Social Networking: What's old is new again.

By Bob Larrivee posted 07-01-2011 09:30


Social networking is not a new concept in fact it is really quite old with formal recognition surfacing in the 1800’s yet if you consider ancient Rome and Greece, one might say that it really began in those times. Think about this for a moment. These civilizations and their interactions were tied together socially and politically using gatherings focused on topical points of the day. The gatherings in today’s society might be referred to as communities of interest or practice but nonetheless they did exist in the past with the difference today being in how these interactions take place. 

In days of old, gatherings were held in various forums and venues where live conversations, conducted in person, would take place. In the earlier years of my life, this was also true and still is to a degree, where meetings take place in a meeting room, or events are held and people with similar interests gather to discuss various topics of interest. The AIIM Chapter Meetings are an example of what I mean, yet today, technology has taken us beyond the physical and is moving us into the extended forum allowing us to use communications tools that bring us together in real time and delayed form. Where once we used electronic Bulletin Boards, we now have Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, (add your favorite here) all coming into play. Today’s social networking technology allows us to meet and share ideas with minimal restriction. We can see, talk and in the future where a virtual world might exist, using tactical sensory feedback devices as part of our interface, be able to shake hands and feel it as if we were face to face, in person.

In my view, while social networking for me is not a new concept, the technological advancements we are seeing and have yet to see are exciting. These are tools that can be used to enhance our interactions with family, friends, remote workers, clients and those who have similar interests to ours. Imagine a time where as a community of interest, you can hold an event in a virtual world, and get to shake hands as you would in person. We are not quite there yet, but moving closer each year. Today we can attend virtual events online and be interactive to a certain degree. We can see presenters, ask questions in various ways and share our ideas. Will it ever take the place of person to person interaction? I am not sure. For me, I still like being there in person. On the reality scale, it is not always possible but I am glad to know that I can be an active participant and be part of the social networking generation.

If as an organization, you are ready to move forward or are struggling with the idea of and use of social networking, and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started.

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.


Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM

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