ARcade » Stakeholder Analysis Weblog maintained by Hill+Knowlton Strategies\' global Analyst Relations team. Wed, 30 Nov 2011 02:40:13 +0000 en hourly 1 Social media in AR: private melds with public Sun, 28 Oct 2007 23:21:00 +0000 Dominic Pannell I was surprised today when Carter Lusher became my ‘friend’ on Facebook.

Surprised, and slightly concerned because Carter is AR Director at HP Corporate and the main contributor to the HP’s Corporate AR blog, whereas my profile on Facebook is distinctly unprofessional – to set the scene, my profile photo has me dressed as Father Christmas and the most recent ‘stories’ are that I have been ‘cuddled’ and ‘drunk dialled’ by other friends (both of whom I have met and consider to be good friends in the real world, since you ask).

Thankfully, Carter asked me a couple of questions, which allowed me to explain myself. He asked me how I was getting on with Facebook and whether I have managed to weave social media into my work.

My answer was rather long and Carter suggested I post a version of it on ARcade, so here goes:

I’ve been a member of various online communities for about a dozen years, from when I lived in Sweden (1995-1997). I have met many of my closest friends through sites like Shortcut (Swedish language community for young professionals) and Last Thursday (an irreverent place that is currently down for maintenance).

I’m a member of most of the big communities, from Bebo (started by my friend Paul Birch together with his brother Michael and Michael’s wife Xochi) and Dopplr on the fun side to Xing and LinkedIn on the professional front, but I treat them very differently. Much like my (and Carter’s) personal/professional blogs, I consider it appropriate to express myself according to the channel. You won’t find me writing about AR on Facebook, I prefer to leave that to places like ARcade and the IIAR. On Facebook and my personal blog, you’ll read about my exploits at Santacon and, at Christmas time, about volunteering for the homeless charity Crisis, both of which I’m passionate about, but there just isn’t a strong link to work (although I did persuade two colleagues to dress up as Santa last year).

Not long back, I took part in a discussion with the great and the good within H&K and argued that folk should be allowed to access Facebook, etc. on their work PCs. My position is that if we’re not on these sites, we’re lagging behind the competition and that’s professional suicide in PR. The only way to keep up to speed is to experiment. It’s also the best way to find out what’s useful and what’s not – am I the only person who can’t see the point of Me.dium?

Social media is changing business and personally I feel that companies that take policy decisions not to even comment on blogs or engage with social media are myopic and in time it will cost them dearly (even if they can be very useful – we create them for clients and for internal use – an email newsletter is like sooooo 1993!).

Conversely, I’m really pleased that Carter, already a prolific and talented blogger outside work, has started an AR blog – he’s a leading light in AR and practitioners can learn a lot from his posts. Moreover, by engaging in the online conversations, HP will benefit by understanding changes that are affecting the analyst community.

I saw how online communities transformed business life in Sweden, which is several years ahead of most other countries in this space – wait and see what happens to the US and the rest of the world now that we’re catching up.

Social media/the web will force existing unwieldy institutions to adapt or die – witness the Creative Commons, of which I’m a big fan. All mainstream IP systems are creaking at the seams and the Internet is speeding up the process.

Have I managed to weave Facebook into my work? No. My reply to Carter was the first time I’ve ever used it in anything like a professional capacity. Do I use social media in my work? All the time. From Twitter to Cogenz, I’m constantly connected, constantly scanning the web and testing new tools and it makes me and the rest of the H&K AR team better at what we do. We also have access to and use H&K’s proprietary tools.

It’s not surprising that I’m such an advocate, having worked on Language Army and Friends Abroad, both of which base their successful business models on community. I have also guest lectured on social media at Warwick University.

Oh, and to prove my geeky credentials once and for all, I haven’t had a TV for years as I prefer surfing the net to goggling the box.

In short, I’m quite happy to be Carter’s friend on Facebook, as long as he doesn’t expect me to do anything sensible on there.

Top tip: If you’re ever travelling to the Bay area, ask Carter for a restaurant suggestion. I did and can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: HP is a client.

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