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Alan Pardew – Don’t worry help is at hand

I am not a soccer fan, but I couldn’t help but find a recent sports report interesting. Alan Pardew – manager of Newcastle United – made a very revealing comment yesterday. He was reflecting on critical comments posted on Twitter by Joey Barton. His view was that we “need to get a grip” on twitter, that they “lacked guidance”, he even used the expressions that it needs to be “top down”.

This is revealing. What he was articulating were a number of common features of the impact of social media. His concerns are not unique – so let’s be helpful and look at a few of them and reassure anyone that feels the same that help is at hand.

Firstly many managers regard Social Media with an attitude of fear. The unknown does cause fear so the solution is get some good advice, demystify it, ask people that can unpack the issues and articulate the key considerations for you so that you are operating from a position of understanding.

Secondly it demonstrates a common outcome of Social Media – it shines a very unforgiving and public light on your organisation. Social Media can operate within and outside of an organisation and the outcome can be very disconcerting for companies as the lack of control of these channels means that linen – sometimes dirty – can be washed in public. Hiding ones head in the sand is not a credible approach any more so get prepared. Preparations are several fold but you need to monitor and you need to have a method of response to critical comments. That doesn’t mean meekly accepting everything said about you, but you should use these as often useful and constructive and insightful prompts to examine your organisation – otherwise you may be missing an opportunity.

Thirdly it highlights how important it is that organisations are prepared for the impact of social media. As we often say it’s not just a case of if you choose to “do” social media it’s what social media can “do” to you. The choice of becoming engaged in social media is not yours anymore.

Finally having a Social Media policy for your employees is a very good thing. They can take many many forms but generally heavy handed, top down, rigid stances are, usually, unhelpful.

So Mr Pardew – you are not alone, there are many managers like you, but don’t feel abandoned. Why not give twintangibles a ring – we can help!

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