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This piece was brought to my attention by Bruce Kneuer via Twitter. I appreciate your thoughtful exposition and recommendations. You nicely summarize the ways in which various applications of social media are converging to create opportunities for organizational leaders to think about and approach the implementation and implications of new digital technologies more strategically and holistically.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the cultural issues connected with social media, and the oft-repeated idea that organizations have to place a high value on their employees (and related ideas of empowerment and engagement and trust) for social media initiatives to be successful. Not only do I wonder if that kind of orientation is necessary, I think emphasizing it can be self-defeating for social media advocates. First there’s the issue of resistance from organizational leaders who will find ideas like this threatening and/or too touchy-feely and will reject social media as so much silly fluff. But even in a hierarchical, command-and-control culture, leveraging these technologies can produce tremendous benefits in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. It’s also possible that implementing the technologies can lead to changes in the culture as people see their value in achieving goals and objectives.

Although human capital values are important to social media success, I personally prefer to lead with performance values, which most organizational leaders are unlikely to be able to resist. Convincing leaders of social media’s value in increasing revenues and/or decreasing expenses can lead them to make it the strategic priority it needs to be. And at the end of the day, no matter how egalitarian an organization is, the ultimate determination of success is likely to be leadership support.

Courtney Hunt
Founder, Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community

Julie Hunt

Hi Courtney,
Thanks for stopping by and reading my article. I really appreciate your comments regarding the important role of company leadership for achieving social inside & out - & ways to help leadership understand the great value that social could bring to an enterprise.

Gianluigi Cuccureddu

Hi Julie,

Good article. Change is one of the difficult aspects of opening up a business. It will go gradually, it will be pragmatic and it will be at the pace of the organization.

People and humanization are important (social business), though we use the concept Open Business to define the power and purpose of social media (enablers):
Organizations opening their activity directly and indirectly to external stakeholders through the use of social media, its data and technologies for the purpose of competitive advantages in marketing, service- and product innovation.


Thanks for this article. The cumulative research from various parties including cf. McKinsey is making it clear that the more transparent the organization and its work the more innovative -- which leads to faster market share gains and higher comparative profitability. I particularly agree that businesses which haven't radically opened up internally can't expect to successfully sustain external 'social media' success; the 'don't share!' culture can too easily undermine 'always share and respond' external efforts. We're on the cusp of all business processes becoming inherently social, well beyond BI and BPM and CRM. Even e.g. product development and design (our software at Newsgator is OEM'd for example by product development software companies to 'open up' those processes). Today's "info worker" expects instant ability to share from anywhere (any process and device) with anyone internally or externally who can help them get this moment's mission done most effectively. The biggest challenge most organizations we deal with are facing around that have to do with mobility -- security, scalability, and device multiplicity the biggest headache-inducers today. The next frontier? Relevance -- making music from the cacophony the 'social business' is amplifying....

Julie Hunt

Hi Gianluigi!
Thanks for adding your insights to understanding more about achieving open business / social business. Totally agree that most enterprises of all sizes have a lot of trouble with change, even though so many need it badly.

Julie Hunt

Hey there JB Holston! Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation. Love your final metaphor: "making music from the cacophony" to achieve relevance from social channels.
Effective collaboration with unexpected partners inside and out is essential for organizations to grow, change, innovate, as you point out.


Julie thanks for referencing these pieces! As background the stack is indeed for investors and social software vendors --not really intended for the brand side. I love your note to remind this is about people.

Hope to catch up with you soon!

Julie Hunt

Hey Jeremiah! Thanks for taking time to read my article. I really appreciate the quality work that you do and have refrenced it in other articles.

Yes would love to meet up too!


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