The vandals took the handle

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The buck now stops at everyone’s desk

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I’ve often criticised government bureaucrats for hastening slowly with ‘social media’.

But, to be fair, employers in both the public and private sectors are in unchartered waters, trying to adapt and apply traditional management methods to a change in general community behaviour.

There are no boundaries around what we are calling ‘social media’: new connected communities are not  left behind when you enter the workplace. And nor should they be. This change in behaviour is a step forward with great benefits for  businesses and public bodies.

Admittedly, the questions for employers are many, as staff meld professional and personal lives as never before. And this is one issue that won’t go away.

Smart employers realise that such changing life practices will automatically affect work practices – and they must relinquish some of their traditional control. Employees equally must show utmost  professionalism and responsibility, worthy of the trust that underpins social media.

So called  ‘charters of operation’ or ‘templates’ like those drawn up this week by the UK and US governments, in part, are rather painful attempts to impose  order (on the plus side, they do also contain some subtle and intelligent guides for clarifying responsibility)

But what is really needed is firstly an acceptance by both management and staff of the enormity of this behavioural change and the impact that it is having on life generally, including the workplace. If organisations tout their ‘values’,  then here is an opportunity to see them in action.

Then, with a recognition of what is actually happening, it should be easier to handle questions such as who is trusted with operating the workplace Twitter site;  who should nurture and liaise with the organisation’s connected community;  should there be a the line between professional and personal online life; and whether personal blogs and social media sites represent career development.

Crucially, these issues should not be decided and imposed in the traditional top-down management style, but should be the result of online collaboration in the spirit of social media.

After all, this type of change requires trust and acceptance of responsibility all round. Management is also feeling its way tentatively in this changed environment, so it shouldn’t carry all the weight.  In a social media world, it’s only fair that the buck stops at everyone’s desk.

Have a good weekend all.



Written by ianandsue

July 30, 2009 at 11:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. […] Whether it be Facebook, Mixx, Reddit, Digg, Youtube, Twitter or any other social media channel of your preference, it is a fact that most of the tools, sites and channels, which flourished as a result of Web 2.0, are of a time-consuming nature. Naturally, if you are to waste your own private time working around those channels; sharing information, watching clips, meeting new people, chatting or listening to music, then it would be acceptable. But what about when your utilization of those channels gets out of your own room, home and free time and steps into your working hours? […]

  2. The problem for employers is that social media is a general behavoural change that is touching their customers and clients the same way as everyone else. Unless employers see it for what it really is, they may wake up one morning and find their customers are no longer listening.

    If that happens, I suggest that employers may well regret that they tried to hold back the tide.


    August 4, 2009 at 9:38 am

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