Social networking is all the rage. The mainstream press coverage is widespread, but the press seems bored with “old technology” stories on instant messaging, Skype, MySpace, Facebook, SecondLife and Flickr. Blogs and wikis were hot topics, and the idea of Tweeting appears to have caught on.

Organizations, although tending to lag in the uptake of such technologies, do see that the idea of providing employees with a far less rigid means of interacting both internally and externally can provide massive benefits – if applied with care. However, completely open, uncontrolled communications can lead to major problems, as has been seen by brand issues faced by many organizations through the posting of comments by employees on some social networking sites. Vendors such as Microsoft and IBM Lotus are bringing more corporate style solutions to the market, and a lot of independent vendors are trying to capture the market before it implodes. The big problem is that we have a raft of technologies that all attempt to make collaboration and social networking easier for us. The noise level of information is getting louder, but our capability to truly deal with all of this information is actually decreasing. Any capabilities to monitor and apply control are not there yet, and any interlinks between different technologies are minimal - leading to, far too many silos of information to keep in check.

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