Friday, March 25, 2011

Social media disrupting organisation structures

Great conversations with other digerati at #chelttwestival last night with lots of interesting war stories:

Social media/networks deployed in government departments are empowering ground-level staff to connect cross boundaries (geography, time, department, skill set...). And empowering them to connect straight to senior management. They love that; and so do the seniors - they get immediate access to real-time info about what's actually happening, without filtering, spin or time delays. But layers of middle management are threatened with irrelevance and resist change due to fears of power loss. Arab Spring suggests they won't succeed in holding the status quo!

Jury is out on whether internal social networking can effect positive change in smaller organisations: with under 100 staff (the overwhelming majority of outfits) there might not be enough overlap of affinity group interests to catalyse viable sub-group activity. It certainly can't be done without a supportive culture.

How threatening is Philip Rosedale's virtual company with no formal offices and a virtual staff of ever-changing freelancers who transparently bid for work? Could this be a Perfect Market in operation? Once invented, can other businesses resist the competitive pressures it will unleash?

How do you guarantee a viral message impact? You can't - it needs luck as well as humour, value, creativity, originality, and more. But maybe you just try it; work hard at it; and don't tell anyone if it doesn't work!

British survey of last ten years' worst innovations is headed by "Reality TV" and, 2nd, "Facebook & Twitter" - Yet we "all" watch reality TV and Facebook/Tweet about it! It's probably for the same reason that blokes talk about the latest sporting events, even if they hate sports and find it boring...The fear and cost of potential social exclusion is so great it alters our behaviour!

Thanks for the stimulating ideas @reid24hrs @rich_copy @jonnop @thebrandbutton @lizziefenwick and @glosjobs and others!