Where It’s At with Location-based Apps

FourSquareWe’re at the point in the digital age where we make choices almost every day about how much personal stuff to share online.

Some struggle with this. We’re told by news media that Gen X doesn’t sweat it at all. I have several Baby Boomer pals and slightly younger friends who’re engaged in an internal wrestling match with themselves right now. They know the world has changed, and they’ve adapted to being online for work, but they can’t quite make the leap to placing life details out there – whether it’s joining Facebook or posting career history on LinkedIn.

I’ve been there myself. When I joined Twitter in 2011, I did so under a pseudonym. I considered it my “training wheel” Twitter account. And I resisted Facebook – long and hard. But I get it now. Being on Facebook, reading and interacting with messages and photos that friends have posted, and having folks respond to my posts…well, it takes using Facebook to feel comfortable with it.

Same thing all over again for location-based platforms, like Foursquare. Geolocation tools are typically apps you download to your phone and permission to <gulp!> access your exact current location.

Freaky, right? I mean, who needs a phone stalking you? Your own phone. One that you’ve allowed to stalk you.

A lot of women have said a big “No, thanks” to this kind of online interaction. When the makers of location-based apps survey potential users, the No. 1 obstacle to adoption is privacy.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Foursquare

Most of my close friends would be appalled to know I use Foursquare given my stance on privacy. Nevertheless, I’ve somehow become a Foursquare addict. How did this happen?

While I would never push anyone to use an online app or service that made them uncomfortable, here are a few thoughts from a relatively new user:

Just a Small Circle of Friends – The thing I didn’t understand about an app like Foursquare is that it’s a lot like Facebook. In other words, I have some choice about who I’m connected with and thus who sees when I check in at an event, restaurant or work. So far, I’m only sharing this information with 10 friends, far fewer than on Facebook or in my Google+ circles.

The Wider World – That said, when I check in somewhere – or score a mayorship – Foursquare does share that information more widely than my chosen friends. When I tap the Check-in tag, the app shows me how many other Foursquare users have checked in at the same location today, and I may even see their avatars (their photos and names). So, if a stranger wanted to find me, it’s not impossible. This makes it incumbent on me to be careful about the types of places I check in – always public, never at home – and to do so only when I’m comfortable sharing. It’d be highly unlikely you’d be singled out at an airport or concert check-in, where there are crowds of people. On the other hand, I get my mail at a retail mailbox service, and I never check in there.

The same is true when the app makes me “mayor” at a favorite restaurant – Foursquare shows me who I’ve ousted as mayor. Likewise, when I lose a mayorship, the app tells me who’s nabbed the office from me (and informs that person that I’m the one he or she has ousted).

On the other hand, I have control over whether I share my Foursquare check-in further afield, with social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

Coupons, Discounts and Freebies, Oh My – This is what really got me hooked. I checked in at the Getty Museum one sunny Saturday – my very first use of Foursquare at the Getty – and was rewarded with a first-timer’s discount at the museum store, good just for that day. The discount was tasty enough that I bought a photography book I wouldn’t have otherwise purchased. Now I wonder why more stores and restaurants aren’t offering discounts, incentives and engagement opportunities for their Foursquare fans.

Same As It Ever Was – When I access Foursquare, it zeroes in on my location and shows me a list of possibilities in the immediate area. For a creature of habit like me, this at first seemed silly, but even I tire of my habitude – hard to believe, I know – and the chance to experience an undiscovered gem of a restaurant or art gallery is more and more appealing.

It’s Got Game – Leveling up – earning points (and scoring higher than your friends) and badges and mayorships – is, yup, totally dorky. But, it’s designed to entice you to interact more often with the app, and it works. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be plotting how to win back my mayorship of Hollywood landmark Pink’s Hot Dogs now that I’m working 9-to-5 for a client and can’t pop in for lunch whenever I want.

