Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is Social Media Helping or Hurting? (Round Two)

Social media has become more than just a channel of communication; it has become the channel of communication for many users. Again, I am fan of social media, but too much of a good thing may be harmful. Each semester I begin class by asking what is the number one complaint regarding your generation by human resource officers? The answers range from lazy, to quiet, to self-absorbed and the list goes on and on. The real answer is this specific generation doesn’t know how to communicate, especially interpersonally. Sure, the ability to hammer out a few lines in a text or send a clever tweet is a viable option, but when it comes to conflict, how do you interact? We see more and more users texting out their battles instead of having a face-to-face conversation. Why? The inability to deal with confrontation is a cancer to their kind. Confrontation is typically never pleasant. This isn’t just for the young professionals though. E-mail was the start to this. Now bosses of every age choose to send out an e-mail to the entire office instead of meeting with one person face-to-face. For instance, Jack (the boss) tells everyone to be at work by 8am sharp. Peter (an employee under Jack) shows up late four days in a row. Everyone else in the office knows Peter is late because they are there on time. However, Jack sends an e-mail out to the entire office to remind everyone not be late. Seriously? Is that good leadership? This will breed only more false confrontations in the workplace. Can you imagine what the next generation of leaders will look like? Sure, they will be some of the most innovative people, but the lack of interpersonal skills will drive a wedge between them and the rest of the office. It’s easy to have fun and hang out, but firing people is real and shouldn’t be completed via text message. Is this a blanket statement for everyone age 14-24? No, but it should serve as an opportunity to check your communication pulse.

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