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When norms of online life trickle into corporate world

Gary Hamel poses a thought-provoking idea in his recent Wall Street Journal post about the "Facebook Generation," also known as Millenials. It got me thinking -- but maybe a little too much, because I wasn't able to fit my comment inside WSJ's 150-word comment field! So I'm posting it here.

Gary writes, "The experience of growing up online will profoundly shape the workplace expectations of 'Generation F.'" Gary goes to explain 12 norms of online interaction that are contrary to the norms of interacting in corporate settings.

I thought Gary's list is a nice summation of outside-the-firewall social networking. But what about inside the firewall? As we continue to understand "the social DNA of Generation F," and what it means to how we work in a corporate setting, it's important to remind managers and executives alike that social networking extends well beyond a recruitment tool.

Sure, organizations need to recognize and capitalize on the strengths of the talent-base, but what happens when the Facebook Generation comes inside the firewall and needs to play by corporate rules? And how does an organization best leverage their knowledge assets inclusive of managed top-down content and the wisdom of the community?

Unlike the broader World Wide Web community and social networking as defined by popular commercial sites like MySpace and Facebook, the stakes are too high for inaccurate or poor knowledge contributions within Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and large associations. Organizations of all sizes need to embrace the culture, creativity, and to an extent, the ideology of social knowledge management, without succumbing to it completely.

The key to creating a true social knowledge network that encapsulates the best of the social ideal, is remembering that knowledge is more than top-down vetted information. And it's more than bottom-up social communications and networking. It's finding the right mix of the two for your own unique organization.

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