MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Champions & Cheerleaders

Gooo Harold!

Gooo Harold!

First of all, I want to send a shout out and a thank you to Rogers Communications Director Harold Simons, who woke up at 5 a.m. Vancouver time to Skype with our Social Media class at MSVU. If anyone would like to continue to mooch off of Harold’s expertise, fear not: I’ve already done some preliminary internet creeping for you. Check out Harold’s Twitter and Harold’s Facebook. Sometimes social media just makes me feel like a big stalker.

So I was thinking about Matt’s question/suggestion for Harold via Skype today. Matt asked if Rogers had assigned employees to champion Rogers’ ning employee site. From what I understood, these employees would act as gatekeepers, encouraging less vocal members to speak up and cheerleading for increased involvement in the website.

What would be the best way to implement this cheerleading role? Would other employees be aware that the cheerleaders were encouraging them because it’s their job? Or would they be secret cheerleaders, sort of like social networking moles who posed as regular (but eager!) Rogers employees? I think both options would present some problems:

Give me a B! . . .

Give me a B! . . .

Identified Cheerleaders: Employees would know that their input was being encouraged by someone whos job it is to encourage input–rather than someone who is genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Undercover Cheerleaders: Employees would get duped. Concealing one’s identity and motives is not a transparent or honest practice.

Another concern that arrises from planting cheerleaders is the fact that they have been planted, or perhaps scripted in the first place.

Harold mentioned that Rogers’ Toronto office recently implemented a Social Media Specialist position. (Hey Steph, its exactly what we were chatting about yesterday!)

My worry here is that when people engage in social media with corporate motives, or as a job function, it takes some of the power away from “the people”, meaning, Regular Joes who blog from their basement apartment about their political philosophies which, before social media, would not otherwise have been heard. Regular Joes finally have a cost-free platform to share, debate, complain, promote and question aspects of everyday life, without the influence of power structures silencing or overpowering their voices.

Furthermore, Regular Joe social media users expect their communications to be real. This means unscripted, unbiased and free from hidden (corporate) motives.

As a communications practitioner, I’m well aware that regardless of whether you’re a 100K Social Media Specialist, or a Regular Joe, your online input is rarely un-biased or free from hidden agendas. My point here is that the Social Media Specialists are less likely to be percieved as such by the Regular Joes.


June 3, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment