Social Media Readiness: You Better Be Ready to Be Seen in Curlers

Image from Debs (ò?ó)? via Flickr

At a recent leadership conference, I was talking with a colleague. We were talking about social media and I had indicated the growth that we’ve seen in the last year and she asked what I would attribute to the success.

That got me thinking.

I shared with her that the most important factor is organizational readiness. The organization must be comfortable being seen in curlers.

We’ve all seen in the movies (and maybe it’s happened to you) where someone answers a door completely unprepared. They’re wearing curlers, a facial mask, a robe – whatever. The point is that it’s an inside glimpse.

The same holds true with social media. Your organization must be prepared to be seen without the assistance of the marketing department. It’s an inside glimpse into the organization. It’s authentic.

There may be times where mistakes are made or negative comments received. Your organization needs to be willing to accept these risks, otherwise any social media activity will be half-hearted.

Charlene Li has a great book that is a good place to start in preparing your organization for social media. Open Leadership shows how leaders can transform organizations to become more effective through social technologies.

  • Tracy Edwards

    Interesting take, Mike.  You’ve been doing great work in preparing Lethbridge College for these new challenges; we want our people to understand the power (and complexity) of social media.  We are one of the few institutions in Canada that actually has policy in this area.

    Social media parallels Skype, iChat and others . . .  all that allow a glimpse into current reality.

    I must admit, in some instances, I’m reluctant. 

    Doing a conference call on college business, drinking coffee on a Saturday morning at home in my bathrobe is a comfortable thing; if I have to be “live”, that requires dressing, makeup, etc.  i.e. “work mode”.

    Relative to social media,  I wonder how people can criticize without accountability.  It’s easy to throw stones, but the reader doesn’t always understand the context of the circumstance. 

    Reputations can be negatively impacted in a broad forum; the critic might not have had a valid concern/issue, but the virtual public doesn’t know that.  And, a war of words is not a viable option for the institution that is being attacked.

    As the futurist Leonard Brody said, we have two selves. . . the physical and the virtual.  Our online self is very young and evolving. . . we need to mature.

    The next few years will be interesting. . .


  • Mike McCready

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tracy. Very true. While it’s important for an institution to be willing to be “seen in curlers” it’s also equally important for employees at the institution to be prepared and educated on how to handle these negative comments.

    I agree that a war words is never an option. We’ve all seen how warring words failed for Nestle (