Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Antithesis for Social Media Adoption: 10 points to answer for getting buy-in

While social media has its fan-following, its application in business always polarize debates. Often the arguments take charge between teams labeled "control freaks vs freedom/de-centralized champions". These hardly get us to a decision that is backed by logic any time. At end, it is a writ that is dictated to follow which is more of an appeasement policy rather than a bold step. 

This post, is my attempt to play "Black Hat" advocate for social media adoption in business. All of them are my adaptations based on what I see and hear in my peer and working group.

1. Social Media tools are a distraction: Very diverse than emails. More frequent than emails. Create more flood than emails. Lots of time management tips revolve around checking emails are designated time window and closing the responses in the same window. To add another transaction window for social media would be a seemingly simpler solution. Is it worth yet from working productive hours?

2. Time to visit Social Media pages is time-consuming: Take twitter for example. With lot of tools, you can track tweets which splits your attention from main stream task at hand. Then you are distracted to visit links, then may be visit another, perform an action like comment or retweet all in middle of work extends the working hours. Take FB for another: Writing on a wall, commenting on another status, checking farmville updates are not required for business - right? Or a case of answering a question in a LinkedIn group. It takes time, effort, proof reading to post a response, since it is business people who seek out these places to check out profiles and quality of responses.

3. Social Media attraction is a temporary infatuation: When work catches up with you, when you are in fire-fighting mode, when you are ill, you don't find time for using any of your social media tools. It is then just a convenience or an exercise of freedom revolving around self-centricity. How much aligned is it for organization goals, is a management query that remains unsolved.

4. You don't miss anything, if you are not on Social Media: You may get a breaking news from another country. Or openings suiting your profile. Or a video just shot or streamed real time. But a breaking innovation story that is life changing will still be viral through traditional media, experts advised columns, blogs, presentations, videos or a well planned and executed event to garner the critical mass and make a social impact. News channels don't break news on social media and do their coverage. Rather, they link their coverage in social media to expand eyeballs to gain advertising revenue.

5. It is safe to assume no learning happens on Social Media: Can you remember the last update you made in FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspaces, Google Buzz ? How much relevant is it for the consumer in their day to day life ? What social media provides is information in drones. What stays as learning is a carefully chosen topic of interest that is iterated, read and re-read from a closed set of authored content over a good lengthy period. How much social media helps this cause is still a matter of personal opinion.

6. Social Media is information guzzler: The problem with guzzlers is that the work done vs fuel consumed is irrationally proportional to each other. Can you possibly check out every video in You Tube, track every tweet or every presentation in Slideshare? Would you want to guzzle information or take in chosen snippets from a few select mentors?

7. Is there a social cause in social media:
Shouldn't social media be used for society, of society good, and by society. If so, do organizations use social media for business or social media for a social cause. Umair Haque column "Social Media to Social Strategy" is a great read in this regard.

8. You miss your immediate society:
To be on FB, Twitter, Linked In with your connections, means missing time with immediate family, friends, social neighbors and missing get-together. Is it worth the cause to not seek the expert within your "reach range" than seek out a "internet pal"?.

9. Social Media needs utmost protection:
May not seem like a place for theft, rob or mugging. But it is a place where bad expose leaves a trail to your real character. It is a place where rules are minimal and hence one to one flirts leave a bad taste. It is a place where emotional outbursts can be played upon to sway people towards positions they find it hard to come back around.

10. Social Media needs baby sitting:
If you have been baby sitting you will know what I mean. The nurture, the care, the attention, the sensitization, maintaining the sanitation is a full time job. It is a highly focused and demanding exercise. It is a continous cycle. It requires discipline in ensuring timeliness. All of this is applicable for using Social Media well and shower the love back at you. Is it possible to do it as part of your job unless you have a mandate to do so?

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