Know Your Privacy Settings – If privacy is your utmost concern with digital assets, I highly recommend that you learn how the location-targeting function on your phone works and check to ensure your settings are where you want them each time your provider pushes a network update to your handset.

The Dating Game – Don’t use location-based apps for online dating. Unless you’re looking for a Mr. Goodbar-type encounter, there’s enough risk of people disguising their identities and their true intentions online. Many dating geolocation apps are designed to pinpoint when matches are in your immediate area. You need to vet strangers you meet online carefully and never agree to an in-person meeting without a friend or group accompanying you for safety’s sake.

For those in Los Angeles, who want to learn more about location-based apps and their use in marketing and social media, join the Social Media Club of Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 23, for an enlightening panel discussion, starting at 6:30 p.m. More information and RSVP here.

5 Things to Consider before Handing Over the Keys to Your Social Media Accounts

Keys photo by Vickie BatesIn the few short years since brands took up social media, I’ve been handed the keys to any number of social accounts, and though the organizations were very different, the thing they had in common was that there was absolutely no introduction to the goals driving engagement in these channels.

Never mind that turning over accounts to people without a discussion of goals, audiences, strategy, tactics, voice and metrics (at the very least) is like handing your car keys to a teenager without asking whether they have a driver’s license.

As Michael Brito noted in the Mashable post “10 Twitter Best Practices for Brands,” it’s important to be flexible without being too restrictive when turning over keys to anyone – employees, contractors, interns. “Planning, training, coordination and integration with social tools is imperative,” Brito emphasizes.

One of the hallmarks of social media is its speed of delivery, but that should never be confused with a speedy hand-over of your accounts.

Here are 5 tips to consider when asking someone to manage your social media accounts:

1) Why are you doing social in the first place? Do you have time? If not, is that why you’re handing over the keys? Maybe what’s needed is an examination of your channels, timing and audiences. Which are you having the most success with? Where are the crickets chirping? Perhaps you need to narrow or refocus your social media presence more than you need someone new in the driver’s seat.

2) What experience does the person have and what do their social accounts look like? Are you bringing them on board for their voice and their followers? Or do you have a strategy in mind for how they will engage with your followers?

3) Discuss the following and ask for a mini-comms plan that includes:

  • goals and how they’ll be measured
  • strategy and tactics and a timetable for implementing
  • tone of voice
  • what’s worked and what hasn’t
  • expectations around engagement
  • how you want to grow followers
  • how to manage difficult situations and crises
  • back-up, off-hours support, vacation coverage
  • anything that’s unique to your accounts and audiences

4) Cover the tools you’re using – such as Hootsuite or Buffer – and don’t assume that using one makes someone an expert on another.

5) Finally, listen to what they have to say about their own social media practices and see if adding some of these new ideas to your own accounts results in positive engagement with your audiences.

The Essential Guide to South by Southwest

SXSW 2013 sparks up March 8 – 17 with sessions on everything from indie film and music to emerging technologies. The full conference schedule is available here.

Here’s a basic guide to the emotional arc of SXSW attendees and how that’s reflected in their commentary on social media. (In April, simply substitute Coachella for SXSW and Tupac hologram for Twitter. Rinse. Repeat.)

SXSW Cycle of Hipness. Image copyright Vickie Bates.

The Harlem Shake and Social Relevancy

Harlem ShakeThe Harlem Shake – oh-so-current or so over?

An intriguing debate takes place every time the Internet shakes loose a new meme. With so many social platforms available to share every newfound video, graphic or in-joke, we can quickly grow tired of ubiquity.

Right now, a Facebook group I’m a member of is debating whether to participate in a flash mob-style Harlem Shake event. The commenters are in three distinct camps:

  1. It’s so relevant
  2. It’s so over
  3. It’s so catchy, it’s re-trending

Considering this meme began Feb. 2, 2013, when, according to Wikipedia, five Australian teenagers uploaded a video of themselves dancing to the song by Baauer, it’s hard to imagine how it could be over so soon.

