E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Social Media at Work

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo in the WinterLast week, upon my return from my last business trip, I was hoping to be able to resume my regular blogging activities and share with you folks some of the interesting conversations I have been engaging with and other interesting resources worth while sharing across. Alas, my local Internet Service Provider, movistar, had other plans for me: no other than disrupt an entire week with a rather poor performance of my ADSL line to the point where I spent more time being offline, disconnected, than connected.

Rather frustrating, to say the l east, but since a long while ago I learned to apply one of the key principles to blogging, i.e. never ever blog whenever you are upset about something, or someone!, I decided to take a couple of days break from posting something over here, waiting for the connectivity issues to be fixed, because I know if I were to complain I wouldn’t be getting any kind of response, like I never did back in October 2009. And it looks like today things are back to normal somewhat, which means, I am back to normal, too! Off we go with my usual blogging activities and what a better way of getting things going, once again, than with the inspiring video of the week? This time around Social Media @ Work.

Indeed, this is a rather short video clip that lasts for a little bit over 13 minutes where you will see a whole bunch of thought leaders sharing their insights, experiences and know-how around the impact of social networking, not only behind the firewall, but also outside. Good friends like Neville Hobson and Livio Hughes, amongst several others, get to spend a few minutes sharing some insights further on why internal communicators should be paying attention, just as much as they have done for other traditional means of communication, to other new forms of engaging their audiences, like social media or social tools, in order to foster, cultivate and nurture a much more engaging dialogue amongst employees AND with employees right at the center of the interactions:

Social Media @ Work from Red Sky Vision on Vimeo.

There are a bunch of people out there who have been claiming all along how most knowledge workers out there are all marketers, in their own terms, and for those products they are really passionate about. Well, after watching the video clip a couple of times I think the same thing could be said about communicators, whether internal or external. With the existence, and abundance, of social networking tools, we are no longer having to depend on one or two individuals, or a small team of communicators, to help spread the message around. Instead, everyone is now empowered to become a communicator, engage their own audiences, and keep the conversations going on those important messages they would want to share across. Essentially, every single employee has now become the corporate brand, whether brands like it or not. All of a sudden, brands have now got, finally, a face, a voice. A passionate human being driving their message across to multiple audiences and the only thing that the Communications & Marketing teams can do is to embrace and facilitate that shift, that unstoppable change. They no longer control the message. Mind you, they never had…

It is as if that opportunity to let it go, to abandon that command and control attitude from Communications & Marketing, is finally coming about as one of those corporate realities that no-one can neglect, nor should ignore. Yes, the video clip may well be oriented towards communicators and all, but if you take a closer look, beyond that initial focus group, you would be able to see how plenty of its key learnings would also be relevant for everyone who is involved with social tools. And that’s the whole beauty of the video itself, that it will provide everyone out there with plenty of advice on why it’s becoming an imperative to be very well versed in this social media space, if we wouldn’t want to be left behind, and why it’s no longer a nice thing to have but an essential key trait to be able to make the most out of your social networking tools suite, which, once again, is raising a rather important and critical question: Can the corporate world run their business successfully and effectively, without jumping into the social computing bandwagon, whether internal or external?

Something tells me that it wouldn’t. It’s already passed that point of no return for most businesses out there, just like it’s done the same for our society in general, so the only remaining question would probably be “How are you going to empower and engage your employees to help them drive the message of what really matters to your customers, business partners and competitors?” Well, perhaps you would need to show them “Social Media @ Work” to get the ball rolling, if you haven’t done so just yet after all. And if you already have, show / share it with them anyway, as a good refresher of why living social matters. Now more than ever!

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    1. Hi Travis! Thanks for the kind comments and for dropping by! Well, that may not be happening just yet, but there is a growing trend that demonstrates how email is no longer as critical and paramount as it once was for both internal and external communications, and something tells me that it wouldn’t be either for collaboration and knowledge sharing. If there is anything that social tools have done so far is to prove there are better options out there, so perhaps not there yet, but we surely are going to redefine the way we work with email and everything… Only a matter of time 🙂

  1. Luis,
    Great stuff. I couldn’t be happier than to know that people are watching and thinking about this film. It’s an area about which much is written but very little is discussed. Except online by people with strong views and (perhaps) slightly narrower agendas.
    Getting it out in the open and talking about it in a way that everyone can participate is part of the motivation for Social Media @ Work.
    Regards and thanks again for sharing your thoughts and the video.

    1. Hi David! Thanks a lot for dropping by and for the wonderful commentary! Yes, indeed, that was the main reason why I was dragged into the video clip and why I have watched it a couple of times already to try to capture and digest all of the different nuggets shared by all in such a short time! Fascinating stuff and surely agree with you that most of the times it pays off to throw it out in the open and see how people will react to it and what kind of additional feedback it would spark! Terrific stuff!

      Well done and looking forward to the next one! 😉

  2. Something not really addressed here is the need to accommodate communication diversity. I’m not convinced that everyone wants to share and that it’s just a question of time before everyone lives openly and transparently on the social web. Somehow we need to accommodate a variety of styles.

  3. Great post again Luis! The movie reminds me of the time I was working in a company where we had to purchase our first fax machine. There was a lot of reluctance, after all we did all our business through telex, who needed a fax? Within a year the telex was collecting dust and all business was done by use of the fax machine.

    The difference with social media is the personal exposure people will have. One will be more comfortable with it than the other. Transparency and openness is challenging for many! I am sure the ones that do it well will accellerate and thrive!

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