Social Media Week: Sharing Economy Throw-down: Engaging People #SMWldn

people talking

Conversations at Social Media Week

Today’s Sharing Economy Throw-down as part of Social Media Week London looked promising, with a panel that consisted of Gareth Davies , Waggener Edstrom; David Keene, Google; Doug Shaw, What Goes Around; and Luis Suarez, IBM and was moderated by Andy Bargery (Klaxon Marketing/London Bloggers Meet Up) in the beautiful offices of furniture designers Hermann Miller in London.

The conversations didn’t take us quite where expected, but were, nonetheless, interesting. The following is a summary of some of the main themes – the audio should be available soon. The fact that these themes were discussed doesn’t mean that we at Global Integration agree with all of them. Indeed, I expect (and hope) my colleagues to have a thing or two to say in response!

The panel started off in a very promising way. Shaw argued that connections give us meaning (and social media enables those connections). Davies, meanwhile, suggested that the blurred lines between work and home lives will bring increased mindfulness to our online interactions as we struggle to keep parts of our lives ‘private’.

Suarez, by contrast, suggested that what we share defines who we are and that the main challenge of the collaborative economy is opening up – knowledge, traditionally, is power. The loss of control that comes with collaboration, and social media use in particular, is a major management challenge.

Recurrent issues throughout the panel discussion were:

  • Work life balance – Knowledge workers are always ‘on’, resulting in a strong need to focus. Davies argued that we no longer have a work life balance, we have a work life continuum to manage.
  • Attention management: making sense of the huge volumes of data (information) and keeping productivity in context.
  • Digital footprints: The separation of personal and work identities and whether it’s feasible; and to what extent our online lives are viewed by businesses (and how they react to them).
  • Working together can be hard: collaborative environments require honesty and openness – and they need strong management to make it work.
  • Trust: it’s hard to earn and easy to lose.

Driving the changes into a more ‘collaborative’ economy are:

  • Human behaviour: it’s hard to deny support to others.
  • The corporate world has often incentivised different, unnatural behaviours. Collaboration fulfils a human need.
  • The work place has ‘consumerised’.

Adopting a more ‘open’ workplace needs a changed mindset:

  • Trust needs developing, and power/control addressing.
  • Sales environments  can be competitive – creating a win or lose (someone gets a bonus, someone gets fired) when ‘together’ could be better.
  • The corporate firewall will have to be demolished except for high IP material (sharing being a valuable currency).
  • Openness and transparency come with challenges, notably feelings/emotions.
  • Most companies reward for not sharing (knowledge is power and those with the knowledge are rewarded) and  create targets that in turn encourage bad behaviours.
  • Pay in a company should be more transparent.
  • CEOs need to be more open and adopt social media.
  • Company values (if it’s possible for a company to have collective values) and behaviours need to be embedded in the recruitment process.

Some things will remain unchanged. Shaw suggests that work is a place – somewhere to go.  Social media, he argues, is a place – and allows us to be in lots of places at the same time.

So what do you think? Let the conversations begin!

About the author:

Claire Thompson Claire has a background in PR and communications, and has worked in the UK and abroad for many years. Within Global Integration, she's the frontline for co-ordinating the blogging, social media, posting and general digital magic that team members ask for support with. It keeps her busy - she loves it! Google+ Profile: .

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