Six approaches for social media adoption – 6. Embed
And finally… the end of a torturously drawn out (for you and for me) series concerning different approaches to adopting social media. Even though I had most of the thinking complete when I embarked upon this series, its taken me much longer, and its been much harder, than envisaged. If I ever hint about writing a series of posts again, please make sure that I have written them all before publishing them (or shoot me)…
If you recall, the series is based on a piece of thinking I developed during and after my work on the cabinet office review of social media in early 2007.
I set out six different approaches to using or deploying social media techniques; be that for a particular tool, channel, business need, or whole organisational approach. It is not meant to be prescriptive, but details options under three broad headings. These are:
- Observation: Do nothing or Listen
- Interaction: Reflect or Converse
- Initiation: Experiment or Embed
So, without further ado, lets finish this with ’embed’.
What do I mean by embed? I mean investing in self-hosted applications and tools to allow officials to use social media tools in a corporate environment.
The advantages of this approach are that the applications selected are owned, maintained and approved by the organisation. Any niggling IT security issues are resolved and the robustness of the service pretty much guaranteed (within reason).
On the downside, its likely that the speed of implementation and deployment of a tool will be very slow and expensive compared to using a web or third party hosted tool.
But once the hosting platform is in place it will be fairly simple to deploy multiple instances of tools on a trusted platform. It also sends message to staff that the organisation takes online engagment and collaboration seriously.
One of the big threats to this approach that I have seen is that many of the ‘enterprise’ social media platforms that often become chosen in these situations are fairly inflexible in their functionality and may only be partially fit for purpose. Investment in the platform can divert funding from what I think is more important (given the free and low cost tools available via other methods) – the education and training of staff which arguably is more crucial than the technology. Its also possible that investing in tools that are available elsewhere at low cost or for free could attract criticism.
The costs of investing in self-hosted tools are significant compared to the other models. Hosting platforms from suppliers of existing government web platforms are generally high cost and may also require complex and expensive procurement exercises.
Choosing this route will likely require significant project management and IT implementation resource on top of the resources identified in previous models.
Phew, thats it. The last one. Finished. Thoughts?