Social Networking and a day of firsts
Many workplaces are wrestling with the use of social networks like Facebook, particularly those who employ millennials and their penchant for e-collaboration. It is speculated that millions of productive hours and dollars are lost monthly as employees spend time poking, friending and superpoking others. Until recently I had been a sitting on the Facebook bench, but with the adoption of my son I got into the game of status postings and compulsive monitoring.
At 6:30 am I made my first Facebook status entry while at an airport. It also happened to be the day my wife and I would eventually meet our first newborn adopted son, an event worthy of status posts. Up until that morning I had little interest in chronicling my moment-to-moment happenings let alone making them known to friends, friends of friends and others who I lacked the courage to ignore; a feature one can employ when invited to connect with someone on Facebook. By the way, I have since taken a page out of President Elect Obama’s playbook and begun my 09-resolution administration early by ignoring requests from those who only connection to me is we frequent the internet and breathe air.
So I pushed out “Joey is on his way to meet his newborn son,” on my phone and declared my status. In less than 30 minutes, while paying little attention to the SOPs of seatbelt use and the how-tos of exiting during a water-landing, I keyed “I am on the tarmack waiting to take off.” Seconds later, I wondered if I spelled tarmac correctly — turns out I didn’t. I also paused to think how unlikely it would be to make a water landing since I was flying south and west of Seattle. Nevertheless, I was prepared for my meeting with providence.
During the flight I reflected on how my drama was playing out on the information grid and wondered how life will be different for my son in this Über connected world. I did not have to wait long, wheels-down and I made another post and discovered several friends had already commented with well wishes. Indulged, I made another noting that we were now rolling in our rental car. During the drive I made several posts as others in my network joined in. It now felt like there was more occurring than just sharing my status with friends.
As my wife and I sped down the road we reviewed the top 1000 names of 2007 posted by the Social Security Department. I considered using Facebook as a sounding board for our top candidates, but decided the act would have reduced the day to “performance art.” I opted for privacy and convention over assurance and waited for his name to materialize after looking into his eyes. Finally we met for the first time; it was sublime. I ceased posting until the next day. Following a brief vetting process I posted, “Welcome Cole Christopher Collins.”
As an active participant of Facebook now, I am still not sure if it is a fad, fashion or folderal; I do know it is fun and made my world smaller. As for employers, Facebook it here to stay, for now at least, and issues of privacy as well as access at work will need to be addressed formally and informally by HR departments.
Dr. Joey Collins