Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Social Media: Young Professionals Effect Change in the Workplace

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Social Media: Young Professionals Effect Change in the Workplace

Article excerpt

DRAMATIC CHANGES ARE OCCURRING IN THE U.S. WORKPLACE. ALONG WITH THE CHALLENGES OF A MORPHING ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE, THE COUNTRY IS ALSO FACING A GENERATIONAL SHIFT IN THE WORK FORCE AND IN THE WAY WE USE TECHNOLOGY TO COMMUNICATE.

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Generation Y, also known as Gen Y, or the Millennial Generation, consists of people born between 1985 and 2003. This cohort is just beginning to impact the workplace. With numbers that rival the Baby Boomer generation (73.5 million Millennials in the United States, compared to 49.1 million Generation X and 76.7 million Baby Boomers), their social and economic impact will be significant.

Gen Y approaches work and communication much differently from their predecessors, placing a greater emphasis on networking via social media. Social media are primarily Internet and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information that place an emphasis on collaboration and user-generated content. Today, both personal and business usage of social media and collaborative Web sites are growing significantly. Facebook, for example, has more than 200 million active users. Twitter has been ranked by the Nielsen Company as the fastest growing social media site, with a monthly growth of 1,382 percent. The total number of updates posted on Twitter is approaching 2.5 billion.

Each change alone is significant, but together they have compounding effects. Younger generations have an understanding and level of comfort with technology that make them more likely to use and participate in social media, both personally and professionally. As the number of workers from Gen Y grows, so too will the use of social media in the workplace.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

There is a temptation for many companies to limit employees' access to social media sites like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, due to concerns about employee productivity. Organizations also fear participating in social media as a business. "How do you control what people say about you?" is a commonly expressed concern.

The marketplace is changing, and with it the very nature of organizations. In a service-oriented economy, relationships are what define organizations--relationships between employees, departments, related organizations, customers and suppliers. Social media can provide a mechanism for establishing, maintaining and building these relationships. Your organization's brand is defined by its identity in the marketplace, which is constructed by the interaction between the organization and its consumers.

It is hard for organizations to admit, but the control of your brand and message is, in some ways, already out of your hands. Just because your company has not established a social media presence does not mean your customers are not already talking about you. An organization needs to engage with customers, employees and suppliers where the conversation is taking place, and increasingly that conversation is happening on social media sites. By engaging in the conversation already occurring, you are giving your organization a chance to respond and shape its perception.

Facebook

Facebook (www.facebook.com) is the most popular social networking site. With the introduction of "Fan Pages" specifically for businesses, more and more companies are creating a Face-book presence. Fan Pages not only allow businesses to market themselves, but also provide a space for "fans" of the business to interact with the company and each other.

Linked In

A profession-focused networking site, Linked In (www.linkedin.com) is essentially an online resume. Users can create a profile with their career history, connect with colleagues and friends, recommend and get recommendations from coworkers, and join interest groups related to their profession.

Blogs

Creating and maintaining a blog is a way for an organization or an individual to gain visibility in the social media sphere, and develop a reputation as an expert in his or her field. …

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