Thursday, August 31, 2006

Social media for marketing, PR, communications

When you think of social media in business, do you focus on opportunities to improve the business, or do you worry about losing control of information and decisionmaking? Jerry Bowles expresses the perceived risks to senior executives in why CEOs are afraid of social media:
Large-scale adoption of the architectures of participation would represent a revolutionary change in organizational dynamics because–by giving lots of individuals a voice and audience through a networked platform–they force decisionmaking to be more transparent, democratic and consensus-based. [...]

In my experience, most leaders do not want to operate their organizations as experiments in democracy or collective intelligence. Not even our Presidents and Congresspeople want to do that. That’s why resistance to Enterprise Web 2.0 technologies is likely to be understated, but fierce, at the upper levels.

To gain a foothold, the new collaboration platform vendors are going to have to initially target already receptive areas like marketing, PR and corporate communications departments or divisions with specific projects which need networking and collaboration.

I like Jerry's conclusion, because my focus is on social media and search for market intelligence, which is geared toward... marketing, PR and corporate communications (and a few others).

It's also interesting to see the focus on social media for collaboration; there are so many ways to look at this stuff. I'm not entirely disagreeing with his concerns, but there are many ways to start using social media in the enterprise. Companies should be able to take advantage of the benefits without undermining management. Just think through the consequences before you use all the new toys.

Another way to avoid triggering CEO anxiety could be to focus on applications that don't threaten existing power structures (and a few features that might even enhance the CEO's influence in the company). Rather than going all-out for the revolutionary applications of electronic collaboration, look for areas where new technologies can help people do their current jobs more effectively and efficiently. It doesn't have to be dangerous.



At 9/01/2006 7:03 AM, Anonymous Jeremiah Owyang said...

In my experience, it's not CEOs that struggle with this, it's the VPs and C level below the CEO.

Often the CEO is too high to see the effects of social media.

The biggest pill for many executives to swallow in my mind is that this is only going to increase.

The whole next generation of workers will be bloggers, you can't stop the MySpace generation

At 9/01/2006 9:29 AM, Blogger Nathan Gilliatt said...

It's going to be interesting to see business adapt to the technology habits of today's young adults. They're another huge cohort like the boomers, so ignoring their preferences is not an option.

What do you think of the conclusions? Targeting adoption by marketing and the others, working into established functional roles?


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