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Do ‘healthy’ organisations need Facebook?

Somebody asked me last week was social media a good or bad thing for organisations.  They were not thinking about its marketing role such as generating direct feedback on products and services, but in a more general way. Was people chatting together via Facebook or networking via Linked In a ‘good thing’.

My instinctive reaction was more than probably not: it’s distracting; people lose focus on the task at hand; it has a bad impact on productivity etc.

Then, I thought about it some more and wondered whether perhaps social media is just a modern expression about something fundamentally human, the need to connect and identify with others? And maybe there is something very important and even organisationally useful about this.

An evolutionary psychologist Robin argues that social language - chatter, gossip and title-tattle - is the human equivalent of grooming’ amongst primates like Chimpanzees. It is the essential activity that glues together the group, the troop or the tribe.

Other psychologists have also wondered about whether social media chatter is the means by which we are learning to build cohesion and bonding amongst groups of dispersed individuals. Maybe Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other media platforms have a role to play in establishing the social capital in organisations that is needed to underpin trust building, collaboration and mutual support.

They are the very necessary way in which we get to know each other. Perhaps social media is the modern equivalent of camaraderie building of working together in the field the mine or the farm.


Comments on this Post

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