Two Marc/ks and One Al (by proxy)


 

For a Cleveland girl, this has been a pretty exciting few weeks.  Since March 27, I've met with Marc Andreessen....


Is that really Marc?



Yep, and I have the photos to prove it

... I've heard Mark Jen (of "fired by Google for blogging" fame) speak, and I stood in Al Gore's office at Current Media in downtown San Francisco, following a tour of its business built on audience participation and contribution of high-quality, two-hour turnaround news stories.


Al's office with huge earth map but no Al

I can now speak with some (not a lot, mind you, but some) authority of things I never knew existed:  Plaxo, Ning, RSS aggregators, Technorati and so much more.  And I'm getting some idea of how to use social networking for employee communication and work environment purposes.  Oh, and I've learned that the term "new media" marks you as a goofus and out of it.  And that email is for grandparents, not hipsters.

Watch out, world, a McKenzie with a little bit of knowledge can be very, very dangerous!

I promised in my blog of March 30 to bring you along on my journey of getting smart about using social media to create a different level of communities at Sun. So let me share a few of my discoveries:

  • It's free.  If you don't mind seeing ads.  There's a ton of free software and services out there that enable information exchange, dialogue, idea exchange, photo and video viewing, not to mention dating, gossip and passing on of information, good or bad.
  • It's not free.  If you're concerned about security.  Real security that real companies who deal with real IP require.
  • It represents the biggest shift in communication since the printing press.  So much greater than Web 1.0. Why?  Because control of information has gone from centralization to decentralization.  There is no control of information. Which brings me to the next point...
  • Think of social networking as the grapevine on steroids.  We who claim the profession of internal communicator always knew that the single most powerful source of communication in any company, in any organization, in any society is the grapevine.  And now mama's little grapevine has grown into a muscular, speed-of-light monster - or friend, depending on how you can tap into it.
  • It's changed the game for leadership credibility and influence.  A lot of people will still pay attention to you because you, Mr./Ms. Senior Executive, can exert control over something most of us working slobs need - our jobs and paychecks.  But they're going to pay attention to other people, too.  And who do you think has more credibility - you or an out-in-the-field employee who is dealing with customers on a daily basis?  Hmmm...
The biggest challenge for my team is to figure out, as one of my senior folks, Chuck Rigsby, says, "Where do social media and business needs meet?  And how can we make social media safe, compelling and a business necessity to our organization?"

The journey continues...



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