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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Social Networking Not Corporate Enough for Your Company?

If you think that social networking is just a fad or is only good for social things like what album you like or what what book you are reading...but is not appropriate for work...think again.

Some of the most sophisticated information analysis, exchange and monitoring agencies are using social networking software to make their information gathering process stronger and more meaningful. According to the article CIA, FBI push 'Facebook for spies' at the CIA, FBI and the National Security Agency bosses are encouraging their staffs to use a new social-networking site designed for the super-secret world of spying to exchange information. The social networking application is called A-Space.

As the article states:
The goal of A-Space, like intelligence analysis in general, is to protect the United States by assessing all the information available to the spy agencies. Missing key data can have enormous implications, such as an FBI agent who sent an e-mail before September 11, 2001, warning of people learning to fly airplanes but not learning to land them.

"There was the question, 'Was that a dot that failed to connect?' Well that person did this via e-mail," Wertheimer said. "A-Space is the kind of place where you can log that observation and know that your fellow analysts can see that."

Now imagine what "dots" in your organization are never connected? What new product is under development in your R&D department that would fit the exact need expressed by a customer just a few days ago? What new sales technique was just used to land the big account that is similar to 40% of your prospective clients? What new training method or other new piece of information is currently lost in your organization because they are lost in an email?

Social networking is a powerful learning and collaboration tool...not just something to do "socially." As a learning and development professional or any other professional, strongly consider creating a social network within your organization. It will collectively raise the ability of the entire organization to "connect the dots."


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Bart said...

This is one of the major modules of my IST 110 course. Included in the module we discuss social networking as it pertains to personal efficiency, then move on to social networking applications for business. A lockheed martin director spoke here last year, and they are doing amazing things internally with social networking tools to enhance business and make the organization more efficient.

I'm hoping to build a class down the road that specifically deals with this topic. It may not be necessary, as most of our IST students have already taken to these tools for personal use, but are seeing the value and also utilizing them for organizing teams and completing coursework.

Karl Kapp said...


I think a social networking class would be a great idea, even though students understand how they work socially, I am not sure students (or even corporate folks for that matter) understand how to make them work effectively for a real exchange of knowledge and information so that it adds value. Few organizations are as far along as Lockheed Martin in terms of leveraging social networks...but they should be.

Anonymous said...

The dissenters of the social networking boom are likely the result of the following link:

The above are a minority but shows the web at its most bizarre. However I have thought of many great uses that Social Networks could be used in various metasegments such as a family social network where you bridge geographical gaps and work towards engaging online with grandma, aunts, and cousins you know exist but are detached from in the physical sense.

I am working on creating a few with the help of the web. Who knows maybe ill be the next "TOM."