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March 17, 2011
Social Media Educational Stalwarts Needed
 
In all that's being written about the revolutionary field of corporate social media (and it is that), you can wade through pages of discussion without getting a clear idea of how the SM function ought to be organized and run. Fortunately, though, some clarity is emerging, as toward the end of a lengthy analysis in a Holmes Report post by Arun Sudhaman. Social media requires, Bonin Bough, director of social media at Pepisco, is quoted as saying, "someone who can be taken seriously from an educational standpoint" – that is, a team leader who is an exemplary educator in a field that encompasses whole organizations.   

How's that for progress? Step one, certainly. Finding such a person isn't all that easy, but at least corporate leaders should know whom they're looking for. You can't simply turn to a staff meeting and say, "You know, it's time we get started on Twitter, or whatever, to connect better with our publics, so go do it, guys."

Of course, a social media educator also needs to be an effective team leader. But he or she first has to be continually mindful of the tools and channels that are emerging and represent the context for a lively internal collaborative effort.

"Change management can sometimes seem like a particularly illusory piece of corporate-speak;" Sudhaman writes, "for internal social media specialists who are trying to manage a fairly pivotal revamp of an organization's engagement model, it is all too real."

Marketing and PR people may be too engaged in the specifics of listening and responding; someone with an overview needs to be in  the lead. That  seems to be the emerging message of social media leadership. There's a lot more in Sudhaman's post. Spend some time with it – It makes sense. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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