As I write this, a puppy version of the Harlem Shake has reached 1.8 million views on YouTube. There are penguin Shakes, baby Shakes, academia Shakes galore – all waiting to amuse you.

Hippy, Hippy Shake

The problem, it seems, among social media mavens is that they’ve spent almost a month watching their Twitter streams and Facebook newsfeeds overflowing with every Harlem Shake video uploaded to YouTube. The social maven has left Harlem Shaking far behind in search of The Next Hot Meme.

However, not every person on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ is a social butterfly. The average user’s reputation doesn’t rise and fall on meme discovery. (And what is a meme? It’s a fancy word for “fad,” but since fad hasn’t trended since the hippie era – and connotes something a bit old hat besides – the social world had to come up with a new word. Wired offers this fascinating origin story for memes via the social network 4chan.)

And, frankly, what the Vasco da Gamas of social trends are overlooking is the wholehearted engagement that something like the Harlem Shake has IRL. That’s “In Real Life,” where social mavens sometimes forget to tread (and trend).

One of the reasons for the plethora of Harlem Shake vids is the sheer fun of being part of something – trend or not. It’s no accident that schools are uploading classroom videos or that companies and nonprofits are doing the same.

It’s goofy, it’s good exercise, it exudes good will – all extremely important factors for improved morale and sustained collaboration among groups during tough times. And that’s what real engagement is all about.

So, don’t worry if something is so hot it’ll singe your eyebrows. Yes, there’s a point when every meme gets overdone, but as long as folks are still sharing videos and feeling positive about themselves in the process, don’t let a few naysayers, who only want to stand on the cutting edge, dull your enthusiasm.

Go on, Shake!

Where do you stand on the Harlem Shake? Have you tried it? Or do you find it as passé as the Macarena? 

Tis the Season to Plan Your Awards Submissions

Dear fellow communicators, PR people and marketers:

I’m sure visions of a holiday break are dancing in your head right about now. You’re swamped with year-end reviews, next year’s budget, holiday parties, and what to give your administrative assistant so she or he will put up with you for the next 365 days.

If you’re feeling especially spent, perhaps it’s because you did such stellar work in 2012. That means now is exactly the right time to start thinking about how those programs might be recognized by the industry.

Give your work a fighting chance. Make sure you’ve got all the supporting materials your entry needs to make it awardable by checking out these helpful, tip-heavy posts.

To get yourself going, I highly recommend reading them in the order presented here:

Crafting a Strong Award Program Entry for Your Work
Getting yourself prepared, reviewing award-worthy work, filling in missing metrics and feedback, taking a hard look at whether your program stands a chance.

Writing Your Entry: How to Make Your Work Competitive this Awards Season
Writing tips and a section-by-section view of standard entry forms, guiding you on what you need to write to support your program effectively. Includes link for a FREE worksheet to help you organize your entry, showing the judges clear connections between research, objectives, tactics and results.

And for writers:

Writing Your Writing Award Entry
Make the most of your writing talents to highlight the key program areas judges want to see in your entry.

Additional Resources

IABC Gold Quill Awards offers you tips for writing an effective entry, shares the judging score sheet and provides a download of their webinar, “The Midas Touch,” with advice on completing an effective entry.

Early deadline for the Gold Quill Awards is Jan. 31, with final deadline March 5, 2013.

PRSA Silver and Bronze Anvil Awards provides the excellent “Anvil Thinking” video, featuring judges discussing what it takes to win one of these prestigious awards.

Early deadline for the Silver Anvil Awards is Feb. 8, with final deadline Feb. 22, 2013.

Are Social Media Disclaimers for Employees Really Necessary?

Are you as surprised as I am when you encounter “opinions my own, not my employer’s” disclaimers on social media accounts?

Many companies still ask that employees write disclaimers into their social media profiles whether the accounts belong to the employer or they’re the personal pages of the employee. Here are 5 reasons why employers need a better way to explain who’s allowed to say what on which social media accounts.

