5 Fears Of Social Media

by Jay Deragon on 02/06/2011

Social technology is ripping the control of messages from old media to new media. Study after study shows that people trust the media from their “friends” much more than they trust media from organizations and institutions.

When control “shifts” then those who once had the control try and control the shift.  Trying to figure out how to control human nature is a useless exercise and waste of intellect.

Is the fear of losing control motivated by money, ego or belief that the old media school knows more about media than the new media school? Is it a fear that employees will share things in the public that your organization doesn’t want shared? Is it a fear of losing control over media, people and messages? You’ll have to decide on your own however it is becoming more and more apparent that five things are fueling the fear behind losing control. These are:

  1. They’re afraid they’ll lose control of their brand
  2. They Try and Control What They Don’t understand
  3. You Can’t Control What You Can’t Measure
  4. They’re Afraid that People Will Speak Up
  5. They’re Afraid of Losing Money

Many times the things that we fear are excuses not to learn why we fear those things.  Your brand is what people think and believe about it. You lose control when you try and control it with spin, tricks and anti-social tactics #1.  I’ve seen many executives discount discussions about social media because their egos will not allow them to admit they don’t understand it #2. Organizations come to a place where they say “OK, let’s use social media” then they scream about metrics, measures and controls #3. As a result of hearing horror stories about employees of other companies speaking up and out of sync with the corporate message leader’s fear what employees will say so they try and control it with policies #4. If you have 1-4 fears then #5 is merely another justification to support the previous 4 fears.

Social media is here and it’s here to stay.  To use fear as an excuse to not learn what it is, its implications and power and the relevant dynamics that are happening as a result of it is something you ought to fear.  Don’t believe? In Egypt people lost their lives fighting for freedom of speech. Entire industries, governments and institutions are being disrupted because of it. “It” just happens to be the voice of the human network expressing how, what and why they feel about anything, everything and everyone.  Ironically the human network has no fear when their friends, millions, agree with the issues expressed.

Control is no longer the rule rather the exception. To use fear to try and control anything or being fearful of losing your control is fruitless.

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