Introduction to Social Media Networking

A dramatic shift is taking place in the workforce that requires leaders to adopt a new strategy to attract, retain, and effectively communicate with Generation Y workers.

…for information on how you can utilise SNM (Social Media Networking) techniques for your business, call eTailor on (01) 2751690 or email

By Buddy Hobart, founder and president of Solutions 21
Originally published at


For the first time in history, a new generation of workers is entering the workforce with skills and abilities greater than or at least equal to their experienced supervisors. A dramatic shift is taking place in the workforce that requires leaders to adopt a new strategy to attract, retain, and effectively communicate with Generation Y workers.

Generation Y workers, born from 1977-1995, bring a fresh set of skills, ideas, and energy to the workplace. They possess a global perspective, always considering the world to be a small place. In addition, Gen Y is the most educated generation, having had access to large amounts of information via formal channels (at the university) and informal channels (online and other media sources). This has allowed Gen Y to become particularly adept at processing large amounts of information very quickly.

Furthermore, members of Gen Y are digital natives—technology has always been at their fingertips.  Technology is essential to their everyday lives.  As new applications emerge, Gen Y simply incorporates the most productive applications into their day-to-day operations.


The Ease of Networking through Social Media
Gen Y’s global perspective, ability to process information, and technological skills have dramatically impacted their approach to navigating the social landscape. Social media tools have become an integral part of Gen Y’s networking activities, both personally and professionally.

As digital natives, Gen Y’s use of social media for professional purposes is natural and intuitive. A LexisNexis survey revealed that only 38% of Baby Boomers think it is appropriate to befriend a colleague on a social network, while 76% of Gen Y think it is all right.  Baby Boomers and Gen Xers draw a considerably more distinct line between personal (private) vs. professional (public) lives. Therefore their approach tends to be more guarded.  These generations did not grow up with the same access to information and are wary of too much transparency.

Gen Y uses social media tools privately to actively grow and develop their careers and expand their professional networks. They are achieving this by publishing their ideas on personal blogs and engaging in conversations on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Brazen Careerist.

Gen-Y Networking Tips
Here are some tips on how to integrate Gen Y’s social media skills to build stronger networks and business relationships:

    • Mentor/Reverse-Mentoring: Gen Y workers can act as a reverse-mentor to teach business leaders how to use the latest technologies, while Baby Boomer and Gen X managers can share their many years of experience in the field and mentor Gen Y workers.
    • Centralize Communication and Enhance Collaboration: Social media technology, by its very nature, lends itself to a communication structure that is less bulky than email. It also leads to more comprehensive discussion, documentation, and transparency. This allows the entire team to stay in sync, minimizing lost time due to bulky communication processes.
    • Extreme Targeting: Social media users are able to specify communities they would like to interact with and go directly to them. An example of this is reading and commenting on blogs or joining groups within social networks that are dedicated to a specific topic.
    • Go Virtual: Social media tools can be used to facilitate collaboration and communication among parties, regardless of where they are located. Networking events have taken on a new form with the rise of social media. One great example of this is the Twitter chat group,  TweetChat, where Twitter users with similar interests log in at a designated time to discuss a particular topic.
    • Superior Relationship Management: After establishing a connection, social media can serve as an efficient way of managing relationships. Using tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn to continue to interact with business contacts is an effective way to strengthen relationships through increased interaction.

Like traditional networking, online networking operates upon the “give before you get” theory. Gen Y expects to share knowledge and insights in hopes of building strong relationships that will facilitate additional interaction both online and off-line. And that’s something you can begin to do now…to build a rich network for tomorrow.

Solutions 21 Founder and President, Buddy Hobart has teamed up with Arizona State University Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Herb Sendek, to author Gen Y Now: How Generation Y Changes Your Workplace and Why It Requires a New Leadership Style. Gen Y Now demonstrates how to operationalize leadership to produce a winning game plan for working with Gen Y. Hobart and Sendek guide leaders through the process of planning and building a system that both attracts and retains the best talent.  By addressing this crucial workforce issue today, organizations can position themselves to succeed in the future.