Acting Social Doesn’t Work

by Jay Deragon on 12/10/2012

Organizations that try and act like they are social without understanding what “social” means are setting themselves up for failure.

Most organizations have adopted social technology in some form or another. Many organizations have even set up “social media” departments and hired “social media gurus” to run them. They gather followers, propagate marketing messages and compete for attention. Yet behind all the “social signs” the majority are acting out a part while in real life the cultures of these organizations are anything but social.

Nilofer Merchant writes: Today, many 800-pound gorillas look more like dinosaurs. From technology, to banking, to education to health care, from automobile makers to the media, many organizations that once dominated now struggle to meet the rapidly changing demands of a volatile, global marketplace. Thus far, organizations have been focused on tacking on social elements onto their current operations. Social has been adopted programmatically, rather than strategically. All that does is get the Gorillasaurs to lumber a little faster. It’s not enough to escape the asteroid.

The reality is more like this: The world has changed; how we create value has changed. Organizationally we have not. It will be wholly insufficient to put the word “social” in front of existing business models and expect things to change. Instead, we need to imagine the fundamental enterprise anew for the social era. Lean, adaptive, community-driven organizations, built for speed, will thrive.  via Rules For the Social Era – Nilofer Merchant – Harvard Business Review.

Becoming Real

The social tsunami continues to grow in force and size. No shore can escape its reach and no firewall can stop its penetration. The force behind the social tsunami is consumers, employees, suppliers and customers eager to improve the quality of their relationships, their experiences and life in general.   Rather than being part of the force behind the social tsunami many organizations are simply standing on the shores unaware of the size and impact of the approaching waves.

In order to survive the social tsunami organizations acting social will need to get real and recognize that their cultures, business models, strategies and thinking must change.  Otherwise the social tsunami will eventually destroy “their beach fronts then their buildings”.  In other words stop acting and get real.

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