Norman Ng

Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Social Media Leadership – X Factors (Part 1)

In Leadership, Social Media on October 4, 2011 at 10:44

“The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday”, motto of the US Navy SEALs, best sums up the challenges that enterprises face in today’s evolving communications landscape. With unprecedented access to troves of information, and the modes of engagement, enterprise stakeholders and their employees are increasingly (mis)informed; (dis)engaged and (dis)connected. Social media has presented risky branding / PR challenges, yet presents immense opportunities to strengthen brand equity and stakeholder engagement.

This series of articles on Leadership Strategies & Evolving Communications seeks to address one complex fundamental – Leadership. On how it can remain relevant, on how it needs to reinvent and adapt to a shifting communication landscape, to be able to continually invoke and exert social influence, inspiring people to contribute / commit in extra-ordinary situations. These articles seek to explore the traits of a Social Media Leader, and hopes to inspire leadership for tomorrow’s communication challenges. 


This first two X Factors will focus on a situational based leadership, in good times and bad times. The next series will focus on leadership & relationships. Here it goes:

X Factor 1 – Leadership in Adversity 

A true leader is one who shines during adversity, and lets others assume the limelight in good times. In a crisis, this leader will stand up at the front and say, “I take full accountability, responsibility for the current state of affairs, intended or not….as a leader…I LEAD from the front..” The leader will take responsibility, take action, and express humility – In that order. The buck stops here.

In the rise of corporations, we have been seeing all too many impersonal communications, especially in crisis events.  “It is our policy not to comment not speculate on unverified rumours”, as textbook corporate lingo would put it. But these enterprises might want to think otherwise, since 90% of people trust peer recommendations.  Certainly, quite impossible to respond to all claims especially with the volumes from social media platforms, which may be expressly exaggerated, but nevertheless, be prepared to be at the front in the most dire situations. Not so much for public lynching, but to rally your organisation, inspire leadership that you are prepared to make this happen.

X Factor 2 – Leadership in Positive Organisational Climate

A good leader gives space to his rank and files to take credit when it’s due, and gives them their shining spotlight moments. Its tempting for leaders to leverage on the almighty networking prowess of social media to convey their messages, values and statements in person. But it’s a great opportunity to take it a few notches higher in the same spirit, letting stakeholders and audiences know more about your brand / organisation, through the faces and people behind the scenes. It’s more compelling, and its expresses humility of a good leader who lets his people board the bullet train forward.

Common in this two situations are that intimate communications, having a person in the loop is essential, despite the onset of social media. It’s convenient to convey a message in 140 characters via tweets, but it can never replace the emotional and direct engagements trough personal leadership in communications. So its important that in the faced paced communications landscape, enterprises do not lose their souls through impersonal communications. “If you’re a leader….Lead”



Social Media Passports for Netizen Societies?

In Social Media on October 3, 2011 at 12:11

So, in the immense hours spend on social media communications, I think quite a fair bit of folks have earned adequate brownie points to seriously think about denouncing their existing nationalities and form new netizen identities, of course with social media passports to boot.Unthinkable? Not so much, as I draw inspiration from Burson-Marsteller’s Social Media Infographic on social networks in Asia-Pac. Imagine this – 6 Social Media Continents, consisting of Social Networks, Micro-Blogs, Blog Platforms, Video Sharing Sites, Reference / Collaboration Sites, and Professional Networking Sites, each with its own netizens.

Top Social Networks - Asia Pac 2011 (Burson-Marsteller)

So it’s of course not surprising to see that Social Networking Sites such as Facebook get the largest pie of the netizen population. Strength in numbers? You bet. But how well can we really relate to one another in this new social milieu?

Social media TODAY, has become a way of life. We wake up, check our facebook statuses before the weeklong routines, we tweet everyday life as we commute and move through our paces, we read the news, from toilets to elevators, from mobile devices. Aren’t we new citizens of virtual societies? The significance is not so much in the numbers, rather, from a socio-cultural standpoint, it REVOLUTIONISES the way personal and professional relationships are established, maintained and sustained.

I admit, in the good and open spirit of social media, it has created boundless opportunities in learning, sharing, collaborating etc. I learn more about people, issues and subjects I have never batted my eyelid to understand like never before.

On further reflection, how much can we really understand about people, cultures and issues within a 1280 x 800 pixel wall post on facebook, or a 140 character tweets, or 100 sec youtube videos? Have we developed a high index social culture, with deep and intricate “Social Media Identities”, worthy of forming a new virtual societies?

I have doubts that while we can arrange ourselves with social media presence and identities to relate and communicate, in its current state, the level of intimacy, understanding and relationships will not replace the existing socio-cultural intricacies, not even with the much acclaimed enhancements to Facebook nor launch of Google+. Social Media is in a consolidation phase. It is evolving, making calibrated adjustments to aid us in our communication needs.

So as much excitement and brouhahas are abound with each social media platform’s launch, its important for us to reflect and think hard on how they will impact our lives and society. It is maturing, but not at a stage where it is a high-index social milieu, to overtake existing socio-cultural identities. But then again, no know knows for sure when this revolution will take place..meanwhile, lets cherish our grubby, ink stamped passports while we can.

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