“Social media culture eats policies for breakfast,” might be the 2011 version of Drucker’s wisdom, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
It is very tricky.
We can look at this from a perspective of managment vs leadership. For the purposes of today’s discussion, let’s establish some broad definitions:
Management: delineates and controls work product. Essentially, management gets things done.
Leadership: inspires and facilitates the achievement of a larger vision. Essentially, leadership moves us forward.
Typically, polices are a function of managment. They define scope of work and frame boundaries of authority. They are usually boring, dry, and not very inspiring.
Let’s face it – in general, policies aren’t beach reading.
Social media polices – to be effective – are a function of leadership teathered to managment. What do I mean by this?
Social media polices must accomplish two seemingly divergent goals:
- Instill caution. (management)
- Inspire creativity. (leadership)
Policies instill caution by articulating key boundaries such as client privacy, legal compliance, and ethical considerations. These very same policies must also inspire creativity by encouraging innovation, honoring relationships first, and putting immediate goals aside for long-term community building.
For many managers, writing social media policies may seem like a lesson in chaos. It probably is but, given the ever-evolving nature of social media, that is unavoidable.
As Frank Barrettt says, “Say yes to the mess!”
For many leaders, writing social media policies may seem like an exciting tight rope walk.
It is. And it is a dangerous one. Proceed with caution.
In 2011, we must learn to walk the very thin line between strategy, policies, and culture. Social media culture is ever changing. Policies must keep pace and anticipate changes. They must inspire creativity and instill caution, doing both in a way that moves the online community forward. If we miss the mark, we quickly become the “breakfast” of pop culture.
Social media polices should be great beach reading. Are yours?
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