Last week I wrote a post for the Digital Era Thinkers Blog entitled, “12 Hopes for 2012: Enhanced Adoption of Digital Technologies.” Recognizing that technological advances continue to outstrip our willingness to address the opportunities and challenges they present, the post focuses on the psychological challenges we face and our individual and collective ability to tackle them in thought, word, and deed.
In the post, I expressly stated that I wanted to focus on the positive rather than the negative. But after I shared the post, I got some classic pushback in a response from a person who runs a company that provides management and leadership training. She wrote, in part:
We are constantly asked about the time/value, pros/cons, and cost/benefit of social media. These folks who ask barely have time to do everything they have to do for their jobs, let alone figure out the most effective way to use social media. We network and ask those we trust what we can use (and tell clients to use) to get relevant info quicker, faster, better. The key word is RELEVANT. The vast majority of social media is full of useless, time wasting verbiage that lacks filters. The key to figuring how to best utilize the best of it and get rid of the worst of it, would be some form of easy to use, customized and targeted data mining. Until this comes to the fore I don’t see how it can provide the ROI on a leader’s or executive’s time. I am sure that most people in busy jobs feel the same.
After responding to her directly – and then seeing yet another negative reference to “social media ROI,” I decided to write a follow-up post. This post offers a different perspective on the social media ROI (return on investment) challenges put forth by organizational leaders and other experienced professionals who resist increased digital engagement. Playing off the ROI acronym, it provides alternatives for interpreting the ROI argument. It then articulates – and counters – seven assumptions on which the resistance arguments are often based. The post concludes with a call to move away from specious arguments and to balance concerns about ROI with the equally important COI (cost of inaction).
Click here to read the full post. As always, feedback is welcome.