Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Afraid of socmediots? Email works just as well

A giant reputation drama has been unfolding since yesterday: Ocean Marketing's Paul Cristoforo has made a complete ass of himself and his company.
A nice compilation is provided by Doug Collins on his blog, and it's aptly called How to Commit Career Suicide

The (apparently almost) entire email thread can be found on Penny Arcade's website right here. It's long, and unbelievably persistent in its bad form

Especially given the time of year and the usual predictions, I find this a splendid example of the fact that email isn't dead yet, and that you really don't need a social media policy

You just need to be polite period.
I've never been fond of all the segmentation that has been brought along by social media lovers fanatics. It's an annoying splendor display of inside-out thinking that I've seen so many times before in IT and IRL, and so inherent to people that haven't been around much

Apparently, you need a:

  • social media policy
  • social media strategy
  • social business portfolio
  • social business manifesto
  • social business code of ethics

No you don't. All this is just money thrown away. What you need is common sense and reuse what you've been successfully using so far. You didn't have these for telex, fax, or email: all technologies that enabled your employees to contact the outside world "under your company cloak".
So maybe it was due to lack of an email strategy, policy and code of ethics that this so very rude and long email thread came into existence?

So what has changed then? Simple - people have become much ruder, and less afraid to vent that. Especially with working from home, the boundaries get diffuse: dressed in a suit or uniform and being at a different location around your colleagues and customers usually flips a few checkbits.
So when you e.g. got up late, say 8:30, and are sitting in your pyamas sipping on your first coffee, skipping through your emails, it might not really feel like you're 100% representing your company - but you are

But that doesn't mean that this is caused by the new way of working. Authority has slowly eroded over the last few decades, which is good because people have learned to think and act for themselves, slowly relearning to take responsibility for their actions, and bad because not everyone has learned to cope equally well with the new duties

So, lessons learned from this one?

  1. The slicker the website, the more likely it's just a front for something really ugly
  2. You don't need any policy, manifesto or code of ethics unless your company is a collection of anonymous people not held together by anything. Or a one-idiot army, for that much
  3. Email is the main artery of the vast majority of companies, and that will not change anytime soon

And last but not least: if you have created such a stinking mess, you better not ignore it. If you do, it will only get bigger and explode in your face - over and over again

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