I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but bear with me.
As eloquently portrayed in “The March of the Penguins,” emperor penguins around the age of five make their way from the icy Antarctic waters to the same inland spot every year to breed new life. The routine is one that this amazing creature has done for centuries. Nothing’s changed. There have been no advancements or technologies to make their journey easier, less treacherous. No penguin has come up with ways to keep the eggs warm during the harshest blizzards experienced during this journey. No penguin fast food restaurants, no advanced travel systems, no new tools for communication between parents, not even fin warmers. Just the same journey year after year after year…
We as a species, on the other hand, have made awesome advances in the way we live, eat, sleep, travel and communicate. Yet, I’m continually amazed at the lack of support large corporations have for their employees, especially their communications teams, who embrace social media. It’s like the IT departments and executive leadership teams think if they block it, it will go away. As if it doesn’t exist and never will. Yet, consumers are using it to tell others what’s wrong or right with products and services, media are using it to find validate sources for news stories and nonprofits are using Facebook, Twitter, etc. to help victims in need after tragedies, like the earthquake in Haiti. And ironically, those companies who don’t believe in the power of social media are using this little tool called LinkedIn to recruit qualified candidates.
Ring…ring…yes, can I please speak with COMMON SENSE?! Smooches!
And believe me, I get it. It’s scary out there. With social media being the new kid on the block (for some at least), it’s easy to resist the change. But, here’s the reality. As futurist David Houle talked about at a recent event, the only companies that are going to survive the digital age are ones that can embrace change. Those that stay the same, won’t bend and flex as needed, are going to be left hung out to dry. One example of a smart company, Houle says, is Google – a company that continues to change the internet and communications landscape. And one company about to become extinct is Microsoft – a company that has solely relied on its software product for profit instead of finding ways to build on future needs of consumers and businesses.
Unfortunately, for the companies who stay mundane and make the same march over and over again, no presentation, case study, company endorsements, celebrity or well-known media outlet seems to help justify the need for becoming more savvy about the use of social media. It’s going to take a horrible crisis to open their eyes to the value of what social media can offer. It shouldn’t have to be this way, but it is a monotonous, same-as-we’ve-always-done-it march in an alarming number of corporations.
So, fellow social media advocates, what can we do to help our cause? What can we do to show the importance of embracing a new march?