I had an interesting call this afternoon with the team that's working on the eLearning Guild's upcoming report on eLearning 2.0--Tony Karrer, Brent Schlenker, Jane Hart, Mark Oehlert, Will Thalheimer, Steve Wexler, Bill Brandon, and Sanjay Parker.
We're reviewing and discussing the most recent findings from the Guild's survey of its members on elearning 2.0, much of which you can find on their blog. Tony has also been analyzing some of the data--definitely some good stuff worth a look if you're keeping an eye on trends in using social media for learning.
Anyway . . . one of the issues that came up was whether or not misinformation is more likely to be a problem when you're letting people do things like write blog posts and edit wikis.This is obviously a concern that people have whenever you start talking about social media in the enterprise.
Reality is, misinformation, gossip and everything else are already spreading around organizations via emails, word of mouth, etc. As I've said before, using social media tools actually makes that stuff MORE transparent and therefore more visible. You actually have a greater likelihood of addressing bad information when you use social media than you do without it.
That said, what I think MAY start to be a problem is micromanagement via social media. In fact, if it hasn't happened already, it's only a matter of time before some web savvy boss figures out that by following you on Twitter he can see if you're actually working or if you're tweeting about what you want to eat for lunch and the awesome mojitos you had at that bar last night. He'll be watching your status on Facebook and monitoring your FriendFeed to see what you're posting and when. I can hear the conversations now:
"Was that an article you tagged in Delicious at 10:45 when you were supposedly in an important meeting? I think I've spoken to you before about this 'multi-tasking' you do and how I don't like it."
"I see that you seem to be asking a lot of questions on Twitter? What's up with that? Don't you know how to do your job? "
"I noticed that you have me on limited profile in Facebook. Is there some reason I can't see more of what you're posting? Should I be concerned about what's on there?"
"I've asked everyone on the team to post on their blogs 5 times a day with status updates on their work. I noticed that yours are always posted much later than everyone else's. Are you not at your desk working??
There's a downside to everything and it occurs to me that these same tools that can be so wonderful for collaboration and productivity can, in the wrong hands, be used as a heavy-handed monitoring tool--like having a co-worker who's tattling on everything you do directly to your boss's RSS feed.
This is not to discourage us, but to remind us that bad management practices will always trump great technology tools and that we need to be careful how we're using these things. I'm just saying. . .