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information technology consulting firm Atos Origin plans to replace e-mail altogether with social media and other communication technologies.Social media include Internet-based tools (websites, applications, etc.) that allow users to generate and exchange information. This "user-generated content" is creative content(developed by the user), published on the Internet (perhaps with restricted access), and produced outside of professional routines and practices.23 Social media take many forms— blogs, wikis, instant messages, Twitter tweets, personal presentation sites (e.g., Facebook), viewer feedback forums, and the like. Whereas previous Internet activity involved passively reading or watching content, these emerging activities are more interactive and dynamic.One recent model suggests that social media serve several functions: presenting the individual's identity, enabling conversations, sharing information, sensing the presence of265Chapter Nine Communicating in Teams and Organizations
264Part Three Team Processesthough that this transformation is less difficult for the company's Generation-Y employees. "These people do not use e-mail any more. They use social media tools."24Good-Bye E-Mail, Hello Social Media!Atos Origin is at war with e-mail. Executives at the Paris-based global information technology consulting firm believe the volume of e-mail transmitted around the company has created "information pollution" that stifles productivity and undermines employee well-being. "We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives," says Atos Origin chief executive Thierry Breton. The company estimates that reading and writing e-mails consumesup to half of its managers' workweek. Furthermore, e-mail messages are irrelevant to about 70 percent of the people whoreceive them, according to a survey by
Salesforce.com.Other companies have fought e-mail overload by banning them for one day each week. Unfortunately, these "e-mail-free Fridays" often produce "e-mail-overload Mondays." AtosOrigin's strategy is more radical: It plans to ban all e-mail among the company's 50,000 staff within the next couple of years. The company will encourage staff to share ideas, engage in communities, and have virtual team meetings through instant messaging, web conferences, and an enterprise-strength social media site."It is clearly going to be a big challenge for us because e-mail is everywhere," admits Atos Origin vice president for global innovation Marc-Henri Desportes. Desportes also notesParis-based information technology company Atos Origin plans to replace e-mail completely with other Internet-based communication tools within the next couple of years.
others in the virtual space, maintaining relationships, revealing reputation or status, and supporting communities (see Exhibit 9.2).25 For instance, Facebook has a strong emphasis on maintaining relationships but relatively low emphasis on sharing information or forming communities (groups). Wikis, in contrast, focus on sharing information or