The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Dec 29, 2009

For those trying to convince their companies to use New/Social Media, dragons aren’t mythical creatures. They are very real. Yet, instead of taking the form of flame-spewing winged reptiles, these dragons come in the form of a fierce foe: our human propensity to avoid change.

Dragons are shape-shifters that commonly manifest themselves within one of three forms:

  1. The “You get what you pay for” dragon
  2. The “Don’t mess with my budget” dragon
  3. The “I don’t have time for that crap” dragon

Knights of the Social Media Table need to understand these various forms before they do battle with them.

You Get What You Pay For

Since New Media technologies have little or no monetary cost associated with them (WordPress, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are free), dragons love to breath fire upon them. The problem is one of education. You Get What You Pay For dragons mistakenly associate the free cost of the platforms with their value. Instead, they need to understand that the value is not in the platforms, but in what can be built on top of those platforms: an audience. Companies use New Media platforms to help prospects and customers before, during and after the purchase decision. Therefore, a slow but steady education process is the best way to defeat this dragon.

Don’t Mess with My Budget

Whoever said that politics doesn’t belong in business hasn’t been in business very long. The sad fact is that people who build organizations typically like to keep them. The stiffest resistances to New/Social Media adoption comes from those who measure their self worth through the size of their budget as opposed to their value to the organization. Don’t Mess With My Budget dragons equate reducing budgets with a reduction of their power. Therefore, if you come to the battlefield swinging a “Social Media is free” sword, you can expect the Don’t Mess with My Budget dragons to retreat into their caves and defend their territory.

I Don’t Have Time for that Crap

Time is a precious resource for all of us. When employees finally realize that New/Social Media takes more time than money, the I Don’t Have Time for That Crap dragon swoops from the sky. This is by far the most powerful of the dragons, because its easy to argue that one is too busy to create online content. The way to defeat this dragon is through hard management decisions designed to reallocate employees time.

Knights Need the Support of the Crown

The three dragons are rooted in the strongest strangleholds of corporate bureaucracies: resistance to change, internal politics, and in many cases laziness. The only way to slay them is not through logic, but though executive leadership. Just as the Knights of the Round Table Needed King Arthur, Knights of the Social Media Table need the support of their King or Queen.

Executive Management must support a knight’s use of dragon-slaying questions such as:

  1. What’s more important than spending time with our customers?
  2. What’s more important than being helpful to our customers before, during, and after their decision to purchase from us?
  3. Is perpetual renting of other people’s audiences (advertising) really more cost effective than building our own?

Without such support, your dragon-slaying expeditions are doomed to failure.

If you are an employee who is trying to convince your company to invest the time necessary to build its online audience, you need upper management’s support. Win them over first and you’ll have a shot against the dragons.

Photo Credit: wili_hybrid


Filed under: Social Media

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