Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Who Owns Social Media?

This evening i attended the Social Media Club San Francisco meeting on the subject of "Who Owns Social Media?". Andrew Mager over at ZDNet was live blogging from the room and also has posted some photos (darn somehow i missed the skittles!).

It was a lively conversation in the room but unfortunately the panel discussion was a bit too short- but i already hear rumblings on the internets that this conversation is continuing.

The main question that the panel tried to address was 'who is responsible for social media in the enterprise?'. As Chris Heuer posted on his introduction post to the event "Most social media ‘insiders’ would naturally say, everyone is responsible, but this is just not the reality for most businesses. Someone needs to allocate budget, someone needs decision making authority over infrastructure and major programs, someone needs to rewrite job descriptions upon which employees are measured and many more people need to understand why, where and how to engage."

I have been involved in the Social Media conversation for a while and it feels good to have these conversations- the practice of using social medial across the enterprise (internally and externally) is maturing and these issues are coming to a head with many companies and the good folks that belong to the Social Media Club around the world are the right people to be guiding these conversations.

One of the questions that i wanted to ask but did not get a chance to address with the panel but did chat with @MeHeatherD and @jacobm afterwards- is who owns the 'brand' of the Social Media leaders in your company. When they leave- how much of the Social Media they have created do they get to take and own (defining 'own' as Intellectual Property (IP)) and even if they don't take the 'content' what is the brand value that they can essentially never truly transfer and that there is no way you can write into their job description or company rules? Or can you?

Image|Seattle City Light Brochures, Seattle Municipal Archives. |via Flickr


Mary Trigiani said...

Good question. Both parties -- company, person -- can share the pie. Companies just need to make sure that they are in close touch with the content the employee is introducing. Best way to do this is to foster engagement with stakeholders via the content. Multiple levels of engagement will ensure that if the employee leaves, the relationships remain. It should be all about the content anyway.

daniela barbosa said...

content is king indeed- but one thing that I think is different between creating social media and say writing a product brief or a marketing brochure is personality and basic human interaction and communication skills - something that successful social media needs.

I reckon you can find say a good technical writer much faster then a good community manager?

Bill Sanders said...

Thanks for the summary Daniela - glad to see it since I missed the event. This is a huge question for our clients and the budgeting and measurement issue comes up every time we propose a project. On the client side there is a lot opportunity for individual players right now precisely because there are no clear cut rules or expectations.

Now is the time to be asking and answering this question - kudos to the team at Social Media Club for hosting this - looking forward to the continued conversation.

Mary Trigiani said...

When I talk about content, relationship is an automatic element. I learned that from years in and around professional services firm. Collateral were always leave-behinds, designed to remind clients and stakeholders of the budding or existing relationship. Engagement can only occur between people. Digital and social media are tools for personal engagement. Product companies have a way to go in learning how to use these new tools. Not easy but I believe it's possible. The community manager should not be the only face of the company -- should be the person leading all the other faces to the customer or client.

betty said...

content is indeed but the social media is play vital role in the world.creating social media and say writing a product brief a marketing marketing brochure is personality and basic human interaction and communication skills - something that successful social media needs.
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