Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reflections on LSG11 - Andy Tedd's session

Andy Tedd's session was of particular interest to me, since I started this blog to help me track what I've been learning from social media over the last couple of months...

We all know how to use social media, don't we?

DON'T WE?!

Apparently not, as many campanies are getting far too friendly with the #FAIL hashtag on Twitter.  So what is stopping us from putting these tools to best use? Usually it seems to be coming down to an unsupportive environment for communications - we're worried that we might look foolish, and sometimes we are right in this because there are consequences for getting it wrong, but too much fear will cripple us.  Companies can be criticised on social networking sites for getting things wrong, even they don't have a real presence there, so what's the difference?  And how can we break the cycle?

For a start, we have to leave behind our expectation that all corporate information should appear in a polished, professional format.  It turns out that the less complete the information seems, the more people feel invited to comment and leave their mark, and that should start getting them engaged with the process instead of being passive consumers of information.  The next step is for people in positions of influence to let the debate run freely, as they can often inadvertently stifle the conversation.  If this is happening too much, then it's a sign that your culture has to change.

Oh, and one very important point that has just been brought home via @JaneBozarth on Twitter, Social Media is not the same as Social Learning!  Social learning is not something that has been 'discovered', nor is it something to be 'implemented', and anyone who thinks that way will only succeed in throttling motivation (thanks @hjarche for inspiration too!)