From Boardrooms to Barracks - It's Time to Get Social
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social military social-business tina_williams
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While vacationing at the North Carolina coast this past week, I picked up a copy of The Globe, a newspaper that serves the Marine Corps community in Jacksonville. As an IBM Program Manager for Social Business, I keep my eye open for articles about social media. In this issue, I was surprised to see an article titled “Corps encourages Marines to engage in social media.” I immediately wondered about the risk involved; Wouldn’t “the enemy” possibly tap into this type of communication?
Of course, the same thing could be said about encouraging social engagement in the corporate world. Isn’t this a bit risky? Wouldn’t “the competition” possibly tap into this type of information for their gain?
To address the concern about sharing inappropriate or sensitive information, IBM has published IBM Social Computing Guidelines. As I read The Globe’s article, it became clear that the Marine Corps has a similar strategy. “The Marine Corps recently published a social media handbook called ‘The Social Corps’, which was produced to educate Marines on the appropriate use of social media web sites and to build a better representation for the Corps. The 41-page handbook provides guidance for leaders when interacting with their subordinates on social media sites and outlines how to safely conduct oneself online.”
The fact is that every aspect of our daily communications is influenced more and more by the use of social media tools. Our personal and work lives are becoming more integrated. This statement in the article demonstrates this understanding: “Since the Marine Corps recognized social media becoming one of the largest, quickest and most efficient means of communication, they decided to encourage Marines to engage in social media sites, such as Facebook, and to share a positive outlook on what the Marine Corps is about.”
This same statement can apply to any corporation or organization – just insert your company’s name.
For me, social tools are an important way to stay connected in words and pictures with friends and family. I’ve reconnected with people I had lost touch with or simply didn’t have enough hours in the day to write a note or make a call to on a regular basis.
From a business perspective, because I work from home, I’ve used social media venues like Facebook to get to know my colleagues in the more personal way that is usually only possible in an office environment. I’ve also used social venues to stay more aware of the technologies and business solutions I’m interested in. And of course, I “like” my college teams and favorite retailers.
In my role at IBM, I help encourage other IBMers to get more involved socially for these same reasons. I still find many are reluctant. On my last night of vacation, I was relaxing and watching the 60 Minutes spot on “Jobs program for people trapped in unemployment.” A point made by program founder, Joe Carbone is “the paper resume is dead.” Employers now use the internet to find and evaluate candidates.
The world has changed and it doesn’t help you to not participate. It’s also not realistic to think you can separate your personal image from your business image. In fact, from a career perspective, those who want to get to know you will want to know the whole you. People do business with people they trust.
So, regardless of whether you report to the boardroom or the war room, if you’ve been holding back, maybe it’s time to consider the benefits and jump on in. But do so in a socially conscience way. And follow those guidelines!
Tina Williams is an IBM Program Manager for Social Business Initiatives. Based in the heart of North Carolina, Tina leads initiatives to increase the eminence of IBM programs for social business, cloud computing and new technologies. She also facilitates IBM Demand System corporate training and contributes to IBM guidance for collateral guidance and content management. Her experience includes programming, project management, consulting, business development and marketing. You can follow her on Twitter @ideasattjw.