The modern workforce now spans four generations. These generations include those individuals born prior to the Second World War, those people born after veterans returned from their war service (Baby Boomers), Generation X—those individuals born in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, and Millennium Children—those born into the last decade of the 20th Century.
Following the birth of the home computer, first built and introduced by IBM in the sixties, the Internet and all of the tools associated with the Internet quickly found their way into the workplace. These different tools are identified as social media, not for their social content, but because of the interface of these tools with business leaders and laborers. These social media include blogging, Google Documents, Twitter, and the latest tool to enter the workplace, Ning.
Blogging started out with people from all walks of life airing their gripes with life. It evolved into business people doing and publishing (often without charge) their individual analysis of workplace conditions. Business people are now blogging for two reasons: (1) to air complaints about their relationship with their employers, and (2) to discuss solutions to common business problems. Google Docs is similar to blogging except that the latter usually involves more of an academic, research-oriented base.
Twitter is a 140 character messaging tool. It permits employees and employers to send simple messages to one another. These messages can be as simple as announcing the time and place of a meeting.
Ning is a Japanese computer platform that has all but replaced conference calling. In conference calling, two or more business representatives can speak with each other, but documents pertaining to business needs must be scanned and sent by email, or faxed. Ning is live platform where people can share and discuss charts and graphs as they appear to each other on a “live” computer monitor.