Maybe you SHOULD fear social media!

23 08 2009

Social media is all the rage among people who advise corporations and nonprofits on how to reach their audiences. You have to be on top of it! It’s a whole new world! It’s not like the old media; you have to be transparent! Well, maybe not.

As someone who has been involved with nonprofit organizations in many guises and worked for and consulted to for-profit companies, I can tell you that something which is ‘all the rage‘ isn’t necessarily what you want to be doing immediately. Back in the day, Sears made its impact not by being the first to sell something, but by being the one that capitalized on what others were selling. Obama’s campaign didn’t invent tight messaging and using media, it just did it much better. Even Google didn’t invent searching, they just advanced it to the point that it was really useful.

So being cautious does have its place. I said cautious, of course, not head-in-the-sand. Sears and Google knew what was happening, and they watched, learned, and improved. The same with learning the best ways to use social media.

An earlier post here offered 7 tips for employees who Tweet, Facebook, or otherwise use social networking media. It was called “Don’t Be Stupid.”¬†Now I recommend an¬†excellent set of posts by Tom Cuniff, on the ICPG blog, for organizations contemplating entering this world.

Tom Cuniff is focused on the for-profit world — it’s a blog about consumer packaged goods, after all — but his words of wisdom are very well written, and really nail the fears of companies and organizations in embarking on social media. This post is titled “What if your CEO is right to be afraid of social media?” It’s pro-social media, but acknowledges the risks.

Just my style – a pragmatic look at ways to make our work in the nonprofit world better.

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2 responses

23 08 2009
tjcnyc

Susan, thank you very much for the kind words about my post. Social media is very much about relationships, and I’d guess that nurturing and maintaining positive relationships is central to the success of great not-for-profit organizations.

I hope what I wrote is a useful POV for the people who read your blog.

24 08 2009
susandetwiler

True, virtually everything is about relationships — whether we know it or not. And I try to help nonprofits apply relevant for-profit techniques to the business of running a not-for-profit. Not everything shouldbe emulated wholesale, but there is a lot of good to learn. Your post was one of them.

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