Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We're trying to change the world - not report on it

Some time ago Neil Perkin asked me to contribute some best practice ideas for social media. ( I must be thinking about that because i'm meeting Neil today - and you really should check out his latest post).

My response was 'best practice being human'.

I've been thinking about the skill sets required to 'do' social media. Many (though not all, as a quick quiz on Twitter revealed this morning, see image, right) of the people I know who have landed up in social media come from a media background one way or another - pr,  advertising and journalism.

But of course the key skills required are not the abilty to craft a good piece of content.

We're trying to change the world here, not report on it.

Look at what's going in in Iran. All the fabulous social media activity Is NOT for our passive consumption, our entertainment. It is individuals using the tools to express what matters to them - and through this to organise without and around those who would control from the centre.

A BBC correspondent prophesised, as the post-election fury uncovered in Iran, that there would be no coup.

"You can't have a revolution without proper organisation", he opined.

If he meant without 'from the top' organisation he was and is, wrong.

Humans organise to do things. Things they share a belief in achieving.  Always have. Now they have tools to do this more rapidly and effectively. And they don't wait for permission from the boss.

The ability to use these tools is an important tactical skill for anyone right now. Understanding the value of real-time self-forming communities of purpose is the more strategic requirement.

Because bringing people together to build stuff they care about is the most important part of this thing we call social media (and it ain't social media if it don't change your organisation!)

How much has that got to do with creating content?

How much has it got to do with media at all?

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?