participants for that conference in the same way that it’s used with this organization. It could help employees network before even coming to the convention.

In school settings: The most beneficial idea I thought of for an educational program is to help people network with each other before coming to the program. It would be a great way for students to get to know each other before actually meeting each other. For any education setting, the first day or even the first few weeks, it’s sometimes difficult for people to feel comfortable speaking out in class when they don’t know the person sitting next to them. (I know this from my experience being a teacher.) Because of this, discussions sometimes lag and not as many ideas are voiced. A social networking technology could help with that problem. If people are talking and have at least been introduced before walking into the classroom, there is more of a chance they will express their opinions and insights on a particular topic to the class at large.

Other organizations: In the same fashion as this organization has used a social networking technology, so could most organizations, especially those that expand to the far reaches of the world. I would love the opportunity to get new ideas in the world of training from more experienced trainers in different parts of the world if the organizations I’m involved with used something like this. It would be an incredibly beneficial learning experience.

Dilemmas: However, there are some dilemmas I’ve thought of as well. The largest hurdle any organization has to overcome is the fact that some people are resistant to new technologies. So, there would need to be much thought involved in how to present and roll this out to any type of group. Another deterring factor is the amount of time it takes for users to feel comfortable with not only a new technology, but this whole idea of making information about yourself available to someone you’ve never met. There has to be some time alloted for people to get used this new way of connecting and networking. Most people are used to networking in face-to-face situations, so if they have never used any kind of social networking tool before, there will be an adjustment period.

Despite the dilemmas and hurdles that would need to be overcome, a social networking technology such as this one, would help people grow and build relationships that would have never formed if this application were not available.