Neil Chapman Guest Post: “Grandma Thinking” or why corporations don’t adopt social media

December 26, 2008

Here’s another intriguing guest post from Neil Chapman, direct from London:

Grandma thinking

As a long-time fan of the For Immediate Release podcast (Twice weekly commentary on public relations and technology by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson), there are lots of lessons for crisis communicators. And recently there has been some great discussion around how much leeway organizations should be given when it comes to learning about social media.

Then Shel Holtz wrote about the discussion on his blog – ‘We’ve embraced social media. Why hasn’t everybody else?’ He makes a great case for counseling patience. I confess I felt chastised. I need to have patience with my aged mother. As much as I try to persuade her, she just won’t adopt technologies that make communicating via the net cheaper, easier and more effective.

Skype, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Flickr …… She would feel so much closer, in touch and aware of what her children, grandchildren and even her great grandchildren are up to.

Heck, she would have regular updates, virtual collaboration and better information at her fingertips almost instantly. Social media tools have a lot going for them and it sounds pretty good to me.

You would think she would get it! So, what’s her excuse? She’s in her 80s, and most of her life has been lived without this stuff. OK, maybe I should understand and have more patience.

But what I fail to understand is when I hear of corporations not adopting the same tools, particularly when it comes to crisis planning.  What could their excuse be?

It’s as if shareholders, politicians, regulators and customers – even employees – should and will cut the  same slack to well-paid, professional  managers as my 80 year old widowed mother. I just don’t think they will.

Neil Chapman

One more comment from crisisblogger: I recently came across information about Shel’s latest book (the guy is amazingly prolific!) called Tactical Transparency. I ordered it and expect you will be hearing more about this on this blog. But don’t wait for my review–order one yourself.


3 Responses to “Neil Chapman Guest Post: “Grandma Thinking” or why corporations don’t adopt social media”

  1. Jacquie Says:

    Some of us can’t adopt social media on a large scale and are forced to tread carefully because we’re in such regulated industries… The same regulators who are being chastised right now for not being strict enough with Wall Street are strict enough so that we can’t just blog about anything or send Twitter updates everywhere. Believe me, the reasons behind corporations not adopting SM wholesale are often not as simple as they would seem…

  2. gbaron Says:

    You are very right Jacquie. I’m working on a short white paper right now about social media opportunities like twitter and youtube and why using them in a Joint Information Center environment likely violates National Incident Management System protocols. Just one example of the regulatory restriction on this kind of open, direct communication.

  3. Tricia Kent Says:

    To me, the main issue is the risk of extremely damaging backlash against major corporations inappropriately utilising social networking tools for commercial purposes. Would love to be proved wrong!

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