Social networking has evolved quickly to preoccupy almost every sphere of life. Many researchers have argued that the people’s way of behavior and working relationships have changed to reflect the ongoing changes in communication and social networking arena (Graber, 2003).
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Today, social networking continues to direct how people create and sustain relationships at the place of work, family, and how they relate to their intimate friends. Traditionally, communication between people has faced enormous challenges because of limitations of location (Graber, 2003). However, with the emergence of social networking, barriers to effective networking such as physical boundaries have been demystified.
The concept of social networks has received tremendous attention and focus from across sections in the society. Some researchers have held that the way social media and networks have emerged to articulate traditional challenges of interaction are complex and multifaceted. Today, people have come to emphasize the need for distant communication via virtual interaction media more than physical and real life social encounters embraced over the past century.
Observers content that the manner in which friendship is build has been changed majorly because of the changes in the interaction media. In similar but separate research, some scholars argue that social networking has turned around the nature of friends and friendships within the context of social media.
Although critics have argued that social interactions over a social media have created a weakening social bond among or between people in a relationship, considerable evidence suggests that social networks have salvaged or revived relationships that were on the verge of collapsing.
Recent surveys suggest that social networks have tended to support individuals in their struggle to sustain relationships. These surveys indicate that in the absence of social networks challenged the survival of relationships in the ancient moments.
Arguably, physical barriers that describe broken links after people move in locations that are widely dispersed from their affiliates threatened the growth and development of relationships. Observers assert that mediating factors that prevailed over the past cannot be omnipresent as they used to be.
Whereas people have been able to create and maintain relationships via social networking as an enabler, it remains evident that the social networks have challenged the traditional definition of the term “friend.” In the traditional sense, the term friend refers to an individual that is closely and intimately related to the other, and who are real life. Today, the virtual world that defines the growing social networks has overturned the traditional meaning of friendship.
Therefore, online communication has enabled people to have a new sense of the world by adopting a holistic meaning of the term “friend.” Studies indicate that people interacting on virtual space are not necessarily real life friends. Thus, the world of relationships has grown to accommodate a broader perspective of life than before. While social networks continue to evolve to accommodate the needs of various people, increased improvements have enabled potential friends to connect effortlessly.
The ease of connection between people has, according to many observers, changed friendship into a more casual form than in a traditional form of friendship that embraced a formal and physical encounter. However, clearly, the nature of friendship can be said to transcend the traditional type toward a more mechanistic and unnatural form.
Whereas social networks have demonstrated immense significance in boosting informal relationships, studies have shown that organizations have enjoyed a revival based on the synergies provided by social networks. Today, researchers in human resources have suggested that ties build out of social networks are crucial in for generation of innovative and creative ideas and fundamental activities shape organizational productivity.
In a report published in the MIT, Allen Thomas noted that distinguished performers in research and development registered high rates of consultation with their peers compared to their low performing counterparts (Fliaster, 2011).
A growing body of knowledge demonstrates that creation of innovative ideas and knowledge remains a preserve of a collaborative process rather than an individualistic and intrapersonal process (Graber, 2003). Thus, organizations that embrace egalitarian approaches to social linkages stand a higher ground of benefiting from a myriad of ideas.
According to Fliaster (2011), Steve Jobs contended that despite enjoying the advantages of highly skilled personnel, Apple Inc. gained strategic advantage via meetings that provided creative ideas. Research indicates that mutual responsiveness is a result of special characteristics of social bonds (Salvatore & Rollag, 2010). In essence, socially bound people working in a group have been found to be more productive compared to individuals.
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Further studies have suggested that problem solving process a multifaceted process that needs a combined effort of ideas. Fliaster (2011) asserted that friends working closely or from a distance, but connected via an efficient channel can challenge each other to provide unique scenarios that promise sustainable solutions to their unique problems (Salvatore & Rollag, 2010).
Organizations have been challenged to shift from the traditional aspects of working relationship and to new ways of inclusivity, which most scholars have referred to as promoting “strategic informality.” While it is arguable that mutual closeness through social networks cannot be ordered, this naturally occurring process can be nurtured and supported.
Fliaster, A. (2011). The Social Network. Journal of Organizational Learning.
Graber, D. (2003). The Power of Communication: Managing Information in Public Organizations. New York, NY: Cq Press.
Salvatore, P., & Rollag, K. (2010). Emergent network structure and initial group performance: The moderating role of pre-existing relationships. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(6), 877-897.