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Business Matters: Social media and other devices affecting work, too

Steve Hatcher

Steve Hatcher

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Updated: November 30, 2012 11:01AM

I recently was proofreading a brochure for a friend that was to be used as part of a new marketing campaign. And because I’ve known this individual as an accomplished communicator of both the written and spoken word, I was quite surprised to find the draft in need of many changes. Incomplete sentences, abbreviations and slang were interspersed throughout the document. It was as if I were reading a cell phone text message from one of my granddaughters.

That’s when I began to suspect that my friend was becoming addicted to today’s trends in social media. Closer investigation revealed that he begins and ends his day checking for messages on his smart phone and more often than not, posts trivia to his Facebook page. He checks his email every few minutes at work and signs his messages with a smiley face. At least he doesn’t text while driving, and once pointed out, recognizes the problem and is set on changing his ways.

The Oswego Chamber, recognizing the power of the Internet, has offered training seminars on business applications for social media. We even have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and do our best to use these tools in a professional manner.

What’s bothering me is not knowing how the increased use of these and other technologies might affect the way we do business and the ultimate level of success we might realize. Can we count on an increase in productivity or just wasted time? And while the ability to multitask might be desirable, it’s certainly not worth jeopardizing safety. Using a cell phone while driving comes to mind, along with the teenagers we see texting while walking and almost colliding with each other in a zombie-like state. Will this lack of attention transfer to the workplace?

It seems to me that significant challenges lie ahead. The education community, for example, will probably need to expand the core of communication training while businesses will need to demand higher communication proficiencies as a basic requirement for employment.

When hiring new employees, I’m thinking of requiring an original writing along with a resume. Perhaps it will be as simple as one paragraph on “what I did on my summer vacation.” At least that will give me an idea about what I’m up against.

In the meantime, lol.

Steve Hatcher is president and CEO of the Oswego Chamber of Commerce.
He can be reached at

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