The “Giving Up Control” Myth in Social Media

I have articulated this thought during my presentations at conferences and corporate speaking engagements recently, and it just came up again in a phone call with Jenny Ambrozek.

Aside: We were discussing an action plan to gather together a few folks to exchange ideas on how to address the “What’s Wrong with Corporate Social Media” thread that we covered at the Business of Community Networking Conference in Boston, was the theme of a panel yesterday at Web 2.0 Expo and is the challenge ahead for the Enterprise 2.0 movement.  More on that later …

I have used Ron Burt’s structural holes theory to depict the shift from broadcast to social media in this short slide show which I have shown on this blog before & is linked into the “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” ebook.

(insert into page 35) SCVAviaStructuralHolesFig11-15

(Uses Burt’s structural holes theory to illustrate shifts taking place in media, brand and power.)

I think Burt’s insight debunks the “loss of control” myth that most corporations suffer from when they think about social media & web 2.0.  Even social media experts who are advocating adoption of social media talk about how a corporation needs to “give up control”.

That is bull. Broadband penetration, mobility and integration of GPS and RFID are trends that corporations do not have control over. They urgently need to adopt management methods that enable them to deliver value (sustain and develop control or at least earning power) in the context of these trends. They have lost control. The question now is how to get back on top of these trends.

Secondly, I think that Burt’s innovation coming along roughly 20 years in the wake of Granovetter’s Strength of Weak Ties arguement is a model for understanding the relationship between the idea of brand valuation and Social Capital Value Add.

They are related, they describe different facets of similar structural value drivers.  Both deliver required, complimentary insight.

2 Responses to “The “Giving Up Control” Myth in Social Media”

  1. Jason Peck Says:

    Awesome post! I agree 100%. Control has already been lost. If brands AREN’T using some of these new tools and platforms then they risk losing even more control. Establishing a deeper presence online at least allows them to regain some control and influence.

  2. Craig Newmark - Hilton sisters, Hot or Not? CluetrainPlus10 | Social Capital Value Add Says:

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