Social Media Coming to a Job Near You

via Flickr by Franco Bouly

Fact #1: Facebook recently passed the 500 million-user mark (no I didn’t accidentally add a zero).  There are only ~900 million computer users in the world.

Fact #2: The average amount of time the typical person spent on Facebook (7 hours, 1 minute per month) is more than Google (1:23), Yahoo (2:09), YouTube (1:02), Microsoft/Bing (1:35), Wikipedia (0:15), and Amazon (0:22) combined!

When I worked for Procter & Gamble back in 1995, they were just starting to require that everyone use email.  I remember there were a few managers that refused.   One person that sticks out in my memory was a woman who told everyone that instead of email, you should call or write a hand-written note and put it on her desk.  She was proud of her refusal to adapt to the times.

Email has transformed how people communicate at work, and I think we will see a similar transformation in the next decade.  This time, Social Media will be the catalyst.  It’s already transformed how people interact with their friends.  I used to shoot off email to communicate with my friends, update my photos on Flickr, and chat using Yahoo Messenger.  Now, all of that activity is centered in one place – Facebook.  It’s more efficient and more engaging.

To get a peek into the future and how we’ll be communicating (and working), just look at how younger people are using technology today.

  • They don’t like using email and prefer to text.
  • They use their smart phones more than their computers.
  • They aren’t as worried about privacy and much more willing to make their news public.
  • They love Social Networking sites.

How do you think that these trends might affect the work that you do?  It may not right now, but when the next generation hits the work force, you better be ready to communicate using Social Media.

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1 thought on “Social Media Coming to a Job Near You”

  1. Great wake-up call, Ken! At HP in the 1990’s there was a general manager who had his administrative assistant print out his email for him to read. Hilarious! In fact I’m totally convinced that, if email were invented today, it would be forbidden in 90% of corporate environments.

    Poor communication is one of the top causes of failure to achieve goals, and we need to embrace more effective ways to communicate. Although I still use email as a central location for my communication, a lot of my email these days are alerts that someone has sent me a message on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, my favorite social media hangouts. And I notice that people who would never bother to send me an email do bother to comment on my Facebook updates. With over half of computer users signed up, no business person can afford to ignore Facebook.

    Also, I travel to Japan pretty much every month to work there, delivering intensive Global Leadership Development Programs with my team to high-potential leaders in global Japanese businesses. A lot of them rely heavily on their phones for most of their data communication, not their PCs. Although Japanese businesses have resisted the trend toward social media in business, it’s happening slowly as companies at least realize that they need to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia. (It’s especially amusing to see which companies choose not to put their company information on Wikipedia, since anyone can edit their basic page for them. Wouldn’t they prefer to control what goes out there to the world’s most popular encyclopedia?!)

    The world is changing. As Deming said “No one has to change. Survival is optional.”

    – Kimberly Wiefling, Author, Scrappy Project Management, a top selling project management book in the US for the past 3 years.

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