If you witnessed how Web 1.0 was adopted (or not) in the nonprofit workplace over the past 10-15 years, you'll notice that fear and silo culture are nothing new or unique as barriers to adoption.
Steve MacLaughlin recently pointed this in an email. He often uses the metaphor of not having your web strategy or data be an island. Steve said silo culture has been a barrier to effective web strategy for years. "The Web is still its own silo in many organizations. It isn't used as part of an overarching strategy. When nonprofits started using the web, it was largely disconnected from what the rest of the org was doing. It started out as something done by communications or marketing or "owned" by IT. That makes sense, but it created a silo."
This sent me back into my archives from over ten years ago when Web 1.0 was going mainstream in nonprofit workplaces, along with the need to develop technology plans. Similar adoption issues and themes surfaced as I identified in my recent post on social media policy.
When I facilitated technology and web workshops for nonprofits in the 1990's, I did a lot of workshops on TechnoStress where small groups would identify their concerns and then literally draw a picture of them. These
are some drawings and reflections
from nonprofit staff members in the early to mid-1990's about
using the web, email, etc. Today, they might not view these now
mainstreamed web tools in that way. But would some of the same fears surface about social media?
The term "TechnoStress" was coined by Michelle Weil and Larry Rosen title of a wonderful book. TechnoStress is the stress we feel both personally and organizationally when a new technology is introduced into our work lives. This book was written in 1997 just as Web 1.0 started to cross the chasm.
The authors were concerned about people who were not using the Internet and being excluded from the benefits. They estimate that about 10-15 of the population are eager to adopt new technologies, another 50% need to have the value proven, and the rest are fearful of new technology. If you are one of the 10-15% of early adopters in social media, it is important to understand how to provide assistance to help others cross the chasm, whether individually or as an organization.
What makes this different is that the technology that is driving this change - the "social graph" or the map of connectedness that we're creating through participation in online social networks. This technology impacts us personally first before it enters the workplace. In the past, adoption of technologies like Web 1.0 and the personal computer were driven by the workplace.
What lies beneath the use of these social media tools? Whether you're using them to support your organization's marketing and fundraising, for activism, or collaboration across organizations. It's working in a networked way. It can mean:
- Leveraging personal networks of individuals: These tools allow us as individuals to build powerful networks and social capital - and this can be used to help our organization's achieve goals. The tools make the line between personal/organizational is quite squishy and that's a change management issue.
- Moving from .org to more networked organizations: Can nonprofits continue to be silos in and of themselves - not to mention continue to work internally as silos in an age of social media? As my colleague Allison Fine says it is the need to move to network speak and think about the nonprofit staff, volunteers, board, and funders as nodes within their network which is only part of a much larger network of people and resources.
What change management process is needed to move away from organizational silos or islands to fully leverage the social graph and power of social media for nonprofits? What are the consequences of ignoring the need to make this shift? Do all organizations need to adopt social media or not - or at least this new way of working?
Dave Cormier, Rhizomatic Education: Community As Curriculum
Joitske Huslebosch, Can You Shift Your Organization's Culture By Introducing Social Media?
Steve MacLaughlin, No Constituent Is An Island
Amy Sample Ward, Moving Away from Organizations To What?
Michael Gilbert, The Permeable Organization
Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger, Cluetrain Manifesto, Chapter 5 The Hyperlinked Organization
Ton Zijlstra, How We Might View Organizations
David Wilcox, Social Media Supports the Shadow
Ori Brafman and Rod A Beckstrom, The Starfish and The Spider
Memetricbrand, A Networked Mindset
Working Wikily - Resources for Network Effectiveness
and paper "Working Wikily"