Social networking systems – opportunity or waste of time

Many organizations remain concerned that allowing access to social networking sites at work can cause wasted time and distraction – and it is undoubtedly true that this is a risk. I have heard Facebook referred to as “social notworking”.

But there is a growing feeling that social networking can generate opportunities – to connect people and to make expertise and help more visible in large organizations.

BT is to roll out Facebook-style social networking services to its 100,000 UK employees. It expects to make “significant gains in productivity, help the organization keep track of the skills of its workforce and make it easier for BT staff to find the right experts within the company for the projects they are working on.”

I guess it will be a good test bed to see what is the balance of cost and benefit. We are starting to work with clients on how these social media tools can support virtual teams and matrix organizations – there is definitely something in it.

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