Jane Hart posted a tongue-in-cheek video by Ron Desi of 10 reasons why you should not have social media in the organization, and is collecting rebuttals. I figured I should weigh in, so as not to be left out ;), but I’ll go on and list 10 reasons why you should want social media in your organization that aren’t aligned with the reasons not to! But first, the rebuttal:
10. Social media is a fad.
Communication has been at the core of being human since before the campfire. Augmenting our capabilities with technology, using tools, yeah, that’s not new. So using tools to facilitate communication is just natural evolution. Was the computer a fad? The internet a fad? Busted.
9. It’s about controlling the message.
You can’t control the message, and social media isn’t going to change that. They have phones, email, hallway conversations, parking lot conversations, and the social media cigarette break. I won’t even go into why you’d want to control the message, because that comes up later in the list.
8. Employees will goof off.
This is redundant with the previous one. They’ll still have phones, email, paper, etc, e.g. lots of ways to goof off. They’ll goof off regardless if you haven’t given them meaning in the work, but social media won’t affect it, yay or nay.
7. Social Media is a time waster.
They already have social media (email, phones, etc). Are they wasting time with them, or using them to work? Same argument as before: they’ll waste time or not, depending on the work environment, not the tool. You have to make the environment meaningful and valuable, regardless of the technology!
6. Social media has no business purpose.
Again, they already have email. Do you use email for business? What might they do with the ability to ask questions, provide hints, suggestions, and pointers? To work together on a problem? Business is communication.
5. Employees can’t be trusted.
See previous responses. The tool doesn’t matter. Either they can be trusted, or they can’t (and if they can’t, you’ve failed, not them).
4. Don’t cave into the demands of the millennials.
The generational differences myth has already been busted. The evidence is that what the different generations want out of work really isn’t that different. What workers want are ways to achieve meaningful goals, and they want whatever tools will help them. If there are new tools, get those tools into their hands!
3. Your teams already share knowledge effectively.
They may share as effectively as they have been able to, but why would you limit them to what has been possible? Why not empower them with what is now possible?
2. You’ll get viruses.
That’s a risk with all IT, and your IT department should block that at the firewall. You don’t block other IT, you still have email, and ERPs, and other software. Why would you treat this any differently?
1. Your competition isn’t using it, so why should you?
Aren’t you looking for every competitive advantage you can? Why would you even think of not considering a possible advantage?
So let’s now turn this around, what is the advantage we’re talking about?
- You can do more work. The tools provided are magnifiers of effort. Tools in general are augments of our ability, and new tools mean either new abilities or more abilities.
- You can do more work independent of distance. Social media provides new tools to work together, independent of geographic location, so you can get contributions from the right people regardless of where they work and live.
- You can do more work independent of time. Social media tools are asynchronous as well as synchronous, so work can continue as needed.
- You can work faster. The barrier to working quickly, the time for communications to percolate, is dropping. We can put richer media through faster.
- You can communicate better. The richer media mean you can more effectively transit the message.
- You can collaborate better. The tools support not only communication, but also shared efforts on a single output.
- You can learn* faster. Learning’s critical, and by sharing that learning more seamlessly, the organization makes fewer mistakes, and fewer repeated mistakes.
- You can learn deeper. Your learning now is more richly connected through information resources, people and shared representations. The dialog can go to a whole new level of understanding.
- You can innovate better. Learning faster and deeper means more problems-solved and more ideas generated, improved, and developed into solutions.
- You can succeed faster. The only sustainable edge will be the ability to out-learn your competitors.
Why wouldn’t you want to get more power in the hands of your people, to not just survive, but thrive?!?!
*Note that I do not mean formal learning here, I mean the broad definition of learning, and very specifically the type of learning that means exploring the unknown and creating new understandings: problem-solving, research, experimentation, creativity, innovation, new products, new services, new markets, new businesses. That’s the type of learning needed, and needing facilitation.