social media and the communication professional

June 17, 2009

in communication,social media


helen gurley brown writes “sex and the single girl” and challenges the way single women are defined by their role, making people quite uncomfortable.

social media does the same for professional communicators.

frankly, i’m tired of hearing that communication professionals — and HR folk, colleagues for whom i feel a great kinship — can’t be strategic, don’t deserve a seat at the table, aren’t savvy or flexible enough to “get” social media. many of us are exhilarated by the dovetailing of our professional purpose, corporate zeitgeist, and enabling technology. “finally!” we say. we can facilitate dialogue and exchange, inspiration and motivation. companies, thought leaders, and researchers are buzzing about authenticity, transparency, and candor. technology — and the way we use it in our everyday life — is demanding that it be present in our workplace.

yet, as gurley brown’s notions of women taking care of their needs (professionally, financially, and otherwise) rattled some, i see that social media is rattling more than a few communication colleagues. reactions range from uncertainty and distrust to fear and disdain. external manifestations of internal churn, perhaps? fear of not knowing, making a mistake, learning on the fly? to these colleagues, i say: take care of your needs. demonstrate the ability to evolve and own your future. brace yourself, then dive in.

it worked for the single girl.


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

amymengel June 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

Congrats on starting your blog, and thanks for the link!

Social media is definitely rattling folks who continue to adhere to traditional channels and see new platforms as passing fads. What’s interesting is that many people who are intimidated by social media seem to view at as a threat to existing channels, when really it’s something that can work in concert with them. It’s not a silver bullet and needs to fit with an organization’s strategic goals, but it can no longer be ignored.



Ben Eubanks June 17, 2009 at 9:54 am

It’s an interesting topic, because many companies aren’t even trying to use it for their own benefit. They block and try to forget instead of embracing the potential offered by these new technologies and communication channels. Excellent first post, and welcome to the blogging world, Fran!


Autom June 17, 2009 at 10:04 am

kudos. great post f. have always felt in tune with your POV and yes, in my case, some colleagues are still a wee slow and reticent over SM. i do wonder where the unwillingness to evolve (as you pointed out) stems from. in some cases, others will side with you and let you do the evolving while they remain toasty-kinda-complacent in their set ways.

in an effot to diffuse my frustration over some ppl’s reluctance and wanton stubbornness, i think of good ‘ole betty (davis) when she camped up the room with this classic: ‘fasten your seat bealts, folks. you’re in for be a bumpy ride..’

luv your blog’s brand. brilliant.

cheers – a


Geri Rhoades June 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Congrats on the blog. it looks fabulous.
I’m not sure that people say communicators can’t be strategic. I think they say communicators aren’t strategic. And I have to agree. I think many think tactically and not stragetically. It’s a new place we all need to move toward more consistently. I think it’s still to be determined on what happens with social media and how long it lasts, if not forever. It’s always a blending of channels anyway. Good luck in this new endeavor.


Mark Bednar June 18, 2009 at 11:51 am

What I find interesting is the molasses-slow reaction to social media (against the backdrop of the jet-speed reaction of the Internet) by corporate. I think it’s difficult for some corporate folk to dive right in, unfortunately, even as us communication types try to gently get them there. Difficult to balance.


f June 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm

hello, all. and thanks for the very warm welcome. amy & geri, couldn’t agree more that social media is just part of the mix. it’s a channel to be used as and when it makes sense, not just ‘cuz it’s cool and new. ben, i too don’t understand the desire to block versus facilitating. if the conversation isn’t happening where you can see it, you can be sure it’s happening where you can’t. and autom, you know i love that quote! should’ve used it myself 😉


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