Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The contraceptive pill and social media

Half-used blister pack of a combined oral cont...Image via Wikipedia

I'm constantly thinking about the role of social media in changing behaviour/culture in organizations and vice versa (see also a former blogpost). Do you need an open culture before social media will be effective or can you use social media to shift the culture towards more openess?

The contraceptive pill (in the Netherlands we simply say: THE pill).. is an example of a revolutionary technology that changed behaviours. Evert Ketting explains the history of the contraceptive pill and shows it is an example of the right technology at the right place at the right moment. 10 years after its introduction in the Netherlands two-thirds of the women were using it. Twenty years later it had become the norm and a 16-years old girl even thought that it was impossible to have sex without the contraceptive pill, she didn't know it prevents pregnancy. The change brought by THE pill was that sexuality was disconnected from pregnancies.

Ketting argues that there were other contraceptives before the pill like the pessary and condoms. Yet, the pill was different because taking the pill is not connected to the act of having sex itself. And ofcourse it was controlled by the women. Lastly, it was more reliable so that doctors also accepted it.

Going back to social media and organizations: it is likely that social media will work embedded in an ongoing change process. And try to make sure the right type of technology at the right time is chosen...
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