Social Media in the enterprise – best practice #4

Posted: October 15th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Archive, Business, Social Media, Systematic Viewpoints | View Comments

Let it be!

In best practice #3 I say that without governance, social media risks failure. Now I’m going to speak out of the other side of my mouth and say that too much governance will also lead to failure.

Like raising a child, there’s a responsibility to set a foundation that supports positive and healthy growth but one must step back and not interfere – most of the time. Groups will ultimately define their own priorities and tone, and to be valuable to itself and ultimately to the enterprise they shouldn’t be meddled with.

Overly visible ‘management’ will almost certainly stifle open discourse, and that is the opposite of the exact value proposition that social media holds. With all the thought, care and consideration given to establishing an appropriate medium for collaboration and discourse it will be hard to step back and let this nascent environment develop according to it’s own needs. The fact that the intranet environment is by definition controlled by a relative (and often somewhat disconnected) few within the organization makes this even harder.

Find the balance and resist the urge to steer conversations. Let people bump into things and make mistakes, just keep an eye out so things stay civil. In time, the community will be on it’s own feet and in the best case will become self-maintaining.

Best practice #4: Don’t interfere with the community-building process.

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