Social Media’s Impact on Workplace Communication & Learning

Posted on : December 27th, 2010
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Social Media is here to stay. No point debating that. It’s utilization in the workplace – now that’s debatable. So we put this debate forward to our fellow G-Cubians and got some interesting viewpoints.

Social Networking surely has its benefits. Making connections and building relationships comes with any corporate position. As Herojit Sharing feels, ‘My personal experience proved that whenever I interact with my client on Facebook its a completely different way of communicating and sharing ideas freely as compared to our official discussion board and Skype etc. The only condition is that if we block all the gaming/chatting tools on Facebook it can be great idea to implement Facebook in our working environment and definitely help in better communication’.

Another popular option for making connections, but more suitable for the workplace was LinkedIn. Sayantani Kundu reaffirms, ‘In LinkedIn we mostly like to get connected to people who either belong to our workplace or with those who are from our fields. For example in our organization, all of us would like to get connected those who are from the eLearning domain. LinkedIn can facilitate direct communication with top-level management. Winning new clients or building your professional reputation, LinkedIn connects you to your peers, and ideal business partners.’

So, while Social Media is definitely useful for a workplace, has it made its impact on learning or training? The needle draws closer to a ‘not yet’ response on that one. Its still early days, and the potential of social learning in the workplace is still to be tapped. But it does promise to be an innovative medium for corporate training, which often tend to be verging on repetitive and boring.

That brings us to what Vivek Pandey had to say on the topic – ‘From learning perspective, social networking in itself is just sheer time wastage. You end-up playing games, chatting and discussing some cynical subjects. I think social networks would have tools for informal learning but they are rarely attempted. I’ve been on FB for 4 years and have learned “literally nothing”.

On the contrary, focused social media devoid of such distractions, such as LinkedIn, or Yammer can help improve organizational performance and people capabilities. Couple of other highly recommended sites from my side would be Wikipedia & YouTube, which when filtered properly are full of knowledge and learning material.’

Other G-Cubians also seem to converge on the viewpoint that there is a need for proper filtering and administration for these sites to provide meaningful learning platform.

What are your thoughts on the above topic? How do you think social media can be best used for workplace learning? Should LMS or corporate Intranet provide this communication & learning platform, or should an organization try to achieve this by providing a controlled access to existing social media sites? Would love to hear your views.

Arunima Majumdar

Arunima is an e-learning blogger and likes discussing innovations in training & learning for the new-age corporate sector.

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