Using the energy of Facebook

Today, I participated in a quite interesting discussion about how to leverage the power of social media. The subject is not really new, but the approach was a little different. This time it was not so much focused on the tools and that ‘we need one of those Facebook-things’. Facebook is number 1 in Denmark so it is quite natural that this is the yardstick, but what I found interesting was that it was all about, quote, ‘using the energy that people put into Facebook’ in the sense that you should create the same sense of excitement internally.

I like the idea but it’s still a tricky one. The minute that you apply the corporate setting on to a social network, you also apply the corporate values, culture, and most importantly that many people act very differently in a corporate setting than they do privately – they apply what I would call a corporate filter which comes in many shapes and forms, but all these filters are a result of company culture and values.

The strength of personal social networks is that they are – well – personal. You are only accountable to yourself – not to your boss – not to team-members – only you. This means that the filtering is a whole lot easier, you don’t share something that you don’t feel comfortable sharing.

Creating a culture where you openly share things are not as easy as it sounds and all too often I hear that everything needs to happen at once, and this is actually the first stepping stone to make people REALLY uncomfortable. Depending on your corporate culture, the change management task kan be huge!

In stead you should start small. Don’t announce the “Acme Facebook” – in stead make it possible to ‘like’ (and maybe dislike?) your news. That’s a start. What about management? Do they see Facebook as a waste of time? Maybe you should look at what LinkedIn offers, chances are that the guys in the corner offices use (and recognise) LinkedIn as a valuable tool. You and I may agree that quite a few features overlap between Facebook and LinkedIn, but who cares – as long as it gets you moving 🙂

We did not come to a conclusion at the meeting, but we had quite a few discussions around the topic. Actually I don’t believe that you have one single truth here. Do you?

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