How will social technologies impact your life in the future? The July release of the McKinsey Global Institute report, “The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies,” cites that we are only on the cusp of seeing value from social technologies.
“Indeed,” writes Michael Chui and his researchers, “the impact of social technologies will likely spread more deeply into various sectors and can help address some of the grand challenges that societies around the world are facing.”
As adoptions rates of social technologies continue to increase, Chui’s report has identified education and health care as industries which haven’t, but will, see significant benefit from social technologies.
Education and social technologies
The same technology enterprises are using can be applied to education for students to collaborate, solve problems, and create learning paths across time and geography. My thesis on social media in higher education addressed this point and argued such use of social media could be a powerful marketing and learning tool.
In one class we built an online community to discuss and learn about interpersonal communication theory. The students learned how different perceptions across cultures affected how such theories are understood and practiced. The students of my class left with a broad understanding of what we learned. Without social technology, that would have been more difficult to accomplish.
From this experience my students as well as those from halfway around the world, walked away from the experience with a truly international understanding of the communication theories we learned. This has, in turn, strengthened their professionalism as our world and economies globalize.
Moving forward, Chui et al writes that “social technologies will be important enablers of future learning styles by facilitating the formation of learning communities, fostering student engagement and reflection, and enhancing the overall student learning experience in synchronous and asynchronous learning environments.”
Health care and social technologies
A few years ago, I worked with Roche Diagnostics on a cutting-edge social media initiative, which forged ground never forged before in the industry. In this strategy, we engaged and empowered communities of people with diabetes in various ways, one of which was through DiabetesLink. Social technologies open up opportunities for health care providers to improve providing, paying for and producing health care services, insurance, and medical devices and pharmaceuticals, according to Chui and his research team. Other areas social technologies are and will continue to impact people are through patient-empowered social networks.
Social technologies are here to stay. These tools will continue to help organizations and economies improve their productivity, creating a better life for people in developing and developed countries alike.