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Phil Turner of Hill & Knowlton posted a provocative piece on the use of Social Media from an Internal Communications perspective. He gives a whole list of reasons why communications professionals should stay clear of things like blogs and wikis, derived from a panel discussion at an industry conference:
- we already have too many channels
- we’re just adding to the clutter
- if employees see the fingerprint of corporate comms the content loses its authenticity
- employment lawyers are ready to pounce on employee blogs
- employees don’t even want these new media
- execs just wanting to be associated with latest tools are wasting our time
- if we go all the way down the social media route, we can’t get our corporate messages out
- work isn’t ‘social’
To be fair, he was playing devil’s advocate, but he still concludes:
"The experience confirmed for me what I already knew: that in the
majority of internal comms situations social media is not the answer. But the newsletter and intranet were never the answer either."
He captures some of the antipathy in corporate communications about social media, and my first reaction was to lament that they were in denial, that only a few "enlightened" comms people seem to get it. But on reflection he has a point – for the professional communicator, social media is just one tool out of many, and its not a blanket solution any more than the newsletter is the right solution all the time.
So perhaps it’s right that Phil provides a balance to the hype, but it also means that Intranet Managers may have to look elsewhere to find champions of their blogging initiative.
[there’s a postscript to this post with a hint of irony: I went to www.hillandknowlton.com to find out exactly what they did, but their "About Us" page didn’t really say – it just said how great they were. So I tried Wikipedia and that put it nice and simply – they’re one of the world’s biggest PR companies.]