Who’d have thunk it?

Online technology has the dubious honour of both connecting people globally and dehumanising the planet. It’s a tough gig. But ultimately it is our own approach to online behavior that ultimately determines what the outcome will be. That’s good news isn’t it? Absolutely.

One of the most time consuming parts of any online strategy is actually making the people part work.  From the ability for two teams to agree on a process, to preparing for what ‘two-way conversation’ really means for your approach to customer service; these are the things that take the longest to get right. Never fear, there is a sweet reward for those who spend the time to consider the people part, for there is yet to be a business that is not about people.

As the number of corporate social media channels increase, so too does the need to think about how it impacts our different people roles – as an employee, as an employer, as a community member and as a consumer.  While our objectives may be different within each context, some fundamental principals are the same – we like to be treated with respect, with intelligence and as a human being.  This does not always occur and it is often our approach that is to blame.  Do we remember to stay human? Online strategies that fixate on click through rates, follower numbers and page impressions contain no attributes which evoke any human response that I have come across and subsequently cannot be linked to the delivery of tangible business outcomes (which tend to involve people).

Euan Semple’s aptly named tome “Organizations don’t tweet, people do” pays homage to the idea of letting people at work be human online.  Sounds obvious,  (and Euan’s blog is named just that – The Obvious) however the reality is not always such. This is, as the title claims ‘ a managers guide to the social web’. It is jargon free and full of common sense.  A refreshing change to many social media titles and a great one to leave on the desk of a sceptical boss who may (or may not) be trying to understand why anyone would bother with social media.

I was fortunate enough to meet Euan in 2005, the old fashioned way via a dog eared copy of Inside Knowledge which had made its way around my team and reached me about 6 months after its publication date.  He was finishing up a long career at the BBC, where he pioneered corporate blogging and internal web forums – yes – before Facebook. These were tremendously popular and successful, inspiring open conversations about everything from the trivial to the deeply serious, despite the attempts of some BBC managers to lock them down and make them more corporate. Since then he has consulted to a wide range of organisations ranging from The World Health Organisation to BP.

Rhod recently caught up with Euan in London and we are pleased to be collaborating with him on a number of upcoming projects, coinciding with his visit to Melbourne in November this year.  Block out November 13 in your diary as we will be offering some highly coveted time with Euan in the upcoming weeks.