Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Overcoming objections to social media reblogged

I found a great post by called Using social media in your nonprofit: overcoming objections, written by Debra Askanase. She writes about the need to engage in social media as a nonprofit, because conversations are happening online anyway. Her angle is more an organisational identity building angle, whereas I investigate the potential of social media for professionalisation and learning. But the objections are very recognisable.

She lists 5 objections she heard while presenting about social media

1. It’s not safe! What about the BU Craigslist killer? (someone REALLY asked this question in the presentation)
2. What if our biggest rival pretends to be us online?
3. Social media means a lot of work and we don’t have the staff time to do that.
4. There is no place in our organization for social media
5. People will attack us online with negative critique.

For each objection, she gives some answers. I liked the practical example of two organisations that practise 'online listening' through social media:

Carie Lewis from the Humane Society of the US (she’s their Brand Ambassador) holds a 9-minute staff meeting every day to inform each and every one of the HSUS employees about “what’s going on that day - PR, what people are talking about on Twitter, etc.”

Wendy Harman, of the American Red Cross, writes that “We distribute a daily social media update email that contains a sampling of most relevant mentions.” Everyone must be involved. No more silos.

Other objections I often hear are fear for using software that is not within the organisation's firewall, fear for information overload (not seeing the trees through the forest). In development low bandwidth is also used as an excuse. Yet, taking into account how many people you work with are comfortable using social media is a necessary step. I think a lot of the objections boil down to fear for the unknown, something new.

One newspaper article was very sceptical about twitter in terms of social relations, fearing that the loose relationships are mistaken for real relationships. I think that is typically a view of a person who hasn't experienced twitter. If you do, you see it is a new communication means that people use, but it is complementary to all other means.

See also the 10 objections to social media I blogged earlier on.

1 comment:

Debra Askanase said...

Thanks for reprinting my blog post. I hear the fear of information overload a lot as well, and thanks for bringing that one to light. There is a LOT of information out there, it's true, but the important part is getting out there and engaging purposefully and openly. I appreciate you adding to the blog post with your ideas and comments.