The world is evolving. The internet which was just a source of information and services before (the days of Web 1.0) is now a formidable giant thanks to a certain something called “Social Networking”.
So, what is social networking and how did it come to be so important?
The advent of Orkut , MySpace, and Live.com not to mention the now enormous Facebook began this phenomenon.
It is a known fact that humans are social creatures. “No man can live as an island”, holds especially true in a world made much smaller thanks to brilliant telecommunications and a certain something called the www. However most people working in corporate environments and office settings are increasingly finding it hard to do just that.This is because being social means, being yourself.It becomes difficult for a person working in a typical corporate setup to display his personal identity and thus baring a few eccentrics, most people today have glorious institutional identities which could be far different from their actual identities.
Institutions are formal, rigid and hierarchical resulting in employees being polite and having frozen smiles on their faces all day long. A person’s institutional identity results in the actual behaviour of the person being kept under lock-and-key. Even under informal and seemingly casual situations, such as team dinners and parties or casual Fridays, only the extremely naive persons let their real personalities shine through.The remaining are seen repressing their true identities as that is considered the appropriate thing to do in formal situations.
Contrast this with the ability to show off one’s personality on social websites. Here you can pass comments to your heart’s content and have people side with you,
or openly disagree with you or talk about something totally unrelated as well. This becomes a forum where you can air your thoughts and feelings without having to watch other peoples reactions to it.
Haven’t we all been in that situation where we were part of a group and wished we had something intelligent or cool to say? What if, God forbid, we blurted out some morbidly absurd trivia? We would have to stand there and take in the rejection of our social peers.All that is cut out on a website.
There’s also the ability to keep in touch with acquaintances we would have ordinarily have forgotten about. Egs;
- An old school friend you thought was nice, but a tad boring and you never got around to speaking to him in school?
Make up with him by commenting on his photographs.
- That office colleague who can always get you the best tickets to social gatherings, but always seems a little too clingy?
Comment on her status posts to let him know what a star(?) she is.
- Did you reach late for an important do hosted by your mother-in-law?
Apologise profusely on her wall and send her an e-gift of a bunch of roses.Also comment on how she makes the best pot roast in the world!
Little wonder then, that big players in the global economy like Microsoft, Yahoo and Google are all haggling for the piece of the Social Networking pie.
Yahoo – Flickr, Google has Orkut, Buzz and numerous others. Microsoft paid big bucks for a small piece of Facebook.
And it doesn’t stop there, besides the well-known sites like Facebook, Orkut, MySpace and Twitter.
There are networks for
- Business people – LinkedIn
- African americans – BlackPlanet
- Doctors – Sermo
- Dog lovers – Dogster.
Not to mention frivolous, laughable names like Xanga, Tickle, Fropper, Nexopia, Adoos, Jhoom, Yuku, Zorpia, Backwash and Fubar.
So How are corporates reacting to this? More in part 2. Stay tuned!!