Social networking: Driving teams apart

Facebook can have a negative effect on the social development of teams

Facebook is no substitute for face to face - and can have a negative effect on the social development of teams. So says Matt, a network engineer for a large financial services firm. I spoke with Matt by phone, on using social networks for group team building. Matt is in his late 20s:

"We don't really use those social networking tools [like Facebook]. We've played around with those things but we find that it disconnects people from one another. We don't want that disconnection.

You see people that text message a lot. They like text messaging because they can get their point across, but they don't have to be attentive to your response. That to us is akin to throwing it over the wall or pushing it off on someone else. We want two-way communication. Some of that we can use when appropriate but there's a big concern about it distracting us.

I've done my fare share of text messaging but from an internal aspect on how we communicate it's sometimes the high-tech solutions that actually drive people apart.

The whole reason for Facebook is so that you don't have to keep up with your friends on a one-on-one basis. I don't know if that makes people closer or if it just makes them feel closer."

Other organizations are also struggling with the role social networking tools can play - or not play - in developing corporate team relationships.

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Robert L. Mitchell

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