I came across this infographic behind the GoC firewall. It’s timely given the recent discussions that have been occurring around the future of GCconnex, the GoC’s pilot social networking project.
So not sure of the graphic’s source, but it gives a pretty good breakdown of how social networking has value in the work environment (nitpickers: call it professional networking if you must).
So let’s walk through the chart, starting with the “seekers” side of the equation. With a socnet’s search capacity, I can solve the awareness problem much more quickly than by the usual freind of a friend approach of sending a “do you know of anyone…?” type email to friends and colleagues. And then, by checking out that person’s profile, I can get a sense of their competence before even contacting them. Similarly, by looking at their activity stream, I can see if they are the helpful, sharing type. And then I can contact them directly, or move on to the next prospect.
To me, the key difference here is one of degree — a social workplace lets me get to the answers I am seeking that much quicker and more easily. And the more open a social network is, the more broadly I can broadcast my need, again speeding up getting answers. Problem solved, on to the next one. Productivity win.
Looking at “contributors” column, it goes both ways. By participating in a workplace socnet , I am opening up myself to the same kind of scrutiny as I apply to others when seeking. Which I think encourages professionalism and responsiveness — I know other socnet members will be evaluating my usefulness to them also, so there’s more impulse to reciprocate and participate.
Actually, I’d say this graphic looks too focused on the individual’s situation in the contributing column. It doesn’t get at the value to the organization very well. Social networking is not simply a means for civil servants to get ahead in their careers. Rather, the wins on this side of the equation are more reputational — not merely personal rep either, but more significantly that of my team, my organization, and my community. All my actions reflect on the org I work for and the professional community I belong to, and that’s equally (especially) true in the socnet context. So in terms of contributors, social networking is a great way to strengthen branding at multiple levels.
So two great selling points for GCconnex: making productivity gains and enhancing the public service brand.