Sunday, November 4, 2012

Using Social Media & Networking

When this Blogger CEO began in business 33 years ago, the IBM Selectric Typewriter was considered state of the art technology.   There were big box main frame computers; but there were no desk tops, cell phones, Internet, email, or even voice mail.   We had fax machines, (I think) and teletype machines that were often used for international communications because international calls were very expensive.   Yet, in spite of it all, somehow we conducted business. 

This all changed in the early 90's with the advent of the desk top computer.   In fact, as a side story, desk tops used to come with a little sticker that said "Intel Inside".   So one day, I called my stock broker and told him I wanted to buy 100 shares of Intel stock.  First, he said what is that.  Then when he looked it up, he tried to convince me not to buy it, saying it was too risky.  I told him I wanted to buy it anyway.   The price was around $18 a share.   Suffice to say, I made a pretty good decision because my Intel stock has split many times. 

In any case, we have come a long way since those IBM Selectric Typewriters.   A small Server today is many times more powerful than those big mainframes.  We have global connectivity with live data around the world.  Email and video have made communicating so much easier.  And, we have now started using Social Media and Networking to communicate a company's message.   This old timer writes two Blogs everyday; one political and this one, the Business Management Forum.  I also do a weekly political radio show.  After some convincing, I finally went on Linked In.   Today, I have over 1,500 contacts from throughout our industry and the world.  For my purposes, it is a great talent pool that I look to when ever we need to recruit new employees.  I usually implement several webinars each year to disseminate information, which allows me to extend my reach without traveling and after 5 million air miles, that is really great. 

A company must regulate the use of Social Media and Networking to make sure that this powerful tool is not used to the detriment of the company.   As such, most companies have developed policy related to what is, or is not acceptable.  This is particularly true related to Face Book.  Employees must understand that what they put on the Internet could come back to haunt them and their employers.   What might seem funny might turn out to be very damaging.   

The use of Social Networking and Media will continue to expand.  It is difficult to imagine where this is all going; but one thing is for sure, this trend is not going away anytime soon.   Company management will need to harness this energy to positive effect.   This is a new frontier of communications that will require more time to mature.   Who knows, this Blogger CEO may never have to travel again. 

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