Ready or Not, written by Pat Galagan, explored how social media is changing the landscapes of people’s lives, primarily work. Galagan started his article debunking George Orwell’s claim that Big Brother is watching us. He instead stated that people are watching other people more especially with the tools available to everyone now – social networking sites. Evidence to this are a third of adults posting to Facebook and Twitter at least once a week, 60 percent maintaining a social network profile, and 70 percent reading blogs and tweets and watching online videos.
Consequently, people have increased their concern with how others in their network are thinking, listening, reading, feeling, and doing, among others. Galagan primarily stressed the prevalence of social media in the workplace. Not only is it used as a communication tool, a branding instrument, and a novel way to learn work nowadays but also as a means of changing some practices in organizations. For instance, employees now utilize social networking sites to get instant reviews from peers, co-workers, and bosses instead of waiting for the annual performance review.
With this, employees now get rid of dreaded annual talk with bosses and readily get real-time answer on how to improve their work. Furthermore, another area that social media now changes is the recruitment process. At present, some companies utilize social networking sites like Youtube to reach out to potential employees. Some have also designated people as official posters and bloggers and have further trained them to do the job effectively. Besides performance reviews and recruitment, social media is also reinventing the way people use the organizational chart.
Instead of the traditional climbing of the hierarchy, people who wish to take the easy way use their social networks to get to the people they want to reach. All these developments result to companies now providing in-house social networking tools for employees to harness their engagement in the company’s goals. Moreover, social media also makes collaboration – even with strangers – possible. It is important to note that sometimes people do not care about the credibility of these sources and instead give their trust fully to the social system, like how much people rely on Wikipedia.
Therefore, the demand for social analytics will increase in the near future. However, Galagan pointed out that while social networking analysis may be evident in the future, users may be reluctant to give accurate responses knowing that their behavior is being analyzed by some software. Hence, before tapping into such analysis, organizations should gain the trust of the people it wishes to include in the analysis. Furthermore, the concern on privacy and confidentiality as well as how data will be used and communicated should be addressed first.
While some managers still raise an eyebrow to the effectiveness of using social media because they see it as a waste of time and regard it as risky, some companies discover that its value outweigh its risks. In conclusion, Galagan asked if the social system is now being too social. Here, he cited Edelman Digital senior vice president David Armano, saying that much of people’s socialization is not a technological issue but an anthropological one. Hence, as more businesses jump into the bandwagon of utilizing social media to their advantage, the need to understand people and culture will thus be beneficial.