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Imagine that social media is a telephone network, but rather than only you and the person you call being able to hear your conversation, every other phone user on the network can choose to listen in and comment.
That is how "generation y" see it. I am talking to my friend over twitter about elearning. I know other people with similar interests on twitter will be scanning the stream for just such a conversation. I am also aware that they may choose to comment. If they do, suddenly I have new contact and a new conduit to information.
Vodafone UK seem to understand this. If you talk to someone on twitter about vodafone and mention a problem, Vodafone will actually reply to you with an offer to help.
Generation Y are not surprised by this. Social media revolves around this conversational style of communication.
But fast response is expected. If you ask a company a question on Twitter and never hear a response, you will not bother with them again. In the same way, if all you see from said company is an automated news feed – you are less likely to bother with them. That is not always the case, BBC News and others use twitter in much the same way as many use RSS, but these are rare occasions where people want to see that kind of information in their stream. These are things we can choose to follow or not!
The other side to this is information gathering. Twitter knew about Michael Jacksons death long before the news started to report it. Many people will now turn to social media to find information, rather than looking it up by "traditional" means.
This is not a nice add on to life for generation y. For them it is as simple as using a phone.
In the work place do we need unfiltered chatter? Are we really looking for a social network in the work place, or are we all talking about integrated collaboration and just calling it social media? A place where we can get information, share information and work together. Or do we really want to know what we each had for breakfast?