The Evolution Of Professional Self On Social Media

Here are two facts about life in 2015 that you may or may not like, depending on your familiarity with and attitudes toward social media. And your beliefs about what the term "professional" means.

The first is that you are you, always you, no matter where you are. There you are on Instagram, on Pinterest, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook and Reddit. You are there in the comments, you are there in your vacation pics and the memes you repost. The news stories you share and the comments you like, oh the comments.

People get to know you as an amalgam of all of these things. And while your quirky personality may have been a professional liability five years ago, it is a tremendous asset now. You should absolutely be yourself, and the more you are yourself the happier you'll be as well as the more employable.

The second is that social media is more and more realizing its capacity as the ultimate crowdsourcing tool for reason. By that I mean, information that is useful will bubble up to the top. If it is logical, helpful, rational it will rise. If it is emotionally raw in an engaging and meaningful way it will rise. If it brings people together it will also rise. On the other hand if it's irrational ranting and raving, propaganda and hate, or if it's self-indulgent trash, it will sink.

Nowadays people look you up online. You have no choice, really, but to be yourself.

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All opinions my own.

10 Typical Concerns About Social Intranets

I am not suggesting that these are right or wrong, only that they represent the kinds of things people say. I am also not suggesting that having concerns is inherently a bad thing. In every single organization I have worked for, some variation on these themes has come up.

1. "If they (employees) have an open forum and complain about something, we will be liable if we don't fix it."

2. "They will complain nonstop. Especially the troublemakers."

3. "They will spend all day talking about nothing, instead of doing their work."

4. "The union will be all over us."

5. "Do you know how many (legal, IT security, HR...) issues this brings up?"

6. "And who is going to staff this thing?"

7. "What is the authoritative version? What if someone puts out misinformation?"

8. "If the employees can just communicate with one another, what do they need communicators for?"

9. "Work is not social. Work is work."

10. "I don't understand why they can't just use email."

My own personal view is that the more evolved your leadership and management culture is, the less likely you are to hear these kinds of things. Because the workplace of the future is essentially about a geographically distributed small team, collaborating within a larger network, to get things done. Open communication promotes trust, and trust promotes collaboration.

Of course the elephant in the room is = what happens when we are so productive with so few resources and such high technology that we simply don't need as many staff? And don't need the traditional hierarchical management style (read: SES jobs and excessive layers of middle management). What happens when people simply join the civil service, self-organize, pick a project, and check in with compliance experts to make sure they are following the law?

I can't answer that, but economic realities will force us to ask the question.

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Opinions my own.

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