Slide from David Wilcox
There were some fantastics reflections and comments in the post, "Social Change Behind the Firewall" and you all are so smart that I wanted to summarize the thread and share it with folks who many not have trolled through all the comments.
The visual is from a reflection by David Wilcox after a workshop he gave in March. What struck me is that it was the same message I heard last week at NDN from Micah Sifry. It's no longer about top-down campaigns. As Joe Trippi said, "It's the Network, Stupid." Just wanted to flag that pattern.
Now, to dig into David's post. He summarizes the internal control issues elegantly:
New media tools can give housing associations better ways to provide information, and support communication and collaboration within and outside the organisation. However, if the tools are in the hands of the resident/customers, that changes power relationships. Things shift from "take it from us" to "we'll take it from each other".
That's where the difficulties arose. While many people in the workshop were excited by the possibilities, they foresaw difficulties which were summed up in two phrases. The first was "we can't do that" - which meant the IT department and senior staff won't let us look at certain sites, or use free tools. The second was "we can't let them do that" - which meant that within the culture of the organisation it would not be conceivable to help customers develop their own voice, except within quite tightly controlled circumstances.
David points to a guide that I'm printing off to read on the plane called "The Secret Underground Guide to Social Media for Organizations" by Colin McKay.
This post struck a nerve with some folks who mentioned how difficult it is to get "upper management" presumably analogue adults to understand the power of social media and the culture shift that is happening. This needs to happen around all social media activities and each new tool seems to require a new stealth strategy.
Take for example video. Beth Dunn mentioned she'd like to start making short videos to post on Youtube, but the communications staff would prefer to upload the organization's dinner video. Jay Dedman and Michael Hoffman offered some excellent advice.)
Part of the reason it is difficult is because many have not experienced it first hand. So, how do you get senior management to understand?