Apr 1 2009
It is apparent from online and offline discussion that there are still great challenges to social media adoption. Regardless of cause – control, forcing one-way communication models into conversational media, lack of participation, time, or fear – companies and organizations find themselves stubbing their metaphorical toes quite a bit. Their cultures prevent them from succeeding (Image: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 9 by honou).
There’s no greater example of this than the enormous challenges the Obama Administration is facing in getting the government into the web 2.0 era. No one questions whether the mighty O and company get social media. But a prohibitive federal culture is designed to enforce privacy and security regulation, and protect agencies from getting lambasted publicly.
Quite frankly, as Allison Fine puts it, organizational silos prevent people from empowering their edge. And many companies attempt social media with a trial balloon or a beach-head approach. While this can be successful and in my book, represents a great way to introduce the power of social media, this short-term approach does not build an organization that can truly engage.
If an organization needs to become social media friendly – from PR firms and nonprofits to enterprises and government agencies – then a serious gut check needs to occur. Will our culture allow us to embrace these new tools? And more importantly, can we change the way we interact to allow more of our community into our business?
In the end, management must make a conscious decision to bring more voices to the table. This does not mean crowdsourcing your finances and trade secrets. It does acknowledge that real conversations involve more stakeholders than just the people inside the walls of the department/division/organization/enterprise. And that those people expect a genuine relationship with the organization using these tools.
That means the old ways of communicating won’t work. Publishing a Twitter feed, a blog, a Facebook group, a “viral” video is not the answer. Instead change the way relational communications are approached throughout the organization. And to achieve that organizations will have to move a lot of folks’ cheese, so to speak, and spend some money.
If you are afraid of what will happen, here’s a few thoughts for you.
There are so many case studies and books now about the power of social media, and the results it can achieve. No, now it’s really a question of whether the C-suite is willing to embrace the painful change to become a socialprise. The C-suite needs to take responsibility for moving the cultural bar towards openness.
But a decision means nothing without the ensuing action. From a CxO perspective, how does one move an organization into the social, collaborative web? More coming soon.
What are your thoughts on all of this?