No man is an island, entire of itself — John Donne
else going on outside the frame of this weird little tableau; people are communicating with each other in new, exciting and often productive ways. That’s the finding of this month’s special report on The Social Enterprise (page 26). As the research shows, companies are using social networks to bring employees together in new ways, to tame the information superstorm and solve big problems. Effectively, it’s the 21st century way to build ad hoc communities within companies, to get likeminded individuals together, to share information and put it to work.
As we point out in the story, it’s the virtual equivalent of the old office water cooler, where you get to know the people you work with and decide whether you can be a team. The research also points out that, just as with the water cooler tribe, how people respond in the virtual world determines how much social capital they have with their coworkers – how‘popular’or‘easy to work with’they are.
Interestingly, the study found that people who have lots of social capital are more valued, and therefore less likely to get laid, off than people whose interactions in social media are more limited. The conclusion: whether it’s an enterprise social network or the company picnic, how well you work and play with others is still important. The campfire may change, but the rules of the tribe are very much the same.
So maybe it’s time to put down the handheld, take out the earbuds and consider your fellow travelers – those individuals around you with whom you share a few brief moments locked in a metal tube hurtling through space. Make eye contact. Smile.
Who knows? You might find a friend. BT
— Dan Booth Editorial Director
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