One from the vaults……….

I wrote this some time ago, for my column. Actually, it’s not a column. It’s three columns and a full page. I know, I know – how do I do it. Every month, you say? Yes. Where is the fecund wellspring of ideas that I must be drinking from? Questions, questions. Read! Enjoy. Or not. Your choice.

Readers, I gasped in disbelief and my goblet of schadenfreude(*) briefly ranneth over as I learnt that ‘Lego Group actively encourages all its senior management to sit exams about social media’. Is this one of the building blocks of their communications strategy, d’you think? (Ba-dum tish.)
It’s all driven by Lego’s director of social media, who must have the gravitas of a lead balloon, the tenacity of a just-dumped limpet with emotional issues and the persuasional ability normally associated with a large man possessed of a gun. And I assume this because Lego’s senior management are not sitting ‘an exam’ – no, as you may have noticed (not much gets past you, I know) it’s ‘exams’.
Genuinely – I despair – on umpteen different levels. What would you fill one social exam with – never mind several exams? Who – in a ‘senior management role’ – would have the time to do this? Who – in a ‘senior management role’ – would, for one moment, consider it a good idea? Who – in a ‘senior management role’ – having been inveigled into taking one exam, would be swivel-eyed loony enough for more?
All that being said – he wrote, turning on a dime – I can see the benefit of trying to teach senior management to get a message across in 140 characters. It would have the dual effect of a) generating appreciation for the fine, and necessary, art of brevity and b) demonstrating what a completely pointless comms tool Twitter actually is.
And, of course, there still isn’t much in the way of alternative. Again, you lot probably came across this weeks ago, but I thought it resonant. It’s one of those internet jokey things – like laughing cats, and dancing babies, but with words and lists – and it attempts to define social media using a doughnut metaphor. (This could all go horribly wrong, I know.) Anyway.
Twitter = I’m eating a doughnut. Facebook = I like doughnuts. Foursquare = this is where I eat doughnuts. Instagram = here’s a photo of my doughnut. YouTube = here I am, eating a doughnut. LinkedIn = my skills include doughnut eating. Pinterest = a doughnut recipe, yay. G+ = I’m a Google employee who eats doughnuts.
Clearly, when what was once hailed as THE socio-economic phenomenon of the 21st century is downgraded to wordplay involving doughnuts, when The Social Network is increasingly abandoned by the young people that it was using to create revenue through advertising – you begin to wonder.
When the slightly-covert appeal of Tumblr is stripped away by Big Purple’s megabucks and commercial focus and analysts question, on the day of the announcement, whether Tumblr actually has the potential to make any money – what you begin to wonder is whether the smoke is drifting and the mirrors are getting a bit smeary.
And, to my mind, there’s a big issue brewing – not so much on the horizon, rather more ‘lookout-yelling-iceberg-from-the-bow-of-the-Titanic’ proximitous – that could forever change (as well as limit) the way social is used and, importantly, can be used. Unsurprisingly, it’s privacy.
Zuckerberg said ‘privacy is no longer the norm’ and with regard to Leveson, to McAlpine and Bercow and in the cases of April Jones and Tia Sharp, like it or not, he’s probably right.
Not all cases directly related to social media, but all highlighting the need for change in how people use social media (it’s not just you talking to your mates, it’s open and indelible), and for greater control on the individual’s use of the internet (encompassing email and social).
And if Zuckerberg doesn’t think privacy is the norm, he should have no problem in handing over your data to the authorities. Changing forever the way people view and use social, and what they share.
And why is Prism trending? *innocent face*
(* My job isn’t perfect, but at least I don’t work at Lego.)

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Filed under Communications Strategy, External Communications, Social Media

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