How Many People Think Social Media is Changing the Labor Market?

Mar 29, 2011

Hands raised

"How many people think that social media is changing the labor market?" That was the question Richard Froeschle, Director of Labor Market and Career Information for the Texas Workforce Commission, asked that prompted so many raised hands today at the US Department of Labor's Technical Assistance Forum in Dallas, TX. You could be forgiven for thinking he'd asked who wanted an ice cream cone, given the overwhelming response.

Richard pointed to a few data points that seemed to affirm the position of the hand-rasiers:

  • The New York Times renewed experiment with paid content, which, if successful, promises to inject an new revenue stream (read: jobs) into a sector that has had difficulty finding its footing in the wikinomics age;
  • The changing nature of jobs themselves - the growth in social technology platforms like LinkedIn (which just attracted its 100 millionth user last week) and Facebook (which exceeds 600 million users - double the US population) are becoming platforms for everything from commerce, to learning, to job-finding, to philanthropy and volunteerism. They are increasingly platforms for work and learning, not just sociaizing.
  • Changing expectations about how information moves (or should move) from one person or group to another. Social technologies reduce friction, increase speed, and rely on the knowledge and networks of "the crowd" rather than just experts or organization domains. This shift makes some jobs obsolete and creates other jobs - across all sectors.

We will be exploring our own version of this question during the Dallas event - we're interested in the kinds of leadership opportunities and challenges new social technologies raise. If you see us, notebooks or cameras in hand, please let us know what you think.

And if you tweet, please use #reg4wf, so we can find all the smart observations you are making.

Kristin, Vinz, Michelle