3 REASONS WHY ALSO EXECUTIVES SHOULD USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Where does the professional value of using social media come from? Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest etc are fun for sure, but where is the beef for an executive? Social media services and their business models are hot topics in executive education, but when it comes to actively using them yourself, one question is often raised: Are these web services with appealing mobile apps just entertaining weapons of mass distraction that take our focus off from work? Why should I get engaged personally?
I really started to ponder this one day when I was browsing Facebook working hard at the office. In the following, I´ll try to pinpoint some aspects on why you should start using social media especially with professional interests in mind. And if you consider yourself playing a leadership role in your organisation, why you should actually start right away...
1 CREATE YOUR PERSONAL LEADERSHIP DASHBOARD
Monitoring the web for interesting information is a huge tool available for everyone. It is quite easy to build your own radars to gather interesting updates about your company, brand etc. Using Twitter, Linkedin Today, Google+ , Facebook, RSS feeds and many more you can tailor your own personal information management system.
Smart filtering is crucial. Filter information from your field of business, competitors etc and about your professional interest in general. This personalized flow of information can be considered as your personal leadership dashboard (neat term picked up from this excellent post by Alexandra Samuel.
Specific web services evolve quickly and can get replaced by others even quicker, but one thing might be here to stay: Social media is representing a revolution in distribution, sharing and creation of information. But like Brian Solis nicely puts it: Social media amplifies noise, it is your job to amplify signal.
What are the things in your business environment relevant for you to keep an eye on? What kind of changes you need to watch for?
2 ENHANCE YOUR NETWORKS
Collaboration and networking are hot topics nowadays, and for good reasons. Growing complexity of business requires placing more emphasis on working across traditional organizational boundaries. The working entity is more often a network instead of a team. This shift in management thinking is excellently described by Jon R Katzenbach in his HBR blog post "Look Beyond the Team: It´s About the Network" (read it!)
Joining relevant Linkedin groups alone can be huge benefit, not to mention other possibilities that web offers on connecting with interesting thinkers in your field. I think the most important thing is to see how social media communicational logic is transforming the way we work and create value. It is changing the way we should look at organizations. One of my favorite bloggers in this field is Esko Kilpi.
3 INTENSIFY YOUR LEARNING
In this world of constant change everything is about learning and adapting. Stronger sensemaking requires reflecting upon your past and present activities both personally and with your community. Blogging for instance helps you to reflect upon what you have learned, cloud based note making services helps you to remember everything (like they say at Evernote´s slogan...). Cloud service logic and technology are shaping the individual and organizational learning as a whole. Moreover, cloud learning can even be seen as a universal primary education concept of the future. Wait, what? Yes, really, check this blog post by Teemu Arina. That will trigger some thoughts I assure you.
I think that new social media services represent huge source of innovation and they reflect the digital transformation that is shaping the business environment and transforming the organizational logic. Services come and go, but adapting to disruptive innovations is here to stay. And best understanding if often based on personal experience, also with executives, right?
These 3 reasons was not meant to be an exhaustive list of social media´s professional benefits. Hopefully it provided some food for thought though.
By the way, what is your list of reasons of using social media for professional competence building? What does your "productivity cloud" set of services look like?
Director of MBA Education
Avance Executive Education
Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics