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SOCIAL MEDIA: What still SCARES us?

An article came out today with this headline, Six Reasons Companies Are Still Scared of SOCIAL MEDIA. I know some might, at first glance, discount the article, noting the obvious differences in government organizations and companies. I can’t help but think, based on social media discussions here, that there aren’t parallels to draw in the status of social media’s acceptance across the government landscape. This seems natural for this time of pioneering and blazing new trails in communication across functions, differences, distance, and cultures.

Let me paraphrase the six reasons for fear from the article to see if it sparks your passions

1. Employees will waste time with social media.

2. Haters will damage our reputation with mean, hateful commentary.

3. We’ll lose control of our organization “brand.”

4. Social media requires a real budget. It’s not really cheap, or free.

5. We’re scared we’ll be sued or some public display.

6. We’re scared of giving away organizational “secrets” or that information on social networks will affect us.

What’s your point of view on What Still Scares Us?

FOR REFERENCE: Six Reasons Companies Are Still Scared of SOCIAL MEDIA (AdAge)

Best…
Debbe

founder, Global Dialogue Center
author, Putting Our Differences to Work

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Profile Photo Jay Ferrari

Was just discussing this at a meetup last night, Debbe. The lingering private sector fear is loss of control — of turning opinion generation and moderation over to some unwashed consumer mass. Taking feedback at full strength is too much for many. This fear has to be twice as intense in the public sector, where people can be paralyzed to the point of inaction because of whom they answer too. Fortunately, that attitude is beginning to unlock. We’re realizing that if we don’t try to manage the conversation (forget outright control) it will be managed for us. Someone, somewhere is letting their opinion be known. Having the courage to participate — to be social — is a major step for plodding bureaucracy, but we’re all working on it. That’s heartening!

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Profile Photo Debbe Kennedy

Hi Jay… When I read you insight, “We’re realizing that if we don’t try to manage the conversation (forget outright control) it will be managed for us,” I flashed on a favorite quote from futurist Joel Barker…

“You can and should shape your own future, because if you don’t, someone else surely will.”

I agree with you that putting ourselves out there in vulnerable space takes courage. It’s easy to lurk. It’s harder to engage. The notion of the fear seems very familiar in bigs ways and small changes. It takes a while to pioneer the trail. Loved your hopefullness!

I just held on ONLINE DIALOGUE about 10 days ago with 200+ attendees from companies, government, and education. We asked this question: What are your BIGGEST CHALLENGES in connecting with your organizations “customers”? They told us with specificity and SOCIAL MEDIA was a key topic. The responses had remarkable similarities across sectors and geographically, as well as global. I’m plan to write a post over the weekend to share the responses. It proves your point. Look forward to seeing what you think.

Also, I had a chance to highlight GovLoop. There is a sense of people showing up here that doesn’t happen everywhere. That’s my first impression…I relatively new, but when I log in I can feel the energy. Do you?

Thanks for stopping by…

Best…
Debbe

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Profile Photo Henry Brown

1. Employees will waste time with social media.
Has always been a problem with government managers who have difficulty dealing with a loss of control and I personally DON’T see any change in, at least, the near term future.

2. Haters will damage our reputation with mean, hateful commentary.
PERHAPS a little different within government organizations that I have been involved in over the past several decades. People who comment on our organization often times make comments that threaten our power without knowing all the facts

3. We’ll lose control of our organization “brand.”
In the federal work place would offer that in some cases it is all about loosing control PERIOD

4. Social media requires a real budget. It’s not really cheap, or free.
Same issue(s) with Open Source Software. And generally speaking (and I know how dangerous generalities are) budgetary issues within the federal workplace are a 5 year process.

“5. We’re scared we’ll be sued or some public display.”
NOT sure being sued is much of a concern but transparency can be embarrassing

6. We’re scared of giving away organizational “secrets” or that information on social networks will affect us.

MAJOR issue, especially within those communities where security is probably of primary concern

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Profile Photo Debbe Kennedy

oooo! I just wrote a paragraph and checked out Jean-Paul’s report one more time and poof!

JEAN-PAUL, thanks for the report. It definitely is encouraging and reflects a notable change toward more openness and communication with the public. I did see that “roughly 1/3” they noted being resistant, which seems pretty normal. Also noted a sense of optimism about the change in direction. Since this was a poll of senior leaders, do you think, their optimism is understood by 2/3rd of government employees too? I only ask as sometimes, old thinking and assumptions oooo! I just wrote a paragraph and checked out Jean-Paul’s report one more time and poof!

JEAN-PAUL, thanks for the report. It definitely is encouraging and reflects a notable change toward more openness and communication with the public. I did see that “roughly 1/3” they noted being resistant, which sees pretty normal. Also noted an optimism about the change in direction. Since this was a poll of senior leaders, do you think, their optimism is understood by 2/3rd of government employees too? I only ask as sometimes, old thinking and assumptions hang on —as Gandhi said, “Change moves at a snail’s pace.”

Also noted that one of the biggest issues paralleled HENRY’s assessment in #6 above: SECURITY. Think this is one of the unknown for us all, don’t you? There aren’t any rule books yet; we are writing them, so non of us really know the far-reaching implications of any of this early pioneering we are all engaged in.

Henry, enjoyed your perspective in looking at each of the 6 reasons!

QUESTION: For those pioneering social media, what one or two suggestions do you think are most important for all of us to consider when we participate, so we lead the way in proving openness can work with social media?

Debbe

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