Adam Singer has a nice piece this week on why individuals are far better at social media and building connections than most businesses are today. It feels “obvious” that people can build links faster and better than corporations, but Singer spells out several reasons why companies struggle with adapting to new social media norms, even when they say they want to do it:
It’s messy to build links – you need to get creative, you need to combine multiple skill sets and wear many hats: technical, creative and even relationship building.
It’s messy to build a community – it has strategy and can have some structure, but needs the freedom to think outside the lines and improvise. Most businesses love planning and hate improvisation.
It’s messy to be consistent with updating a blog – be structured and have an editorial calendar all you like, but at the end of the day the individual with passion, motivation and connections can soar above your entire team’s results.
It’s messy to continue a dialogue on Twitter –individuals can link or say anything they want and there are no repercussions. And those people are far more interesting than any brands, or even employees of brands following strict rules.
It’s messy to network – not like an individual has to ask permission to build affinity with social media power users. They just make the connections.
For legacy public broadcasters, I suspect the effective resistance to new interaction models is double the norm, partially because we’ve developed a perfection cult, and partially because of our precarious financial positions make us extraordinarily risk- and change-averse.