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The Blurred Line Between Business and Social Media

I was attending my daughter’s college orientation (the parent part anyway) last week when I had an epiphany.  Well, more like a Significant Thought.  The Thought was brought on by what appeared on the surface as a very inane question asked by one of the parents.  We were in a session about the high school to college transition, when a woman asked,  “With all of this new technology like the Facebook and instant messaging, how are you [the college] planning on making sure that my child doesn’t spend all his time in his room?  What are you going to do to make sure he gets involved in college social life?”

At first, I dismissed this as an uneducated parent who didn’t get the vast potential of these social media outlets to connect people together.  I mean, my daughter had already connected with a dozen other freshman who will be attending the school this fall, and has started to create a circle of social kinship before she even steps foot into her first classroom.  And with the power of these tools she can stay in contact with her high school and hometown friends more completely as well.  However, the more I mulled it over, the more I realized the logic of this woman’s concern.

Consider the sheer scale of these platforms.  If you read the statistics page on Facebook, the numbers are shocking:  500 million active users, 900 million objects (pages, groups and events) and over 30 billion pieces of content.  And according to the Twitter statistics page, there are over 140 million tweets sent per day.  And in the last two years, the record for tweets per second jumped from 456 to almost 7,000.

Cool numbers and all, but where is this Significant Thought?

If social media is to be a single pane of glass for both social and business interactions, how can we expect our workforce to segment their time and energy appropriately?  When in “social mode” should they ignore updates from the business connections?  When in the office, should they sift through the hundreds of updates and only pay attention to work-related posts?  Work is no longer a four-walled office in a different town or city.

Think of the above example:  you send your son or daughter off to college, where first and foremost they are to receive an education that will prepare them for their careers.  Of course there is the additional “education” they will receive in new social experiences, new friends, and a network of connections for the future.  College is a breeding ground for both social and business connections.  But the interface for the majority of these connections has merged with the advent social media, and herein the challenge.  How do we reap the benefits of a more integrated business/social ecosystem without losing the focus necessary to successfully participate in either?

Maybe this newer generation will have the skills necessary to effectively participate in both worlds at the same time.  If so, they will probably build those skills early on in their college or workplace experiences as they transition from predominately social entities to hybrid socio-business users.

Perhaps this particular student is just ahead of the curve.

A backlit keyboard.

Geoff Smith

Sr. Practice Director | Modern Workspace & Managed Services

Geoff has more than 30 years of experience working in all verticals and markets, from the SMB to the enterprise, focusing on the application of IT solutions that enable businesses to achieve their goals. As Practice Director of Managed Services and Modern Workspace, Geoff is focused on the development of co-sourced and federated Infrastructure Operations, Help Desk, Cloud, and Security Service Frameworks designed to optimize IT operations and drive economic value to the business.

Geoff helps develop new services and marketing strategies for the company, as well as provides strategy and support to GreenPages’ key clients. Prior to GreenPages, Geoff was the Director of Client Services for Managed Technology Partners, where he was part of an overlay team that architected a new services methodology, marketing strategy, and client acquisition model. Geoff’s professional certifications include CCSP, MCNE, and VTSP. Geoff earned a BS in Computer Science from Westfield State College.