Communications Enterprise 2.0

Social Media is not Internal Communications

Over at ‘Community and Social Media’, Chris Brogan has brewed up a rich discussion over social media in the enterprise: Aligning Social Media Within Companies. Mr Brogan’s obvious clout within the sphere of social media is there for a reason. He draws in info from all ranges of sources and this recent post exemplifies what this means in practice, in spades.

His posts have relevancy and impact across the different spheres of communications and here for me, what the post underscores, is that social media is not internal comms. This is drawn out by asking:

What if project managers decide to use Flip cameras to capture their weekly status meetings, and then podcast the results to the other offices? Not really marketing, eh?

Nope, it’s internal comms, or at least that’s we called it when we cast video to offices globally. But then this was in a marketing department. The soup kettle gets upset when we bring in HR to the equation. Take Facebook for example, Chris does and says: 

I think most organizations keep these kinds of efforts tied to marketing, but is that where it belongs? What’s Human Resources relationship to Facebook and what should it be?

Good question, there’s soup everywhere now. That soup is social media – it’s not comms, it’s not marketing, it’s not IT and it’s not HR. We’re looking at collaboration as much as communication. We’re looking at feedback and feedout as internal comms crosses the firewall. 

But what is it? It’s something new that’s what it is, and it’s us. It’s communications Jim, it’s collaboration Jim, but not as we know it. The big question then – where will social media ‘live’ in the enterprise? Communications and PR, Marketing, HR, IT? That question has long been asked about internal comms; social media accelerates the debate. Enterprises are already roling out social media, some like Ford are ahead of the game. They’re all going to have to address this question of location very very soon if they want to embrace the advantages of social media within the firewall.

5 replies on “Social Media is not Internal Communications”

What do you mean by “location” of social media? In my opinion, IT should own the tools, and they should then work with stakeholders across the company to deliver the capabilities that people need. One big stakeholder is employee communications, who should figure out how to use social tools as another channel in their arsenal. A big part of that, I think, is just to show folks how to use it and the value in it, and then get out of their way.

IT will own e-mail as a tool, but I don’t think they’re necessarily the best people to define governance or best practice. It’s that that defines ownership in my book…

This is a category error. Substitute the word “print” for “social media”,and you get “what the post underscores, is that print is not internal comms”. D’uh. Of course print isn’t internal comms, and neither is social media internal comms. Internal comms *uses* print, or social media, or video, or Facebook, as does HR, L&D, Marketing and so on. Social media is just another tool. The challenge (and the opportunity) is deciding what problems are best solved with social media.

In that case, I’d say that the organizations that use the tool–the stakeholders–own it. They should help define governance, and they will be the ones actually defining (and with hope, sharing) the best ways to do it. The beauty of these tools is no one organization can define best practice for another. But we’re probably saying the same things, and just tossing semantics back and forth…. -)

I think you’re right Jeremy and a lot of this is just a semantic difference. I’ll expand on this in a new post though as I think there’s some mileage here.

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