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: I’m not a lawyer and even the lawyers I quote here would like you to know that this post should not be considered legal advice.

1) Disclaimers don’t protect a company and may even make a company liable
Corporate legal departments don’t like risk, and social media – with its free and easy access, instantaneous publishing, and wide scope of influence – seem like major risks. What companies are concerned about, notes corporate-practice lawyer Robert McHale, author of Navigating Social Media Legal Risks, is preventing:

  • disclosure of proprietary or regulated information,
  • display of photographs that give away trade secrets or invade privacy,
  • erroneous or negative statements about the brand, the company, its leaders, and competitors, or
  • inappropriate, discriminatory or harassing comments about company employees, vendors or customers.

But a disclaimer won’t stop risky (or risqué) information and images from getting out if someone is bent on sharing or doesn’t know any better.

In this excellent post on the HR Examiner site, employment and labor law attorney Heather Bussing writes, “understand this fundamental principle – the more you control [employee accounts and employee behavior on social media], the more you will be legally responsible for everything that happens.”

In other words, it’s wiser to back off when it comes to personal Twitter feeds and Facebook or Pinterest profiles. When employers leave personal accounts to employee discretion, “then the company generally will not be liable for things said and done in employees’ personal accounts,” Bussing explains. “This is because the employees are not acting in the course of their employment, and the employer is not controlling or implicitly approving the actions of its employees” outside of work.

2) Disclaimers create their own legal risks
There are clear and established laws regarding employee rights when it comes to privacy/monitoring, being a member of a protected group, speech that discusses wages and working conditions, and whistleblowing. Disclaimers, social media policies and disciplining employees for social media activity must not conflict with these laws.

Bussing notes that having employees write disclaimers on their private accounts requires a monitoring process by the employer to ensure consistency of enforcement if employees are caught violating company policy. And monitoring or, worse, accessing an employee’s personal social account – even when that account is sometimes used for company business or promotion – “carries significant risk,” writes McHale. Under federal and state laws, employees are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy away from work.

McHale recommends absolute clarity instead: “Companies should adopt social media policies that squarely address issues such as the distinction between personal and business social media accounts, who owns the accounts, and who is authorized to speak on [the company’s] social media sites.”

As for what employees are saying on social media sites, Bussing warns that employers risk “liability for retaliation under discrimination laws” when they discipline employees for using social media in a way that relates to a protected status, such as an “employee’s race, religion, marital status, national origin, gender, pregnancy, age, disability” and quite a few other categories, as well.

Similarly, the National Labor Relations Act “prohibits employers from disciplining employees for discussing working conditions (such as wages, benefits, and the like), regardless of whether or not the employee is a member of a labor union,” notes McHale.

Bottom line: Never assume a disclaimer or policy gives a company the right to monitor, reprimand or fire an employee over their social media activities – whether private accounts or those owned by the business.

3) Disclaimers don’t add clarity around account ownership
Does the company own an account? Does the employee? And who has dibs on followers? Disclaimers only make this kind of traffic control more confusing, and the last thing a brand or company should do is confuse the people it wants to engage.

Forget disclaimers. Personal social media profiles belong to employees. Companies need to own their social accounts, creating specific ones for each employee officially tasked with using social media on behalf of the company. Account names should be clear and include both company or brand name and the name or initials of the employee. Customer service departments use this approach to provide customized responses and track issues.

National Public Radio does the same for its anchors. They aren’t their own brands – Scott Simon, Audie Cornish – they’re @nprscottsimon and @nprAudie. This is a smart move that acknowledges the credibility the correspondents bring to NPR and vice versa. It also speaks to the very real fact that people change jobs and retire. When they do, their NPR Twitter accounts will close, and fans will choose to follow them to new accounts, follow their NPR replacements, or both.

4) Disclaimers hurt the brand
Does requiring every employee with a social media profile to include a disclaimer match your brand’s personality or your company’s mission?

“To the contrary,” Bussing says, “it just looks like the company is trying to control what gets said.”

