A world full of Pancakes

Criticality of social capital and trust 

The realms of social media allow for Social Networking Services to exist. Those such as LinkedIN, Facebook and Google+ are all platforms where people from society can connect with one another. This however does lead to some issues in terms of the content people are posting online (some which we don’t even think twice about!) Therefore social capital and trust are critical to consider in organisations. Social capital is described as being the network of relationships between people in a society which enables society to function effectively and social trust is the faith of these people in the society. Together these two are critical in social media use in an organisation as the people that make up the social capital of the organisations consumer society need to feel confident that their personal details are being handled in a confidential manner.


Kennedy and Sakaguchi (2009) explain that the social trust between the social capital of a business is crucial as social media is growing at such a rapid pace. An incredible amount of opportunities arise from this but the business must maintain standards between those whom they have connected with in. For example being careful how they mine their now huge databases.

Also how they handle their client privacy as both parties (the organisation and their connections) will attempt to gain more information but also maintain their privacy. Eventually a standardised approach may be introduced in regards to this but for now, it’s important that business err on the side of caution when dealing with this to uphold trust. the users of the SNSs.

‘Pancake People’ 

As mentioned previously, social media opens up a whole new world of opportunities, but of course there are issues in this. Broadly speaking, society is at risk turning into “‘pancake people’—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.”

Nicholas Carr describes that by this new age where our reading is spread so vastly across online content, society is actually beginning to change the way we are thinking. Ever found yourself jumping from one thought to another or not being able to hold attention during reading that once favourite novel? This is because our thinking structure is shifting as a result of social media. Efficiency and immediately, as described by Maryanne Wolf are weakening our ability to think deeply and why? Because there is a hyperlink inserted (thanks Web 2.0) to take us to another page before we are done with the first.

We are not only what we read , we are HOW we read – Maryanne Wolf

This new way of reading / thinking, where we merely decode the information instead of making rich mental connections, surely is an issue that is going to have a giant ripple effect and ramifications in business and education alike.


Mitigating the negative aspects

For business, clearly the overall issue with change how humanity operates is a macro issue, but there are issues with social media that hit closer to home.

Internally firms must consider the boundaries and legality in relation to social media and their employees. As social media is web based, it can be accessed from employee work devices, therein lies the issue. Do businesses allow access to these sites? If yes, which ones? Also what can employees post about the business in which they work for on their personal SM pages? Mello (2012), showcases that businesses are coming to terms with the reality that social media is here to stay and  to mitigate the impact of these issues are systemising policies and procedures around access and monitoring their employees use of social media. LAws are being actioned in regards to employee privacy in the U.S and many other countries are following suit.

Joanna Belbey writing for Forbes explains another 12 issues with social media which in short are:

  • Human Error
  • Processes
  • Legal
  • Data
  • Compliance
  • Financial
  • Operational
  • Reputation
  • ROI
  • Costs
  • Bandwidth
  • Being left behind

Breaking through cultural barriers

The culture of the country in which the business operate and also the internal organisational culture affect the adoption and implementation of social media strategies in business. The company cultures ability to adapt to change is the main inhibitor, Miller (2011) describes. He explains how to overcome this by recognizing that the are not that different from previous advances in technology.

“Like any new tool, there is a necessary adjustment period where the user has to grow into a comfort level with it.” – Miller

To overcome cultural barriers that resist change, a company culture must first be created that encourages openness, sharing and transparency and collaboration to successfully adopt and implement social media.

Thoughts on this…

How okay are we with becoming pancake people? I constantly find myself thinking that society can’t continue on this road but then also being consumed along with the rest, is this just the next stage of human evolution?

Are you becoming a pancake person willingly or are you resisting the change?

– J


References in order of appearance:



Kennedy, M. & Sakaguchi, T.  (2009).  Chapter XII Trust in social networking: Definitions from a global, culture viewpoint.  In C. Romm-Livermore & K. Setzekorn.  Social networking communities and e-dating services:  Concepts and implications (pp. 225-238).  Hershey, NY: Information Science Reference.


Mello, J. A. (2012). Social media, employee privacy and concerted activity: Brave new world or big brother? Labor Law Journal, 63 (3), 165-173, Retrieved from Business Source Complete Database


Miller, A. (2011). Cultural barriers to organizational social media adoption. In J. Girard & J. Girard (Eds.), social knowledge: Using social media to know what you know (pp. 96-114). Hershey, PA: doi: 10.4018/978-1-60960203-1.ch006


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