Social Networking and Organizational Learning
By: Kathleen Iverson
Prior to the Internet, the last technological innovation that had a significant effect on the way people sat and talked together was the table (Shirkey, 2003). The web has transformed the way we communicate, learn, and work, and in the very near future, it will transform the way we manage organizations. Web 2.0 technologies including blogs, wikis, social networking sites, and virtual worlds are more personalized and interactive than first generation web applications (Web sites and e mail) and offer opportunities for proactive participation, sharing, connectivity, and collaboration, the very underpinnings workplace learning and performance.
Web 2.0 tools allow employees at Dell, Starbucks and IBM to connect with each other to share ideas and information and form communities. IBM also uses social networking to capture expertise throughout the organization and 3M uses it for the sharing of ideas and research information among experts (Bersen, 2008). Gensler, Honeywell, and Nestle are using both external (You Tube) and internal streaming video to communicate culture, teamwork, and share best practices. Web 2.0 has gone beyond blogs, wikis, and video to include a virtual world known as Second Life. Second life hosts conferences, learning and social networking events for hundreds of organizations as diverse as Harvard University, IBM, and Cisco. The attached PDF, Web 2.0 Learning Applications contains links to a number of common social networking products and their potential uses in organizations. Although this list is not exhaustive, it is good starting point for those who want to learn the talk or delve deeper into the various technologies.
Points of Discussion
Is your organization utilizing social networking strategies? If so, which ones? How do you think social networking will or should impact organizational learning in the future? What are the challenges ahead? What are the benefits? Add a comment to let us know what you think.