Why not Take One Small Step?

07 May

Today’s reading is in regards to the organization and network. Nowadays, the banditries of organizations blurred because of the wild spread through internet and social media. According to the theory of our textbook, organizations, probably even as small as a local coffee shop, has become an “open system”. The advantage of this change is that organizations can access more resources, and the operation and management for an organization can be highly improved, while of course, some challenges such as privacy policies and public relationship are also bought about.

If one takes a close look at the attitude to social media use of different organizations, he or she may find that the attitudes are really varied. Some organizations make good use of social media as an effective communication channel and a marketing strategy; some organizations starts catching up and try desperately to integrate themselves with the current frameworks in the new era. However, the others are still hesitated to step their feet into the “new world”.

According to my observation, the reluctances to step out depend on various factors, e.g. the nature of the organization, the technology preference of management, and also the expectation level on social medial. Some organizations feel that they are facing a dilemma regarding the use of social media. Take the settlement service providing non-for-profit organizations as an example, many of them find themselves in a difficult situation. The reasons include: first, their services are information-service natured, and requires a high degree of confidentiality, so the management find risky to skip to the world of social media; secondly, the reputation is critical for the organizations of this nature, and using social media for them is like exposing them under the sunshine. You know, sunshine is beautiful, but sometimes it can be harmful, too.

In my opinion, the main problem they have is that they do not regard themselves as an “open system”. One thing they forget about might be that in this world now, no organization is a closed system any more only because they do not open themselves to the web world. People will comment, twitter, and blog the organizations even though there organizations choose not to show up in the frameworks. If these organization put down their bias, and consider about integrate social media into their management, they can make use of social media in many fields, as the graph shows below:



4 responses to “Why not Take One Small Step?

  1. Andrea

    May 8, 2012 at 2:40 am

    Amanda you capture quite succinctly my organization’s reactions to social media. It took two years of asking and demonstrating why we should own our own voice online before work gave in and allowed me to manage social media. We don’t have a policy right now because we haven’t felt like we’ve needed one. We do have a communications plan though so that we can get the most out of this new space that we operate in. Great blog post!

    • yangamandazhang

      May 8, 2012 at 7:07 am

      Hi Andrea,
      Thank you very much for your comments. I have to say that you should feel much happier if you know the whole image in my organization.
      I have been curious about what exactly the communication coordinators do since I stepped into this field. That is the reason why I was so excited when I knew that my organization is going to have communication coordinator (finally!) this January. Basically speaking, from my perception based on her work, the communication coordinator is the one who takes meeting minutes with notebook and pen, and the one who deals with brochures and newsletters. I was very passionate to talk about what I have learnt about social media with her. I thought it would be wise to have some preparation before I chat with this professional. So I dig every corner of our website only to find out that there is only a “Facebook” link without any color. And worse, this Face Book account is unsearchable. You should feel happy that at least your organization spent two years talking about this topic, which indicates that the topic is drawing attention. From my interpretation, my organization regards social media as an “enemy” which can hurt its reputation. My coordinator never accepts the Linked-In invitations from our volunteer because she is very afraid of being identified. We had a volunteer who listed her experience with our organization as a volunteer translator in her Linked-In. Later she got a temporary position in my organization because one of my coworkers needed a one-year leave for her master thesis. The volunteer updated her profile in LinkedIn, as every social media user will do, however, at the same time, she is still running her own translation business, on which she made a live on before she was employed temporarily by my organization. One of her clients found out that the translation service this volunteer provides is more expensive than that of my organization. So she called the big boss and told the story. What happened next will not be out of your imagination. I do admit that the volunteer did not deal with this properly, however, protecting one organization from being identified and association with negative phenomenon is something impossible under the current situation. It is especially impossible when you do not even have your own voice on this field. I sometimes feel very disappointed that we offer so many good programs, but we cannot promote them effectively. I am also disappointed that we need so many volunteers, but we never make this need public through social media, which is the most effective way. If effectiveness is one of the goals the organizations focus on, what are we waiting for?

  2. sea blue zed

    May 8, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Very relevant points. Being reluctant has various forms. Another point to consider – an organization may not be reluctant to using social media, but may not have the resources (employees) to provide time to do these activities. In my office, there is a central marketing team which handles tweets, Facebook, etc, and each department can also have their own social media. For my unit, I am the designated social media communicator, and recently had one of my colleagues do their first “tweet.” We were all very proud … it only took several months to get there! 🙂 –

    • yangamandazhang

      May 8, 2012 at 7:12 am

      Cheer for you and your coworkers! Yes, you are right. Adapting to the social media for an organization is a process and is not just a decision-making. Even I myself will feel it is an important decision because this is not only a decision on start using some software; it is actually a choice of lifestyle. If an individual needs time to make this decision and grasp the essential skills, the organization will face more factors to think about. However, taking slow steps and standing still are two different things.


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