Social Media Centers of Excellence? Really?

My morning Twitter feed led to me to an article released in July of this year, an intriguing if baffling idea from Dion Hinchcliffe here

I put my tea down. Hard.

Here’s my issue with the thoughtful piece linked above: it treats ‘social media’ as just another enterprise skill that needs to be accommodated with the same management approaches: stakeholders, goals & requirements, processes, knowledge base, etc. Set up a Center of Excellence to ensure the organization’s social media efforts are coherent, managed, and answerable to business – noble goals, I quibble with the approach.

Nothing new here. Doubt me? Change the topic to Records Management and tell me how the graphic would be any different. Underlying technology infrastructure, core set of experts to ensure the ‘knowledge base’ information is disseminated, heroes out in the business (notice the business is always external to these types of presentations) who ‘get it,’ etc. (The burning platform for Records Management is arguably an easier case to make than standing up a center of excellence for Social Media.)

If you accept that social media is just something that companies are now doing haphazardly and need to ‘get more strategic’ about – then by all means, set aside 5-10 FTE to help your firm ‘do social.’ If you believe that the integration of social methods and tools is something that can advance your business or agency objectives, however, perhaps changing how you think about existing functions is in order. I shudder to think about organizations who have a Knowledge Management function, deciding to stand up a separate ‘social media’ Center of Excellence. What then? Regular cadence meetings to “ensure alignment” between these two tribes, each ‘supporting the business’ according to their specific play-books?

For my part, social methods and tools (please think of this as an inviolate couplet, it is never about the tools alone) should transform how an organization approaches Knowledge Management. At the very least. It should also change how we think about communications, innovation, customer service, citizen outreach, dispersed operations, and the list goes on. To mummify the promise of social methods and tools inside a 20th century management construct that emphasizes existing processes and stakeholders is to ensure the marginalization of this promise – if not its demise.

Frankly, I am surprised at this piece by the esteemed Dachis Group – what did I get wrong? What am I missing?

Original post

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply