[Ed: I’m on vacation. Here’s the second of a week’s worth of guest posts.]
Guest Post by Shanan Sorochynski
No one tells you
how fast things will move once leadership is on board with social media.
There are two similes I draw on when I have to describe this scenario to someone. Which one I use depends on the company I’m in.
Image: Pattyequalsawesome via Flickr, CC 2.0
To colleagues at the office:
“It is like a roller coaster. There was a slow, steady climb up. Tick. Tick. Tick. Now we are racing down the other side with our eyebrows blown back passing tilt-a-whirls and concession stands. It is just a flurry of web pages and site traffic.”
To my fellow social media trench mates:
“It is like that scene in Chuck Palahniuk’s book Choke when Victor, after days of not having a sh*t, has it all forced out of him in one messy eruption that leaves him wilted and shaking on the floor.”
Some days it really does feels like that – a lot of frustrating waiting and pushing followed by an uncontainable torrent.
It took years and years of evangelizing about the benefits of social media before we had an official presence.
Can I say that again?
There was a mountain of effort behind that small step of establishing an official blog.
It is now getting close to a year since we started it. There were no disasters. It saved the department money, connected us better with stakeholders, served as a useful communications tool in an emergency, gave us metrics, etc. etc.
It was a catastrophic success. I say catastrophic, because it opened the door to a flood of “yesses” for the things I ask for.
“We need social media guidelines!”
“We need a directory so people can find all this great stuff!”
“We need to be educating employees about social media on a regular basis!”
“I’m going to be the person helping to clean up this big, beautiful decentralized social media mess, right?”
All good things.
But it feels like there are a million, equally important, things that all need to be done immediately.
If you work in Higher Ed, you know that summer isn’t about sitting in the sun. It is that tiny, merciful window of prep before the Fall semester. I’m all too aware there is a clock ticking.
Social media directory
I’ve already told you about the informal learning group that was resurrected for employees. The next project I’ve determined I need to tackle is getting the social media directory populated.
There is a sad, temporary site up now. But, I’m hoping to give it a major overhaul before September.
Image: StÃ©fan via Flickr, CC 2.0
A directory is important not only so stakeholders can find all of the institution’s social media spaces, but for my office to get a handle on just how many sites are out there and whether or not they comply with the University’s policies and guidelines.
The challenge will be creating the guidelines for what we include in the directory and what constitutes a “boot’n ya off the list” offense.
How long is too long to go without posting fresh content?
Will we allow people to submit their personal sites?
Will we add only the best sites or include everyone’s?
And of course …
How do we get people to send us links to their sites?
How do we get stakeholders to regularly use the directory?
How much time should I devote to managing it?
What benchmark should we use to determine if it’s successful?
Etc. etc. etc.
Some of these questions I thankfully don’t have to answer on my own. It’s not my directory. It’s the University community’s directory.
I have no doubt their collective smartitude will save us all. Because across campus, there are dozens of people sitting at their laptops with invisible capes flapping in the air conditioning, who I know will lift us higher.
Shanan Sorochynski manages the University of Regina’s first official blog: YOURblog. Previous to this she was the managing editor of U of R Report, the University’s faculty and staff internal publication, and a print journalist in Manitoba.
thanks for this article. leadership is really important for the team. it is makes things a bit easier to the team.
@Shanan … and someONE to keep it moving too… @HowieSPM
I heard someone at a social media conference a few years ago sum it up perfectly.
The majority of the presenters were from large corporations or organisations who were given the freedom to use these new tools. I was in the minority (HigherED) along with a handful of people from government. One of them said “Listening to all this, it makes me feel like the little kid stuck inside with the flu while everyone else gets to go outside and play.”
PS The Nemo clip made my day.
It’s One Thing to Be in the Trenches, Fighting (Or Waiting) for That ‘Yes’ (or No) in Getting ‘Social’ Adoption…But When You Hear About a ‘Comrade in Arms’ Going Through the Same Struggles, It Makes Things a Bit Easier to ‘Keep On’ the Good Fight for Social Media. Even Though There Are Lots of Companies and Organizations Saying ‘Yes’ to Being Socially Active, There Are Still a Surprising Amount of Others Saying ‘No’….It’s Baffling, I Know.
So, Reading Something Like This….and Reminding Us All That Sometimes It Can Take ‘YEARS’ to Move The Needle….It Just Serves as a Good Reminder That All Things Good Are Worth The Wait. Just Like Dory in ‘Finding Nemo’ > Just Keep Swimming (http://youtu.be/CmyUkm2qlhA)
Still Swimming :)
Big Noise Communications
Guidance is a good thing. However, organizations will be reluctant to buy services if they don’t have the structures in place to support them. Apps, webpage design, social media monitoring, etc. etc. are all great but someone needs to keep the content flowing consistently, there needs to be org. guidelines for people to know the rules of engagement, etc. etc. It’s like buying a car without an engine. You need something in place to make the whole contraption move.
It is a tough thing to gauge. I think where and how you invest your energy depends on your environment. If you feel that a “yes” is inevitable, you can spend less time evangelizing. You can plan, execute. If that “yes” is illusive you chase it.
Love your post Shanan
Too often all the sharing is from people who advise businesses on Social Media without ever being on the other side. I feel Blogs are much more powerful and long lasting than say Facebook or Twitter.
Great post Shanan- really interesting to hear about your catastrophic success and flood of ‘yes’ responses from within the organisation. It’s easy to focus (quite rightly) on advocating the benefits of going social for a brand or organisation, but equal weight and consideration has to be given to the additional elements you described above such as policy &training- not to mention maintaing content and conversation calendars. At the end of the day however, your example proves that the benefits of going social and engaging in this manner are undeniable if done well. Congrats!