We're not playin' around: E-networking means business, not socializing

By John Keller

Posted by John Keller

All of us conducting business on E-networking sites like Twitter , Facebook , Linkedin , and the others are running into a problem: a growing number of companies and other organizations are coming up with policies that ban the use of so-called "social networking " while at work. While it's difficult to characterize the depth of this mistake, we have ourselves at least partially to blame.

Why us? Because we use the poisonous term "social networking," which to the uninitiated means socializing, not working. We've all seen the cute stories in the press about Twitter, Facebook, etc., and with that kind of media play, who could blame many in the business community who perceive activity on these sites as play time, not work time?

Well, it's time to put a stop to this, and the first thing we can do is quit using the term "social networking" when describing the use of E-networking sites like Twitter and Facebook for business. Start using a term that means business, like E-networking, business networking, or even B-netting. Personally, I use E-networking to describe how I push out editorial content and commentary related to Military & Aerospace Electronics on Twitter and Facebook. I won't use that other term that contains the "s-word."

I wish I had started doing this earlier, because there are distressing trends on the horizon. Our own internal audience-development research here at Military & Aerospace Electronics indicates that companies we serve with information every day have policies in place, or are contemplating policies, to prevent their employees from using E-networking tools while at the office.

I also run into stories like this one in the online edition of The Daily Mirror newspaper in London, headlined "Twitter and Facebook cost firms millions as employees waste time (http://bit.ly/11cAVw)," and this survey of 1,400 chief information officers that indicates 54 percent of companies block the use of Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace at work (http://bit.ly/42XuA9).

This is all based on the false assumption that time spent on E-networking is wasted time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Companies might be able to fight E-networking for a while, but doing so is a lot like the last dinosaurs eating the first mammals. You might prevail today, but time is not on your side.

I understand that it can be exhausting conducting business today in a world that changes not just daily, but hourly. E-networking is a profoundly disruptive technology; it's upsetting, frustrating, and bewildering, but it also will take us to the next step in electronic communications. We don't have much say in the matter; this is the way it's going whether we embrace E-networking or not. I think the experts are right who predict that conventional e-mail will be obsolete within the next decade, replaced by E-networking technology and whatever it leads to.

If we're going to keep pace, then the time to get on board with E-networking in the workplace is now -- not tomorrow. Our business allies and competitors are amassing large followings of important contacts in E-networking. These lists of E-networking contacts are every bit as important as our customer e-mail and subscriber lists. As we gather a critical mass of important business contacts as followers, friends, fans, whatever, we can control our business communications like never before.

This has tremendous implications for publishing, public relations, retail, and all kinds of business-to-business ventures; any business that must communicate with its customers to succeed will rely on E-networking technology, if not now, then eventually. If business fails to get on board now, their learning curve will be very steep once they finally realize what they have to do. Companies that are holding back on E-networking must understand that their competitors are not ...

... which leads me back to this notion of banning E-networking in the workplace. It's kind of like banning the telephone because of its potential for abuse. Just like a telephone, E-networking is a critical business tool today, and will grow even more so in the future.

E-networking represents a fast-moving stream of often-crucial business information that is available to whomever dips into it. It just doesn't make any sense to keep this information source away from employees who potentially could make the best use of it. You can bet your competitors aren't, and your customers are going to notice.

If you're tentative about E-networking, come on in; the water's fine.

John Keller is chief editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics , a PennWell publishing franchise consisting of an active Website, e-newsletters, print magazine, and trade shows, which is based in Nashua, N.H. Contact Military & Aerospace Electronics online at www.milaero.com , on Twitter at @jkeller1959 and #milaero, and on Facebook at http://bit.ly/1VGM0Q . If you're hopeless, you could even e-mail John Keller at jkeller@pennwell.com .

A special thanks to Chris Burke, president of BtB Marketing Communications , who helped me brainstorm for this piece. Chris tweets on Twitter at @CBurkeBtB .

Previous Blog Posts

Capital Hill budget deal could restore tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon

Tue Dec 17 13:15:00 CST 2013

Hacker drone story a cautionary tale about the need for unmanned vehicle data security

Tue Dec 10 09:46:00 CST 2013

Lack of money for systems upgrades threatens to maintain wind-farm radar dead spots

Tue Dec 03 10:36:00 CST 2013

Engineering support contracts indicate the Pentagon is sinking into the Mothball Strategy

Tue Nov 26 06:57:00 CST 2013

The revenge of COTS: an ageing commercial technology base complicates military supply chain

Tue Nov 19 08:53:00 CST 2013

Navy's newest destroyers evolve to fill traditional battleship roles

Tue Nov 12 11:54:00 CST 2013

International suspicions of U.S. encryption technology putting defense companies in a bind

Tue Nov 05 11:24:00 CST 2013

Defense industry left guessing as Army struggles forward with an unclear mission

Tue Oct 29 09:45:00 CDT 2013

These are tough times for the combat vehicle and vetronics industries

Tue Oct 22 04:22:00 CDT 2013

Is the government shutdown a harbinger of more ominous things to come?

Tue Oct 15 11:21:00 CDT 2013

Government shutdown reduces military contracting, increasing pressure on U.S. defense industry

Mon Oct 07 12:17:00 CDT 2013

Potential good news: has U.S. defense spending finally bottomed-out?

Tue Oct 01 13:02:00 CDT 2013

Is robotics revolution the first glimpse of a fundamental change in human evolution?

Tue Sep 24 09:46:00 CDT 2013

Obsolescent parts: are we enhancing military readiness or creating a hollow force?

Tue Sep 17 15:46:00 CDT 2013

For the high-tech warfighter, the future of electronics-laden uniforms is here

Tue Sep 10 11:26:00 CDT 2013

New generation of embedded computing thermal management in development at GE

Tue Sep 03 09:44:00 CDT 2013

Trading bus stops for credit cards: how far embedded computing has come in three decades

Tue Aug 27 10:59:00 CDT 2013

Unmanned vehicle industry stands at the doorstep of a fundamental transformation

Tue Aug 20 11:09:00 CDT 2013

AUVSI 2013, one of the biggest unmanned vehicles shows in the world, opens this week in Washington

Tue Aug 13 05:35:00 CDT 2013

The Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, could lead the way for media in the 21st Century

Tue Aug 06 09:47:00 CDT 2013

Are costs and vulnerabilities making military leaders nervous about satellite communications?

Tue Jul 30 11:07:00 CDT 2013

Unmanned aircraft carrier that travels beneath the waves may be in the Navy's future

Tue Jul 23 05:20:00 CDT 2013

Electronic warfare programs kick into high gear with a flurry of contract activity

Tue Jul 16 08:03:00 CDT 2013

How vulnerable are U.S. Navy vessels to advanced anti-ship cruise missiles?

Tue Jul 09 07:03:00 CDT 2013

First came VHSIC, then came MIMIC, and now comes ACE to push electronics technology

Tue Jul 02 09:16:00 CDT 2013

The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

July 2015
Volume 26, Issue 7

All Access Sponsors

Download Our Apps




Connect with Us


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles