The second rule of Fight Club

Ok then. Marc Wright challenges me to get off the fence (in his comment to my last post) with this:

The question at the centre of the debate is still unanswered: what is the role of traditional corporate video in the new social media environment?

Well, here’s my take as, as Marc so nicely puts it,  “a  fully paid-up SM wonk yourself, embedded in the UK’s leading corporate video production house “.

What exactly is new about the new social media environment? Let’s think. Out in the real world, blogs are forming into a new, joined up, countervailing force against corporate/government spin. Yay! Up the revolution!

But down here in the corporate world, are we really expecting samizdat blogging/podcasting/youtubing to form a concerted response to internal spin? I can’t see it, at least not for a while, at least not in an organisation which is remotely functional (Marc, your wonderful Exelon example notwithstanding). For how long after the official “death of deference” (circa TW3) did the iron-clad corporate hierarchy hang on? A good wee while.

I think we can agree that Social Media might, might be the beginning of a very big change in the way we, the species, interact with information around us. Give it a century or two. Potentially, it is a new environment. It might just be flavour of the month, but I’m hoping not. It’s got me blogging, for a start.

 But it’s all so darned new. 

There are two questions for me on the role of social media within the corporation.

 1. Can we as communicators use it for something? I think so. Corporately, Social Media is a solution in search of a problem. So, we need to be smart. I’m impressed by the IBM story about using blogging to self-consciously lower the centre of gravity of the organisation and empower a lower-down tier than ever before to take responsibility for something, even if it’s something ephemeral. I’m hopeful about our Big Client project to share experience better through an internal YouTube (of which much more very soon). All in all, SM certainly adds some exciting new things to our toolbox, and newness and flavour-of-the-monthness never hurt anybody when it comes to unlocking commissioning £££.

2. What do we do about employees who are outpacing us in social media? Or put another way, would you rather have people outside the tent blogging about the organisation to anyone who will listen, or inside the tent, blogging to colleagues? The youth of today, damn them, are good at this stuff. So we need to be too, otherwise we lose the argument pretty damn quick.

But a role for corporate video? C’mon. I don’t think it’s gone away at all. Where there is growing noise from pervasive video on the web, on your mobile, in the back of a taxi, there’s more and more need for the corporate communicator to rise above and hit the employee where they live. Sometimes that’s about enabling employees to talk to each other, but sometimes it’s about producing something eye-opening and mind-changing. And that’s what we’re lucky enough to get to do here at The Edge.


One Response to “The second rule of Fight Club”

  1. Social media: a solution in search of a problem « On The Nose Says:

    […] problem, as I riposted to Marc back in June is this: we as communicators need to find a way to use it for […]

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