Community Beginning the Social Revolution: #TChat Recap

Yesterday Time magazine named the collective “Protestor” as Person of the Year for 2011. Social technologies played a fairly significant role in fueling the worldwide protests and the dramatic “call for change” we’ve seen politically and economically.

According to Time, “Social networks did not cause these movements, but they kept them alive and connected. Technology allowed us to watch, and it spread the virus of protest, but this was not a wired revolution; it was a human one, of hearts and minds, the oldest technology of all.”

Last night during our latest #TChat Radio Show with John Sumser, Principal Analyst of HRxAnalysts and founder and managing editor of The HRExaminer Online Magazine, I asked John to contrast this with how social technologies have impacted the workplace. What we discussed is the fact that, although not nearly as dramatic, social technologies have played a pervasive role in changing the world of work–slowly, but quite deliberately.

Again, think of it as moving into the old “new” west of social at work…

Two employees walk slowly into a break room and sit down. Along the wall, “Wanted” posters cover the bulletin boards:

“Remember, visiting social media sites are forbidden during business hours. Violators will be held accountable.”

The employees laugh, then stare each other down.

“Draw,” one says to the other.

They whip out their new smart phones and shoot onto Twitter and Facebook. Social technology outlaws working for companies that never saw it coming.

Or, never wanted to see it coming. According to HRxAnalysts’ recently published 2012 Index of Social Technology in HR and Recruiting, over 50% of companies still prohibit social media in the workplace, HR and recruiting social penetration is still less than 20%, and an even much smaller percentage are the true innovators driving social tech change from the bottom up.

But social is certainly in the midst of a world of work revolution, and John, Maren and I all agreed last night that true disruption has only just begun. However, we didn’t all agree on the level of true social in social technologies; John’s research showing that social today is more about data and data collection, but Maren and I argued that there are platforms, both outside and inside the enterprise, that facilitate collaborative communication, even “face” time.

As I’ve written before, we’re all part of interconnected communities — inter-coms — and it’s these inter-coms that keep humans connected and real in work and in play and in protest. Social technologies finally give us the ebb and flow reality for communities that otherwise would never know the others existed.

Revolutions are human. Always have been, always will be. The social one has only just begun.


Again, a very special thank you to our guest John Sumser!

The #TChat Twitter chat and the #TChat Radio Show are created by @MeghanMBiro and @KevinWGrossman; hosted by them and @MarenHogan; powered by @SocialMediaSean and @CatyKobe; and our partners include @HRmarketer, @talentmgmttech, and @Focus

Look for one more holiday #TChat next week, 12/21, 7 pm ET (4 pm PT). Join us!