Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Monday, April 02, 2007

Adults and Social Networking

There has been an interesting discussion on Linkedinbloggers on the reason why adults as compared to younger people have been so slow to take up social networking tools for professional, business and personal use notwithstanding the apparent advantages.

I think that part of the reason lies in the use of the words "social networking tools" themselves. I think that these words carry a connotation that places the tools in a young ghetto. I also think that the emphasis on networking is a barrier since many adults are already struggling to keep in touch with their existing colleagues and friends and simply do not feel the need to network.

Beyond all this there is the simple problem of time.

In a case study on the Ndarala Group blog I looked at the possible use of blogs as a communication device within specialist medical colleges. There I referred to some work that I had done looking at the slow take up of IT among ophthalmologists. I said in part

To help understand this, I flow charted the daily life of an average Fellow. I found that they generally worked very hard seeing patients. While a few entered patient details into the computer, most dictated patient notes into a recorder over lunch and/or at the end of the day before they went home. They did so because this was the most time efficient approach. Then when they went home, often quite late, they had family commitments. This meant that they could not get onto the computer until quite late in the evening. However, this time was also their time for personal and professional reading, for personal business and for personal relaxation such as just watching TV.

The bottom line in all this is that no matter what the advantage to the college, Fellows will only access a blog if the time return to them is greater than all other alternatives.

I think that this remains true today.

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