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Monday, December 21, 2009

Social Media is Changing the Way We Work

You've heard all the latest buzzwords going around the office...Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr, the list goes on, and on, and on. Many of us have transitioned from hearing these buzzwords, better known as social media sites or networks, to being active participants in their usage. In a recent meeting with some of my agency's top executives, one of them inquired about the usage of social media by employees during work hours. While the details of that conversation are interesting, the more important aspect is that social media is now becoming a part of our culture; regardless if it is endorsed by the agency or not.
Seeing such monumental advancements in such communications media, causes me to ask the question...How will social media change the way law enforcement, the judicial system, or businesses and corporations around the globe do day to day business? Let me be clear as to what I am trying to get across. I'm not saying that every company should endorse employees use of social media at work, or that every company start a Facebook page. What I am wondering is if this type of social media, this engagement of employees, can be capitalized in a way that could make the way we do the business of law enforcement change forever. How can we turn the way we communicate internally and externally, into something that our employees, along with our judicial partners, embrace. How can a social network assist in creating a "LEAN" law enforcement culture?
It seems the more I ask these seemingly obvious questions, the more interesting the concept becomes. Let's forward twenty years or so. Every agency has a website, every officer has a blog, every employee interacts with eachother and the judicial system staff through a social network. Same goes for every business from Microsoft, to Google, to Joe's fish market on the corner. Every cell phone will have internet as a standard feature, along with GPS, and any other advanced feature of today. Cell phones will never have "dead spots." Every five year old will have a cell phone before registering for kindergarten. Home phones will be virtually non existent, as they will be replaced with cell phones, also known as smart phones. Every major corporation will have custom made applications specific to their employees and customer markets. Every vehicle manufactured will have a SIM card, allowing it to be tracked in real time by either the owner, or by law enforcement if stolen. Google maps will be in real time availability for law enforcement, and be able to be rewound to capture specifics to crimes that have occurred; I call this "virtual surveillance." The possibilities are limited only to the imagination...where do you see technology fitting in with your agency?
The key to the story is this, change in the way we do business is occurring whether we like it or not. The best thing for us all is to learn new technologies, and learn how to use them to the betterment of our agencies, and the communities we serve. For an interesting illustration of how social networking it now a part of culture visit http://www.theconversationprism.com/, it is quite impressive.

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