Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Whither Social Networking

I read an interesting blog post by Luis Suarez where he is taking off on the BBC article about Facebook costing organizations a lot of Money. I think the issue is a little more than that.

Social networking has always existed (read old boys' club, alumni associations, office parties ...), and some have seen these as being positive and some as negative. I find these to be a very nice way of gathering information. Of course, from there on, its up to the person who is gathering information, to figure out how to use it. Could we blame the tool for its usage?

Once we agree that social networking has always existed, then the next question is, why is online, or virtual social networking seen to be such a pain ... Maybe it is, or maybe it isnt. I dont think I should comment on that, considering that I havent studied the subject enough. The fact of the matter, though, is, that if social networking sites are seen as time wasters, then people having extended smoke breaks, discussing so many different things in the smoking area, or over a cup of Coffee are also wasting time.

Should we, then, look at isolating online social networking? I dont think its about online versus offline in the first place. The way I see it, as I have written before, this is a manifestation of the friction of the existing organizational structure, and something that is emerging. While this may or may not be the actual reason (I am sure I am overlooking a lot more ...), the fact is that its not about Social Networking.

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