Pre-emptively censoring employees doesn’t much impress fans and followers; it dampens any sense of transparency and honesty in company communications. It sends exactly the wrong message about your company and what it might hope to do in the social arena.

5) Disclaimers are based on fear, not strength
What are companies afraid of? Yes, companies monitor employee online activity, including the websites they visit and the emails they send. This usually gets a brief mention during orientation, when a new recruit is overwhelmed with information.

While Bussing advises against social media policies – because “if you are directing the conduct of employees in social media, the company will be liable for everything that is said” – others, like McHale and Christopher Barger, author of The Social Media Strategist, recommend comprehensive and ongoing training for employees.

Rather than a one-time, check-the-box training, Barger advocates “teaching the organization to fish,” a three-level education program that:

  • covers the legal and technical basics,
  • provides additional resources for learning and networking,
  • shares the company’s purpose for being on social media, its goals, strategies and marketing and customer service approaches,
  • offers an opportunity to participate in company social media, and
  • encourages taking what’s learned and dispersing it throughout the company.

Fear is never a good starting point for technology or the activities employees use technology for. And disclaimers don’t substitute for clear, fair policies and a solid education program to support employees in their social media practices.

Do you use a social media disclaimer? What do you think they offer companies and/or employees? Will they become more common or disappear as social media evolves?

The Top 6 Inspiring Things I Learned at BlogHer ‘12

Some 5,000 women, men and children attended BlogHer ’12 in New York City this year. This is the line for lunch…and Martha Stewart’s keynote on Friday.

I’m still processing everything I discovered at this year’s BlogHer conference, held Aug. 2 – 4 in Manhattan. I learned tons, met hundreds of amazing, talented, hard-working bloggers, gathered helpful tips and a bit of swag (I left a healthy selection of the better stuff for the chambermaid – now, there’s a hard-working woman!), and felt inspired by the sheer exuberance of the crowds and the willingness of everyone to share what they know.

For those who didn’t get to the conference this year or didn’t go to the same sessions, I wanted to share some of the most inspiring things I heard from panelists during my two days at BlogHer:

6. Blogging isn’t dead – a whole medium doesn’t die, notes Elan Morgan. Media evolve. But, if we don’t gather and talk about blogging, in the way businesses discuss strategy and the future, we lose community.

Soledad O’Brien (at left) moderated the keynote talk, “Women Influencers as Change Agents,” with Malaak Compton-Rock (right) and Christy Turlington-Burns (middle).

5. Children can become junior board members at age 12, according to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien while this may not be appropriate for every board or organization, imagine the eye-opening conversations about the consequences of decisions if board members had to think beyond the next quarter and out to the next generation.

4. Even in a world of Likes, Pins and Plusses, the best way to engage is still face-to-face – because then it’s not about “What can you do for me?,” but “How are you?” Real engagement happens when you’re ready to listen, says Doug French, founder of the Dad 2.0 Summit.

3. Respect your talent and price it accordingly – “I do not write for anyone for free,” states Cecily Kellogg, one of the panelists at the “How to Price and Value Your Services” session. “I support my family. I have to earn a living.” Fellow panel member Monica Barnett adds: “What you give away for free is rarely valued.”

2. If you want to work with brands, you must stay true to yourself – your credibility is based on your honesty and transparency on your blog. Smart brands want to tap into strong voices; they don’t want to change you or put conditions on what you write. Make sure you work with brands that want you to remain consistent with your values and voice.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask – virtually every panelist made this point. The social media world is incredibly open and forthright. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone says No? The next person will say Yes. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. If you don’t know, you can’t learn. If you don’t learn, you stagnate. Join in, ask, discover, and return the favor when you can!

What Did You Mean by Clicking “Like”? Judge Rules Facebook “Like” Button Isn’t Protected Speech

In the shadow of Facebook’s IPO last month, there was a darker story: A federal judge has determined that clicking Facebook’s Like button does not constitute protected speech.

