Hang on, don’t disappear, I know, I know….the title might not be the biggest crowd puller but bear with me, I have a conversation I’d love to have with you and seeing as I know that most people who read my blog get here via social media I need you to stick around and add your thoughts. Please, could really do with them.
Earlier today @carlhaggerty asked the twittersphere what would their message be to senior managers about the benefits of social media and social learning. My response was an impulsive ‘they can’t afford not to’, which led to Carl asking me whether I could imagine doing my job without social media.
This got me thinking. Blame Carl.
The short answer to Carl, and what I’d like to kick off a conversation about, is that yes I can. Up until about 18mths ago I happily lived my professional life without social media, I think its fair to say that most of the people who I deal with in my professional life are unfamiliar with social media, as a sector adult social care is not known for embracing technology, a lot of the staff are overburdened, under-equipped (technologically) and to be blunt overwrought with the amount of change they are currently dealing with.
Personally social media has without doubt aided my networking; it has introduced me to new people, concepts and learning opportunities; stimulated, frustrated and illuminated in equal measure. For me social media has enabled me to reap many, many benefits. That said it has required time, equipment, mental capacity, personal commitment and a genuine, personal interest and love of people….I’m not sure it would work without those things and I’m not convinced it is the answer!
Increasingly I am reading tweets, blog posts and emails that imply or infer that if only people would use social media life would be transformed. It almost certainly would be – but who knows whether for the better or worse.
I genuinely believe that social media has a lot to offer. I also believe it is simply a tool, a vehicle, a prompt, a conversation starter, an aid….for me it helps what would otherwise happen in real life, it can lead to amazing things, but as with most things in life it can also backfire.
So in response to Carl’s brilliant question – I can imagine doing my job without social media, I am also completely convinced I do a better job as a result of using social media. I discovered lots of social media by accident, I safely played with it in my real life before touching it for work, I would have run a mile if someone had tried to insist or convince me to use it.
Maybe that’s just me, I don’t now, I’m rarely convinced by evangelism. Please keep spreading the social media love people, but please remember it is not the magical solution…in ten years time I imagine social media will take the place of email now, at least in my life – a life changing tool that at times I wish had never been invented! That said, people don’t know what they don’t know so I think our real challenge is to share the benefits, in a positive environment where no question is too stupid and support people to learn the challenges and opportunities for themselves. I’m confident that Carl will be doing exactly that this afternoon. Hope it goes well.
If anyone has any thoughts, comments or reflections, rebuttals or counter arguments I’d love to hear them. Would also love to know of your best examples of how social media has helped or hindered your professional lives … or links to similar discussions elsewhere. Thank you.