Social Media is Already Inside Your Organization…

….you just might not know it. Sherry Heyl writes an insightful post, Social Media Affects Every Department Within Your Organization, which points to the ever-broadening reach of social media and its power as a resource for all disciplines within the modern corporation. I think this is an important observation, but the post also implies an issue that I think should be stated overtly: the social media contagion has already infiltrated your organization. Chances are, even in the most buttoned-down and security conscious corporate culture, that social media is gaining a foothold. Why? Because the vector for this infection is people. People recognizing the power of communication on their own terms, people increasingly aligning themselves to transparency and authenticity in their choice of community. People like the Generation Ys/Millennials who have made distributed communication their natural mode of interaction. You can try to shutdown the blogs, vlogs and podcasts, you can ban the IP addresses of every wiki, but you can’t change the fact that every day the people you hire, the people who are already in your organization, are becoming acclimated to a new set of communication tools and are hitting the reset button on their cultural expectations for integrity, immediacy and empowerment. I think the call for smart companies is to embrace this new connected, community-oriented, and empowered corporate citizen and do what is necessary to learn from the best of their skills, to nurture environments that will attract and retain the top talents, the most effective distributed thinkers. The challenge will be to adjust the top-down management styles and to educate this new employee on the ethics of corporate communication in a world where information is permanent.

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