Addiction to Facebook, Twitter and the whole social media dynamic can be dangerous to both your physical and social health. Why? Because spending too much time sitting before a computer monitor is addictive, and it certainly contributes to a sedentary lifestyle, which doctors assert contributes to poor health.

But even more to the point is this fact: What you share on Facebook can be spread around the Internet exponentially faster than what you share via a more traditional online application such as e-mail.

Notwithstanding a user’s computer savvy, one misstatement, or a photograph posted in error, can do untold harm. You have got to be very careful with your use of social media. Investigators, spies, gossips and characters of every type are snooping over your personal business posted on Facebook. A hacked e-mail is an embarrassing and dangerous thing, but a hacked Facebook account is an Internet user’s worst nightmare, potentially bringing embarrassment, scandal and total loss of reputation!

 VI school

On a more positive note, a school principal in the Virgin Islands last month made use of Facebook, in addition to more traditional types of communication, to disseminate school-resumption information after the Easter break. The educator was also able to share news of school meetings, graduation, and important academic tidbits for various forms. The principal’s action represented a major development in VI education management.

Today, politicians at home and abroad are finding social media an extremely convenient way of keeping in touch with voters and constituents, and increasingly businesses are using Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with customers and clients.

Many years ago, e-mail became a household computer application. At first, however, it was simply an option, together with fax and regular post. Then e-mail steadily became ubiquitous until it was part of the fabric of daily life, a critical necessity for modern existence.

Social media is following a similar trajectory. The new dynamic is an avant-garde, virtual world order, where every type of online activity can be accessed on one all-powerful digital platform that maps all the online activity of its users on a single portal, such as a user’s Facebook account.

 Benefits

In the future, the most effective organisations and professionals will be those who adopt social media as a tool for greater efficiency, effectiveness and networking capability.

The ability to access the Twitter or Facebook page of an organisation will open a world of opportunity and accessibility simply unavailable from traditional digital media such as websites, e-mail and online news media.

Why? Because social media incorporates all of the various applications of traditional media into a single resource. Practically everything online can be channelled to one single social media platform.

Sunny Thao, in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article of April 7, 2012, described how Matt Norman, president of the global consultancy Dale Carnegie, “thinks Twitter in the global workplace can be a good thing.” The article added that Mr. Carnegie believes “social media can be used to build strong connections and inspire collaboration across teams” and to “improve business results and gain market share.”

“Twitter is a metaphor for how we need to communicate,” helping users “focus attention on the main idea,” Mr. Norman told Mr. Thao.

Mr. Norman also described how social media is enabling good organisational management by “allowing leaders to better manage and connect with their teams.”

 Left behind

Ultimately, companies that fail to adapt to a new social media environment will get left behind. Integrating social media into the modern organisation is a requisite for any senior manager or policy maker in tune with the times. This will mean allowing workers to work from remote locations and their homes, saving businesses and government bureaucracies millions of dollars in overhead.

Social media collaboration will also allow organisations to act much more fluidly and organically. Social-media-savvy managers will be able to assert their views much more effectively when they no longer have to be on the spot to ensure effective operations and strategy.

Facebooking the organisational environment, however, does not necessarily mean using the Facebook product. But it will mean creating Facebook- and Twitter-type computer applications that are custom made for a specific corporate environment. Facebook is already pursuing the possibility of providing a Facebook operating system, FOS, that can be used privately by organisations.

The social media organisation also entails ensuring that all employees are comfortable with working in a new digital environment.

Engineering a new and custom-made social media environment for specific organisations is the way ahead for business and government. This might take the form of Facebook or Twitter, but with enhanced privacy and firewall features. A new system, for example, might work on a local area network to map every activity within the workplace on a single digitised platform linked to the worldwide web.

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