Friday, October 1, 2010

Machiavellian Social Media

Niccolo Machiavelli is probably most well known for The Prince, but I wonder what advice he might have for organizations in the era of social media. Maybe it would look something like this ...

People and Tactics
  • Make sure you have the right people running your social media efforts;
  • Give those people robust rules of engagement;
  • If you can't afford to actively manage the presence, at the very least defend your name against squatters;
  • Deal with dissenters quickly;
  • Whenever possible build your organization's own capacity, prior to borrowing resources from others or hiring outside talent;
  • Study the successes and failures of others; and
  • Be diligent during quiet periods so you are ready when/if the shit hits the fan.

  • Number of followers/friends/subscribers is less important than loyalty;
  • Loyalty is strongest when it is earned over time; and
  • Underdogs who fight the status quo have a hard time moving up but enjoy greater respect if/when they are successful.

Change Management
  • Using social media to address organizational change is one of the most difficult things to do because people are naturally resistant to change;
  • Those who benefited most under the old system will be your biggest resistors to change; and
  • It is impossible for anyone to live up to everybody's expectations; disappointment is inevitable, so the mission must be compelling enough to rally supporters when they are wavering.

  • It won't always be good news. While you should avoid things that contribute to a negative reputation, ultimately you should pursue whatever is most beneficial given the circumstances of the day; but
  • Don't break your word unnecessarily. It will cost you.

  • Sharing is great but be cognizant not to overwhelm your stakeholders with your message; and
  • It is desirable to be both true to the organization's mission and be popular in the space; the former is more important than the latter.

  • Pursue organizational goals by engaging and you will earn respect, sit on the fence and you will lose it.

Avoid Ego Tripping

  • Don't only discuss your organization's efforts with yes-men, have a core group of trusted advisers who will always give it to you straight.

Luck (Fortune)
  • Luck is at most half the battle, every other inch requires effort, follow-through, and a relentless drive to be the best.

I particularly like the last one, you?

[h/t to Chelsea and Mary Beth for inspiring this post]
[image credit: anonymous9000]

Note that while we work as public servants this is entirely our own initiative and what we post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, our offices or our positions there in.

Notez bien que nous travaillons commes functionnaires, ceci est entièrement notre propre initiative et ce que nous publions sur ce site ne reflète pas nécessairement le point de vue du gouvernement, de nos organisations ou de nos postes.