“It is the Court’s conclusion that merely ‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection,” writes Judge Raymond A. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“Where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements existed within the record,” he adds, meaning someone left a message on a Facebook wall.

The case involves six employees of the Hampton, Va., sheriff’s office, who claimed they were fired for endorsing a rival candidate of their boss, Sheriff B.J. Roberts, during his 2009 re-election campaign. A summary judgment for the sheriff was granted in Bland v. Roberts in January 2012; the judge’s rationale was released late last month.

While the plaintiffs contend that Roberts “violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech when he fired them,” the judge ruled that simply clicking the Like button on an opposing candidate’s Facebook page is not a “clear” or “meaningful way” of speaking out and doesn’t merit First Amendment protections.

The New York Times notes that Jackson’s ruling wanders into “a murky legal area” – one that pits traditional forms of protected speech against the tools used for expression by social channels, the written word versus symbolic speech.

Yet, as Karen List, director of the Journalism program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, observes “the courts have clearly protected symbolic speech in the past, including flag burning, certain types of cross burning and obscene anti-war statements on jackets. Compared to those types of speech, hitting a Like button is very tame, as are many of the other visual expressions of opinion on social media.”

“I believe they should be protected as such,” says List, who teaches media history, law and ethics. “In addition, many scholars believe the First Amendment privileges political speech – so, symbolic speech that is political in nature, like flag burning or ‘liking’ a political candidate – should most definitely be protected.”

Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the ruling for social media users is that Judge Jackson studied relevant legal precedents, but found this particular act lacking. His decision turns on the absence of “substantive” and “meaningful” expression in clicking the Like button.

There are any number of social platforms that replace written interaction with visual or symbolic engagement, such as sharing photos via Instagram or “pinning” on Pinterest. In the rapidly evolving social media universe, it seems technology may have outpaced the judicial system’s ability to understand – or even recognize – how expression happens out there.

List offers this perspective: “Legal analysts at the time television was introduced said that courts wouldn’t know what to do with it because the founding fathers never could have envisioned it. If they thought that was true of television, it’s exponentially more true of the internet and social media.”

“Many judges, including the Supreme Court justices, are not comfortable with cameras in their own courtrooms to this day,” she continues. “And yet now they have to deal with cell phones, laptops and Twitter. They don’t understand these tools of expression in their courtrooms, and they don’t understand how they’re used generally. Judges today are faced with applying current legal precedents to new mediums, and in part because they don’t understand them, I think they often rule more conservatively than they otherwise might.”

“It will take a long time for the law to catch up – if it ever does,” List says.

What are your thoughts about the Bland v. Roberts decision? Do you think it will have implications for Facebook and social media channels? Will it change the way you use the Facebook Like?

Thor for Social Media Executive Champion?


Thor, the god of Norse mythology. “Thor’s battle with the Ettins” (1872), painting by Mårten Eskil Winge. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Read almost any social media book and you’ll quickly arrive at a certain piece of advice that’s beginning to set my teeth on edge. It’s the requirement for an Executive Champion.

Invariably, these books recommend the CEO fill the Champion role, and apparently one of the Champion’s duties is to swoop in like Thor with his hammer and smash any impasse, leaving the social media team a clear path through the rubble.

Here are five key reasons why this isn’t an effective social media strategy:

Most social media books are written by experts in social media, not the corporate world
While many of the social media strategists who’ve penned books work with corporate clients, this is not the same as navigating a corporate hierarchy from the inside. They simply don’t have the experience of maintaining effective working relationships in highly matrixed departments and across all the business units involved in supporting a strong social media program.

When you need a “decider” in a lean, fast-paced entrepreneurial company, the CEO is often the go-to guy because he’s also the person who developed the software or the idea the company was founded upon. There are few layers between the CEO and the teams engaged in key initiatives. Not so in an established corporation. The social media team operates several pay-strata below the members of the senior team, much less the CEO. And there are established processes for solving issues that involve starting with your team and seeking your immediate supervisor’s help and approval before the supervisor (not you) takes it to the next level (which won’t be the CEO’s level).

