Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Social Networking to Performance Widgets

Gary VanAntwerp called my attention to this New York Times article At Social Site, Only the Businesslike Need Apply.

The article caught my interest because it calls the attention to what LinkedIn plans to do to increase usage or interaction in their site.

"Soon, LinkedIn plans to add additional features, like a group calendar, and let independent developers contribute their own programs that will allow employees to collaborate on projects. "

"The idea is to let firms exploit their employees’ social connections, institutional memories and special skills — knowledge that large, geographically dispersed companies often have a difficult time obtaining."

“This is a powerful tool because inside the corporation, there are massive bodies of knowledge and relationships between individuals that the corporation has been unable to take advantage of until now,” he said."

The new services could help LinkedIn fend off some new competition. Microsoft, long covetous of rapidly growing social networking properties, is internally testing a service called TownSquare that allows employees of a company to follow one another’s activities on the corporate network.

The new realizations from LinkedIn, FaceBook and even Microsoft suggest that to succeed inside businesses and enterprises, they need to go beyond simply social networking. They need to allow members to have tools to exploit the relationships and impact performance on the job.

I consider these tools "learning and performance widgets".

It's about time e-learning and training professionals look at their social networking initiative in the same way as LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is looking for revenue sources, trainers must look for pay-off, pay-backs from social networking.

Ray Jimenez, PhD "Helping Learners Learn Their Way"