Tag Archives: younger generation

How Google Plus Is Causing Institutions To Rethink Social Media ‘Restrictions’ And Three Reasons Why This May Be A Good Idea

Yesterday I was excited to perform a Foursquare check in at my children’s school, but much to my demise, the site was blocked (Auughhh!). I then checked my gmail account and wondered, out of curiosity, if I could get on Google Plus. Surprisingly I could, realizing that for the school to shut down Google Plus they would have to block Google all together, including that major backbone—Google search. Hmmmm, what a conundrum the school board must feel over this.

Google Plus Social Media Badge

Does this mean we smirk at institutions who block social sites and go our merry way interacting, no holds barred, on Google Plus? No, it does not. However, as you may or may not have come into contact with these restrictions where you work (or your children attend classes), these social media ‘restrictions’ are becoming increasingly more painful (and I believe detrimental to educational and professional development).

Ten years down the road, the ITs and policy makers at these institutions may wake in a cold sweat regretting the fact they COMPLETELY blocked the social web. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is a place for social media monitoring with children. We cannot let them freely interact with just anyone—we need to be engaged with students and help them discover the benefits of social networking. Here are three specific reasons I believe social media should not be completely restricted:

  1. The reliance on social media for relationships and business will only grow more important – As social media is becoming more and more intertwined with higher education and business, individuals are going to be expected to have more of a grasp on these mediums when looking for employment.The true innovators of the web—young entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and many other change agents under thirty years old have more than likely been inspired or learned tricks of their trade from online communities, not just the unlinked classroom.
  2. Institutions choosing to block social media on the inside, yet utilizing it on the outside to promote themselves is a bold, hypocritical move – Why hire a social media marketing agent or encourage a staff member to socially promote to the outside world when no person internally can utilize it? Do the online conversations that brought that new student or employee into the company have to stop the moment they set foot in the door?
  3. If computer Internet use is being taught to kids in schools, why, must I ask, do school administrators feel they must cut access to the most up-to-date resources discovered mainly through social media? – How do we discover the latest news, breakthroughs, and changes in society today? Pulling the plug on properly accessed feeds like Twitter will tend to put young students ‘in the dark’ when it comes to learning how to stay current. Teachers, I am sure, are interacting with each other via social networks and even obtain lesson plan ideas via links to videos and articles from social channels. Must I say more.

The launch of Google Plus has seemingly caught many institutions by surprise, leaving them to scratch their heads at how to throttle this new platform. How school boards choose to move forward with this dilemma, whether to block Google all together or realize they must take more of a proactive teaching stance on the integration of social media remains to be seen.

For now, this battle over who and when people interact on social networks inside institutional walls is percolating new questions and new issues that will not be easily answered.

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Three Concrete Ways To Engage With Tech

Today, it’s easy to get inundated by everything tech. How do you filter through the clutter? Where do you start? How do you navigate the ever-growing URL pool? Some have resorted to staying with desktop software alone. Others, merely taking suggestions from family and friends. Still others have given up altogether and resorted to pen and pencil thinking.

What way is best? If the power grid were to collapse, I suppose the latter thinking could prove the viable option. However, nobody knows the outcome of tomorrow.

How do you stay up on what is affecting you and your business (or organization) without defaulting to extremes? Obviously, each person should test the waters and see where their threshold lies, but here are three tips for engaging with tech:

1. Don’t assume the way you use the web today will define the way you use it tomorrow – A term that comes to mind for this tip is ‘Social Media.’ Who would have thought, even five years ago, how much this medium would define our lives. With over 700 million Facebook users and an ever-growing Google Plus crowd, people from children to grandparents have an insatiable appetite for relationship and sharing. If we were using the computer and the web exclusively circa 2000, much would be missed from news to the latest dog grooming styles.

2. You learned to ride a bicycle, didn’t you? – Childhood is defined by new experiences and a constant intaking of new information, experiences and relationships. I just have to watch my own children to be reminded of tireless exploration. What happens as we get older? Why do so many resort to habitual lifestyles that refuse to engage outside a certain structure? I’m not here to get into the psychcology of the matter, but to remind that we need to be proactive at learning once out of college. There is so much to explore and experience, and the Internet brings it to our lap (literally).

3. Watch the younger generation – If you’re older, especially over fifty, tech can be more of a challenge because you didn’t grow up with it. It was introduced when in your thirties and became an adjunct, not integral part of your life. Tips for your generation: watch your kids and others in the younger demographic for how they use the web in everyday life. You may feel exhausted at all the uses (and the gadgets they carry), but you can glean some ideas from the ‘fire hose’ examples. For example, you may not have realized that you can utilize Twitter as a notepad to keep track of thoughts. Need to locate a group of people fast? Use Facebook to organize a group and search for names to connect with. Need to keep track of time on some projects? Use Toggl for time and project management. The list goes on and on…

Let this be a catalyst for action, not a post for paralysis.

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