Social media such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have long been playing a vital role beyond just our private lives – they are increasingly also incorporating other parts of life, including the world of work. This throws up many challenges for companies and organisations, both regarding employee management and development and in terms of image maintenance and customer contact.
This was also the focus of the 2012 Europrofession Forum. On the one hand this examined the impact of so-called ‘social media’ on society, their effects on communications within and between generations, and on the other it shed light on its diverse capacity for innovation and potential for companies and educational institutions in a networked world of knowledge and work. There was particular discussion of what for many decision-makers is a central issue, namely how far staff selection, qualification and development is affected by existing and emerging changes and opportunities arising from social media for communication and collaboration with people of all generations.
Companies and institutions are facing orientation issues. Is this a fleeting zeitgeist or a lasting development that will leave an impact? Should online portals be replaced with social networks? Is a company Facebook page required, and should it have a ‘Like’ button despite legal data protection concerns? Should corporate management allow private tweeting, or even post its own ad hoc off-the-cuff comments as tweets? What are the impact and significance of all of these services such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on staff selection, staff development, and last but not least the all-important staff qualification? Are e-learning services a genuine alternative to conventional face-to-face training? How effective and efficient are they, or is everything just entirely different? And finally: do new positions and structures need to be created in companies and universities?
Renowned experts from science and industry presented their knowledge and discussed it with participants. Representatives of generation Y presented their points of view in a panel discussion and offered an insight into their thought and behaviour patterns and their daily interactions with social media and networks. Dr. Matthias Meifert (HRpepper GmbH & Co. KGaA) and Frank Milius (IMC AG) discussed whether generation Y necessitates a new communication and management culture in companies, or how social learning helps to design more efficient change management process for IT projects.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Igel (CeLTech /DFKI) tackled the topic of cooperative learning and education for all, examining the networked knowledge and education world of the future and presenting the ‘cloud’ university and so-called ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCs), free virtual courses provided online with ad hoc, high-quality, substantively and didactically suitable learning content for students, school pupils and people all over the world with an interest in education.
This forum presented and examined many questions and interesting aspects. Conclusion: the ‘anything goes’ nature of the internet era will continue to occupy us and will be tackled again at the next Europrofession Forum.