Making the leap

It is interesting reading the reviews of last year in social media and noting how much they still focus on the marketing use of the platforms. It is also interesting watching people using the social web for more and more interesting and “grown up” activities. 

But it has also interesting in conversations with people at various functions over the Christmas period how few of them make the leap to seeing a use for the tools in the workplace. It comes as a surprise to many when you suggest it. Almost as if they are thinking “what has connecting and sharing stuff with people I trust and want to help got to do with work?”

This the biggest hurdle to overcome. We have been so conditioned to see work as being just about processing stuff, doing our bit and no more. Focussing on sustainable transactions rather than improving things. Seeing conversations about what we are doing, and why, as time wasting. Not wanting to rock the boat or stick our heads above the parapet. 

9 thoughts on “Making the leap”

  1. Euan, I strongly agree. I too have been a little frustrated by the focus on using social media for marketing over the last couple of years, In December I was at the Media Kidocracy Konference in South Africa. One of my jobs there was to talk to the delegates (all between 13 and 21) about using social media to express themselves. And to use social media for social change and civic engagement.

    If you are interested here are my notes. http://www.davysims.com/2012/12/social-media-for-social-change-express-yourself/

    My big takeaway from the conference was from a speaker from SABC "Producing content is power". I’m having a t-shirt made!

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      1. Interesting, not come across that until now. So I followed the links, and I get what she says and what you mean. Thankfully I’n in the "maker" rather than "purveyor" column. But I shall be more guarded in future use.

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  2. well if particular environment is prone to cut tall poppies, it doesn’t matter what is expressive medium, traditional media or social ones – it is no wonder why nobody wants to rock boat: for rare exceptions, mortgages haven’t been paid from sticking head above parapet 🙂

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  3. That’s part of it… the other hurdle is the usual IT/Info security resistance, not just to the desktop access to public social platforms and tools but also to the costs and difficulties associated with setting up new platforms… it took an age for email to be wrapped up in enough chunky and often unnecessary architecture, resilience and redundancy to convince the powers that be in IT that it had a place in the work environment. Then it took even longer for people to actually use it. However, that’s where social media’s similarities with email end in this context.

    When email hit the corporate workplace I’d had it at home for years but I was unusual. For most people, the use of email at work was quite often their first run-in with it. The thing with introducing social media into the workplace is that… on the upside, many are very familiar with it in a non-work environment, but this is also the downside.

    I’ve run a number of projects recently introducing social platforms into the work environment and one of the major hurdles is convincing people to use it and overcome their out-of-work social media prejuduces (whether they be pro or anti).

    If employees are pro-social media outside work, the relative constraints and differing etiquette required within the organisation can be so off-putting they resist making the leap. Those who’ve taken against social media outside of work for whatever reason are even harder to convince… "social media is just not my thing". In the early ’90s did employees say… ‘oh… email is just not my thing’? Probably not, because it was new to them and it was being mandated as a business process by their employer. I’d be quite happy with employers taking a firmer line on mandating the use of social media, but they might need to think about removing the comfort blankets of email and other enterprise platforms in some instances in order to force the issue.

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    1. Even with the fair wind of supportive IT and, sometimes gob smacking, investment in platforms the people bit is still the hardest. Not sure about mandating the use of social though. Maybe remove some of the other ways of doing things and shift key stuff to the social platforms but mandating contribution or sharing isn’t ever going to work.

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      1. In my heart I agree about the mandating bit, but if it’s the only way of achieving something, people will have to use it… for some people, if they have a choice between asking a question of their team on Yammer or Socialcast vs cc’ing them all on an email, they’ll choose the latter. It’s perhaps less mandating, more removing the option to do anything else.

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