Tweet this: Your company may not be ready for social media

Attention tweet addicts, blog proponents and social networking junkies: As much as you like this stuff personally, your business may not be able to handle social media.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

For however much we bloggers love to rave about the virtues of social media (we ARE part of it, so why wouldn't we rave?), here's a shocking revelation: your business might not be ready to handle it.

That's the topic explored in this essay on The Conversation portion of the Harvard Business Review web site.

The post, "When Your Company Culture Isn't Ready for Social Media," poses two scenarios based on real-life instances and asks you to reflect on how your management team would react to both. In both cases, the question really comes down to this: Are you willing to accept uncensored comments that might be contrary to your organization's point of view or that threaten the status quo?

There's been all sorts of quantitative evidence held up in favor of using social media for marketing your brand, and I have done plenty of research on the topic for some of my clients, including Cisco Systems, Agilysys and Ingram Micro.

But while you can control the messages you broadcast in social media and the timing of them, there is absolutely no predicting how your audience will react. So a blog post that you might view as innocuous might produce a viscerally negative reaction in a reader. How your team handles that reaction -- leaves it, responds to it, chooses to let it stand without comment -- will say a lot about how ready they are to handle social media.

The authors of this blog post, who are getting ready to publish a book in the spring called The 2020 Workplace, suggest that depending on the background of your organization, social media might be something that your company embraces slowly, as part of smaller pilot projects of workgroups. In any case, the time for waiting is over and 2010 will be the year you have to take a stand one way or another.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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