#msloc430 Twitter chat 2: Enterprise 2.0 and personal learning networks

The second of three schedule Twitter chats exploring the intersection of Enterprise 2.0 and personal learning networks will focus on adoption of social technology. In this chat we will explore generational differences (real or imagined?), the role (or non-role) of organizational leaders, and examples of people who inspire us via their digital presence.

The one-hour chat begins Tuesday, April 23 at 9:30 pm ET (8:30 pm CT/6:30 pm PT). Hashtag is #msloc430.

The key questions we will pose in the April 23 chat are based on themes that I hear in regard to adoption of social technology within organizations:

  • How do we deal with generational differences?
  • How do we engage organizational leaders?

The generational question is interesting in part because I suspect it stems from the “digital native” argument put forth by Marc Prensky in 2001. The distinction he made between “digital native” and “digital immigrant” was not based on empirical research but rather more of an opinion and has been largely debunked (see Eszter Hargittai’s work, for example, as well as Bennet et. al. “The Digital Natives Debate: A Critical Review of the Evidence”). Prensky himself has softened his argument, allowing that as we move further into the 21st century that perhaps we need to think more in terms of “digital wisdom.” (Sounds to me more like an attempt to generate a new catch-phrase, but that’s for another post). Nonetheless, this generational focus persists.

Similarly, I sense that the leadership question stems from classic change-management “truisms:” We need to have top leaders sponsor any major change effort. A leader’s ability to control allocation of resources (funding, time, people), to exert political power, to model and set the tone for organizational culture — certainly these things influence the potential success of Enterprise 2.0 knowledge-sharing efforts. But is it possible we over emphasize this need to engage leaders in classic change-management ways? And although it may be desirable to have top leaders truly engaged in and present in an E2.0 digital platform, is it absolutely necessary? Working in a digital networked fashion is a challenge for everyone and takes some effort to develop literacy. Why would we expect that to be any different for top leaders?

The questions I would like to explore on Tuesday are about whether these assumptions — there are generational differences; leaders must be engaged — take us off track from focusing on change strategies that might be more effective, Or is there some level of truth in both the generational question and the leadership question that we need to pay attention to?

Finally, we’ll also look at who inspires us through their use of social technology. Who is modeling a new way of being, in a digital, networked sense (within an organization or publicly on the web)? And what can we learn from their story?