It’s time for a rant…perhaps because I’m still on a post-Christmas diet and therefore a bit grumpy! So, I’m sorry about this.
Here we go.
I’m tired of people working at large corporations (you know who you are) posting the same stuff as all of your colleagues. I’m tired of you just posting it because your boss has told you to or it seems like the politically right thing to do. And I’m tired of you, apparently, not taking the time and trouble to read what you’re posting (because you’re too busy) but somehow thinking I won’t be too busy to read it for you. I’m just tired of all this manipulation and gaming.
The problem with this whole process is that it was, I suspect, conceived by a senior director who simply doesn’t understand social media…and perhaps the human psyche.
Clearly the rationale goes something like this:
I’m an important senior manager in this organisation so I should be known externally as a thought-leader and an influencer. So if I tweet/post/share something and then dozens or hundreds of my network retweet/like/comment then I will become an influencer because I will be getting greatly increased reach and engagement. I might even trend! But I cannot control my network…just my staff. So I will tell them to re-share what I write. The great news is that I don’t even need to have brilliant content because if I instruct them they will share and comment anyway.
I see this time and time again. And whilst the theory is rather manipulative and immoral, but correct, it has some very major flaws which I suspect haven’t been thought through.
De-sensitising: Let’s assume that you have written something quite good and insightful. If we work in the same organisation the chances are that we have a lot of overlap between our networks. If you work in a large corporate try having a look at your customers and see how many of your colleagues are also connected to them. So, if this is the case…if your customer has perhaps 70 or even 100 connections in your business, it’s not impossible that they might have the same piece of content show up 50 times in their timeline. What does this say about your organisation? No new ideas? Incapable in independent thought? At the very least it’s likely that your customer isn’t actually going to read what you have so “thoughtfully” shared because people trawl their timelines looking for insights and differentiators…NOT fashion!
Reputation: Because things are being shared not because they’re actually any good, but because they have been written by a senior person, what impact might that be having on not just the reputation and credibility of the individual but on the reputation of the company as a whole? Things should be shared because they are genuinely insightful and valuable not because sharing them get’s brownie points.
So, what are long term ramifications of this behaviour?
Well, the problem with all social networks, and LinkedIn in particular, is that “everybody’s talking and nobody’s listening” tends to be the usual dynamic. I know you’re listening to what I’m writing, but this is not the norm. You, like I, wind down through our newsfeed until something catches our eye. Either an interesting image, or more likely, we think “Ah…that’s David…he always posts good stuff, I’ll have a look” and then we read it. The problem is that once David has shared a couple of pieces of rubbish content we probably will be avoiding his posts rather than searching them out. Once the trust…or context for the conversation/relationship is gone it’s incredibly difficult to get it back because in this world of hyper-connectivity we have literally millions of people that we can tune-in to and engage with, so finding good content is not the problem…deciding what to read is the problem.
So before you click “share” on the next corporate piece of junk…consider how this might impact long-term on both your own personal reputation and that of your company.
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