There was a presentation today at Bath Spa organised by Dr Clare Power at the University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching Development. The speaker was Clayton Glen of HDA Consultants and the subject was ‘Generation F’, a discussion of ‘The Facebook Generation’ and the way social networking is affecting business, human resource management and organisational cultures. There wasn’t a lot about teaching and learning, but some of the behaviours under discussion (of the way ‘social’ behaviours have very real professional impacts) were interesting enough.
Download Clayton Glen’s original article. The slides are embedded at the end of this blog entry.
Glen is a good communicator, but some of his observations were arguably a little entry-level or obvious to anyone who has followed the development of business and organisation change on the web over the last ten years or so. He did resurrect the polemical but prescient Cluetrain Manifesto (from 1999) and discussed which elements of it were prophetic and which were wishful thinking. He is, as he confesses, not a Facebook user himself, and thus some of his assumptions (for example, that few people use FB professionally) do not ring true with my own experience as an ‘early adopter’ of social media.
Some of the anecdotes, such as a fan-sourced pop video (linked here and embedded below) were pleasing examples of the way the ‘new generation’ collides creativity and communication using transparent (to them) online tools, but again I found this to be a rather dated example of this phenomenon (Feeder having famously done the same thing in 2001).
However, there was a lot to like in the presentation, particularly Glen’s attempts to ally his nascent surveys with literature analysing organisational behaviours in employees. The presentation was perhaps of more relevance to Human Resources professionals than to academics, but I found that some of the reports cited in the presentation were certainly worth a read. Here are some links;
- Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement (A report to Government by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke)
- Employee Engagement Report 2011. Beyond the numbers: A practical approach for individuals, managers, and executives (Blessing White) – VERY SLOW DOWNLOAD
- Great expectations: managing Generation Y (Institute of Leadership & Management and Ashridge Business School)
I gained a lot from the presentation, but not any greater understanding of ‘Generation F’, if indeed they exist at all (social media takeup is hardly a youth-only phenomenon). What I did learn was that, surprisingly, social media usage among employees is still a problem for some managers in large organisations, and that there are still some corporate cultures that attempt to control the Internet. As a ‘Generation F’ person might say, ‘yeah – good luck with that’. Thanks again to Clayton for the presentation (and the permission to publish the slides here) and also to Clare for setting the whole thing up.