You know that kid that shows up late for his shift with pants hanging halfway down his butt? The one with the baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, iPod in hand, earphones dangling from his neck? Yeah, that kid, the one that speaks in mono-syllabic street slang, and smiles only when you're not looking. Pay attention to him. He's an invaluable business asset hiding under an XXL hoodie.
He can shoot killer footage with a Flip camera
and edits with iMovie. He's been social networking "since, like forever, dude," and thinks that MySpace is "old school." He's uses Youtube to learn about kite surfing (his passion) and Skype to visit with his friends in Costa Rica. He used to love Facebook, but thinks it's become overly-hyped and generic. After his shift, he goes home and reads the Waiter's Rant blog, secretly wishing that there were more positive and empowering venues to connect with fellow servers.
He is living, creating, and breathing social media. But he needs direction, especially if it will benefit him professionally.
He could be shooting and editing video of his coworkers performing their sidework,
video-blogging about wine service
, instant messaging with other employees concerning open shifts, using Skype for all staff meetings, Twittering with wineries, and updating the chef on customer feedback from his previous shift. He could be communicating with ranchers about free range cattle, and learning more about sustainable agriculture through web links and weekly podcasts. He could be leading a conversation about acupuncture and meditation for food servers as an alternative to drinking and smoking post-shift. He could be building a cache of contacts and resources that directly enhance his future job prospects.
Get where I'm headed?
He's waiting for those channels to be opened. And once they are, look out! He might actually show up early for work, pants pulled up, hair combed, eyes sparkling. Empowered and ready to serve!