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Blog : Talent; Technology and Twenty-first Century practice


Talent; Technology and Twenty-first Century practice

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I wonder if, in the 1960s, someone delivered a presentation about the role of the Television and work. Or if my counterpart in the 1990s delivered a "work and the internet" speech.

Doubtful, yet here I am de-mystifying this thing called social media. Why is it that we appear to have a bigger dilemma over social media than technologies of the past? Do it? Don’t do it? What are the implications?

The answer? HR and business has to get ‘connected’ and therefore it's my pleasure to be able to take you on a journey through what is increasingly a maze, a conundrum and a fascinating window to a world we have yet to fully explore.

Where do we begin?

1997 will do.

We'd had the internet for just over 10 years and already seen a shift from webmaster-only created content; to more "user generated" content - largely comments on articles and in some cases, articles themselves. People took to this new found freedom post-dot com boom and created a journal-style reflection of their world/day/work/thoughts - a web-based log. Or a web-log. Which soon became a blog (Peter Merholz is credited with splitting the words into ‘we blog’ around 1997).

Next to 2004. An Olympic year at the home of the Olympiad.

And we're just starting to see social networking come into play. That’s right, it was only 10 years ago that Facebook was created on a Harvard campus with a few hundred users.

It's now difficult to remember a time BF - before Facebook.  The word "facebooking" has entered our lexicon as a verb. "Just spent a couple of hours facebooking my friends in Tamworth/Toledo/Tallahassee" is a normal thing to say. We’ve no doubt seen the movie; it’s significantly likely we’ve logged onto the platform and got the bug – waking up daily to see how many ‘likes’ or ‘tags’ we’ve received in the last eight hours.

Through the power of the social web we can see how four years on, in 2008, Facebook had grown from a 1 million users to 140 million. That's some shift and a growth rate enviable to most businesses. On the same timeline as Facebook we had MySpace, Windows Live Spaces, Blogger and WordPress. However their popularity, aside from Wordpress, diminished and was soon overtaken by Facebook, leaving them to visit the social media cemetery.

We then leap to the present day. And 1.15 billion Facebook users; over 1.1 billion G+ (that’s Google Plus) accounts; 500 million twitter accounts and 70 million Pinterest users (and that's still considered a nice/minority social network).

#OMG indeed.

We can also see the infusion of devices into our lives. Before it was ‘Why would anyone want a phone with a camera on?’ now it’s ‘Why would anyone want a camera?’. Everyone has a device capturing the "I was there" moment - just take a look at the image on the left of the papal inauguration. A mere eight years has passed and look at the difference. In the top image, one small flip-phone in the bottom right. In the lower photo it’s hard to spot an individual taking in the surroundings without doing so through a smart phone.



There's no doubting the spread - if we had any that is - of social media into our lives. Next week I’ll look at the impact of social technology in the work environment. But for now, how does social technology impact your personal life? 


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