The Duo Core Generation

With so much said and done about social networking sites, there’s bound to be uses and abuses of them. 

Indeed, the use of social networking in the workplace is regarded as being controversial, with many having their say and questions about it. 

Young people tend to use social networking sites to keep in touch with their friends and enlarge their social circles. Some use it as a way to suss out potential mates, check out the competition, entertain their friends, and themselves, etc.

While there’s nothing wrong with that, what’s making employers and companies fret is that many of the employees are spending too much time working on their Facebook profiles, checking out how many people have invited them to be friends, or throwing sheep at each other!

According to a Straits Times article “We’re (net)working”, $390 million is lost a day due to loss of productivity caused by cyber-loafing. You say network, I say notwork? While employees may be tapping at their keyboards, they may not be engaging in any productive office work. They say that employees are getting distracted by MSN messages and pop-ups, etc.

Not only are companies concerned about the loss of productivity, they are also concerned that certain company trade secrets and practices may be knowingly or unknowingly revealed to outsiders. This is pretty much like the concern with employees blogging about work.

But is this the way to go? Perhaps companies need to know what they are dealing with a new breed of digital natives and going online to blog and network is part and parcel of their lives. And I have a new term for the new generation of digital natives. It’s “Duo Core Generation” with duo core brains which seem to allow digital natives to process separate tasks independently.

Perhaps instead of trying to beat them, some companies have tried to join them. One example is IBM. IBM warms to social networking and has started using IBM’s Lotus Connections which allows the whole company to engage and network. IBM staff write blogs and keep wikis and make use of social networking software to keep in the loop, thus creating a sense of one giant community.

Some other uses for Web 2.0 technologies in the workplace could be corporate wikis where the collective information and intelligence of staff could be stored and referenced, as well as company blogs that could clue newcomers in on company FAQs and the company culture and the like. Project blogs and wikis could be another collaborative space for working on team projects. It depends on the creativity of the company as well. Perhaps staff could suggest more ways that companies could use such 2.0 technologies more effectively in the workplace.

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