Friday, September 26, 2008

social media makes us smarter

Some people are not open to using social media tools like Facebook, twitter and MySpace for business purposes, because they see them being used for fun. Sure, they are full of silliness as people throw virtual sheep at each other, exchange virtual gifts, play games, take quizzes, and build cluttered profiles of movie trivia and friend lists.

But what do we do with email? We send each other funny cat pictures, pass on articles on the latest Darwin award, plan parties, spread rumors, distribute chain letters, e-cards, videos, and even love letters. I suppose that means we shouldn't be using email for legitimate business purposes because of all the silliness and fluff that abounds .

For that matter, we should quit using the internet entirely! Why, you can find jokes, games, videos, subversive political organizations, dating services, comics, even porn on the internet. Holy cow, with that kind of mess out there, how could we possibly consider using it on the context of work?

Social media tools aren't just toys. They are only tools, and any tool is only as good as what it is used for. As our workforce becomes more distributed and mobile with travel and telecommuting, people will need to put more effort into collaboration or risk losing effectiveness by being too out of touch. There are so many tools available these days, beyond email, and some of them may be just the ticket for getting things done at or away from work.

Besides, that social stuff? It turns out it just makes us smarter.

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