Social media – levels the playing field

Q:Social media is great for brining people together – so why does it work better on the web than in the office?

A: No fear of rejection. Yes web 2.0 is great for wikis but oddly people will blog about sutff on the web they
woudl not say in a group at lunch. Seriously. Who says what at lunch or a meeting is very different than what I read on blogs. Why? There is a hierachy even at lunch. Blogs level the playing field as all are equal – except for the moderator.

Basicaly if there is a problem or something new it should be said. However people still do not want to stand up in front of people and give a speach. I hope they feel ok writing a blog. We all have something to offer – trust me.

For somethings it can be very inefficient. Any meeting where there is no interaction is best done with a memo, eMail or log. Unlike the memo or eMil – a blog does provide some feed back and can capture information and thoughts.

People normaly will not reply-all to an email to say “Great idea” or “I found another website” or “I read on on twitter ‘@Fla_Medic,@KobieT #readygov CDC p-nut recall-tinyurlc56yu 4U2Day’ announced” Yet all these comments and more end up on blogs.

Here blogs empower those who would not stand up in front of the room or lead a meeting to push out what they know. Not just give out, but cast their words ideas and thoughts to four winds and the internet. There is no fear of rejection. The worst that can happen is you post a comment and nothing is added. Seriously. The worst that can happen is you post yor blog and get to see it on the main page.

Yes its happened to me a few times and no it does not hurt. As the other blog said “Alot times people read the blog feel better and carry it on without leaving any comments. People do that all the time. The only thing that does hurt is not having any posts or blogs. There is nothing worse than going to website looking for information only to find it empty.

Let em know what you thnk. Do read, do learn and here is your invite to de-lurk.


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Andre Goodfriend

Some good points. People communicate differently online than in person. I think though that there’s another aspect with regards to a blog: it’s accessed rather than transmitted. A person may be reluctant to stand in front of a group and essentially command their simultaneous attention while s/he speaks, while with a blog the reader can access it if s/he wishes at a time that’s convenient. Similarly, a person may be more comfortable putting something on a blog rather than sending the same thing out in a mass emailing. On the other hand, there are other personalities who prefer to send things out rather than hope that their blog will be accessed. And there are going to be readers who will say that if you had intended me to read your blog, you should have emailed me.

I don’t know whether social media have leveled the playing field, but they have certainly created more playing fields to cater to more communication types.

Pam Broviak

I do agree it levels the playing field for many reasons. As you said there are some who are just not comfortable speaking up in a group, but will do so online. There are also situations where someone won’t speak up because of seniority – perhaps the newly-hired young person would not feel right telling seasoned managers what they think about running the operation.

There is another example where perhaps the media will only acknowledge the senior official as having something to offer so they never bother to talk to those actually dealing with an issue. The public then misses out on information. If the same story was posted in a blog, that person who is closer to the incident could add supplemental information.

The blog format also lends itself to a measured discussion. Because you type what you are going to say, most people take time to think about what they say before they say it. This can help because in a heated, verbal discussion, some might just not want to participate because this type of confrontation makes them uncomfortable. Even heated blog posts don’t carry the same vehemence that they would had they been delivered verbally.

Allen Sheaprd

Andrea, Pam,

HI. Both good points. Andrea people do fee better about blogging than calling a meeting. The web has created more playing fields. Just look at eBay. Stuff like a 1980 Altair 8080 computer may not sell in a city or a state but put it on eBay and the bids start. Social media connects people across countries and we get along!

Pam. I totaly agree with you. I have had trouble getting adults to get up and speak in front of kids, not even other adults. Fortunatly they will blog. Sadly you are right. The media looks to the senior official who is also bound to stay with policy. On the web the conversation can be more open without damaging a person or having a department loose face.

Both of you made me think of something else – lack of commitment. A blog is easy to write out and does not require the audiance nor planning of a meeting.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.