Web 2.0 Musings

Organisations and Social Media – Stage 1. The buy in

To start introducing social media into any large organisation, one must first recognise the obvious – Social media is social. It can only be as successfull as the number of people using in, and social forces will come into play.

What do I mean by social forces? I mean your dealing with people, each will have their own desires, wants, needs and opinions. Some will be positive, they desire change and can clearly identify what they want from any social media system. Others will have concerns, fears and a reluctance to change the status quo.

Also to be considered are what social systems and methods will need to be used in the real world in order to drive and encourage use of social media systems. NB. This should be 2 way traffic, social media used effectively creates real world bonds, it should be used as a tool to facilitate this, not as a substitute.

Therefore, prior to beginning organisational change on such a scale (and social media is a big scale, if done effectively you are changing power structures, communication systems, culture, and process), it is neccessary to undergo a process of engagement.

Create the opportunity for conversations surrounding social media (although you may not wish to use the term – terms like internal communications, community engagement, website, content creation are some good places to start). The important thing is that you don’t start bandying around the term because it sounds cool.

You need to define what problems you are solving.

The process of gathering up these issues, will actually highlight some of the problems you will face in instigating a new process and highlight some of the design considerations. It will also help you identify the relevance of social media tools to your organisation, and enable you to demonstrate to members the most important considerations – what’s in it for them? and what to I have to do?

From my experience of one week of engagement, I have found the following.

There are far more people who want to have a say, than we can take the time to meet 1 to 1 (therefore we will have to design an engagement process for the organisation to have it’s say in a distilled manner).

There is actually a strong desire for change and very brave views of how the public can be engaged are being taken.

It has helped identify who our ambassadors, and seeders will be for this project. Who will take our ideas and propogate them within the organisation.


2 thoughts on “Organisations and Social Media – Stage 1. The buy in”

  1. Great post. Many companies have integrated collaborative/feedback technologies into their external communications via customer communities, but figuring out how to use these technologies internally seems to be a real struggle. There’s also stigma that follows the term “social media” because it’s so often used to describe websites like Facebook and MySpace. Many people don’t know the breadth of technologies and types of communication that fall under the umbrella of “social media” nor how it can be used productively and responsibly within their organization.


  2. Good post Jay. I came across this one while spring (well, autumn) cleaning my RSS reader.

    I did a post along similar lines recently – see http://neilojwilliams.net/missioncreep/2008/10/avoid-social-media-mistakes-forget-the-technology-and-focus-on-the-task/ – but my focus was on the dangers of getting too caught up in technology and forgetting the commitment needed and clear objective for doing it in the first place.

    You’ve gone further: people need to be ready to LISTEN before they start talking. Couldn’t agree more 🙂


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