Thor needs to be capable of influencing the C-suite, but, in the long tradition of superheroes, he isn’t one of them
In his book, The Social Media Strategist, Christopher Barger, who’s led social media programs for IBM and GM, describes the Executive Champion as a corporate player who:

  • sells the “social media vision to the highest levels of business leadership” and explains “why resources allocated to it are being wisely spent;”
  • credibly takes this vision to the rest of the organization;
  • enforces “consistency among social media, marketing, and communications strategies;” and
  • provides the budget for your social media program or has the savvy to “credibly and effectively go ‘tin-cupping’ through the rest of the organization to acquire that budget.”

That’s a tall order, but inside most companies, there’s a VP with the credibility, likeability and practicality to drive agreement around each of those requirements.

You’ll be lucky to get one impasse-bashing favor from the CEO in your entire career (if that)
If you actually managed to get your issue in front of the CEO – say Legal refuses to allow spontaneous posting to social media sites without approvals or IT won’t budget for resources or bandwidth – guess what she’d tell you? “Find a way to work it out,” is what you’ll hear as she directs you to the door.

CEOs wisely understand that their role isn’t down in the weeds of day-to-day decision-making. They also know they musn’t play favorites. Running to the CEO to tattletale about your right to tweet without a three-week Legal review will only serve to make Legal irate. Likewise the IT department.

If the CEO does extend you a favor – and that’s a big, Thor-sized IF – you’ll spend the rest of your days at the company, trying to prove that you’re capable of making future decisions on your own. You’ll be forever under the hammer, and that’s a very uncomfortable – and ineffective – place to work from.

If Thor handles a disagreement for you, it will be the last time anyone supports you in the company
The real corporate world isn’t like the one portrayed in old comics, where Jimmy Olsen becomes a made guy at the Daily Planet because Superman acknowledges him after saving the world. Run to the CEO to solve an issue, and no one will trust you again. Your ideas won’t be pushed forward, work you needed done yesterday will slow to a snail’s pace, your meetings will be sparsely attended, your achievements begrudged, your failures snickered over. You’ll be the Loki of your company.

It takes a village to manage an effective social media program – not a demi-god
One reason non-corporate types put dibs on the CEO for Executive Champion is because they believe he or she has the ability to rise above the scrabbling that goes on around ownership of social media. You’ve probably seen hundreds of articles like this: Is it PR or HR? Marketing or IT? Customer Service or Advertising?

Actually, it’s all of them. As Christopher Barger notes, “territorialism” doesn’t work for social media. “The reality is,” Barger writes, “each function brings a different strength and a different weakness to social media activity. In an ideal situation, these strengths and functions are brought together as sort of a hybrid function operating together and directing the rest of the business.”

It’s the team’s job to rely on the cross-functional expertise in the room to solve problems. If they can’t – with all that brainpower at the table – then even Thor’s mighty hammer isn’t going to solve the problems in that social media program.

“Twittamentary” Documentary Premieres Online

The Twitter documentary is a film with heart. It shares the views of Twitter users who believe that community, even one that takes digital shape, can have fun, share wisdom, and offer hope, a hot meal and a safe place to sleep at night.

“Twittamentary” makes its online debut today, and its creators are enabling blog owners to share the film with readers. You can watch a free preview, learn more about the making of this film from a previous blog post via the link at the bottom of this page, or rent the movie by clicking on the image below.

Full disclosure: I receive a partner fee when you rent the doc from my blog; if you have a blog or website and would like to learn more about hosting “Twittamentary,” visit the Help to Share page on the documentary’s website.

See related post:

Twitter: The Movie? You Bet Your Hashtag
(Please note: My review of “Twittamentary” is from a Los Angeles screening of an early cut of the film, which took place in June 2011. The content and views were not influenced by the documentary partnership program.)