Sunday, January 6, 2013

How Chinese censorship of social media policies drive your business into the ground

We've all heard about it and some of us have experienced it for ourselves.  The Chinese censorship of Social Media sites which has seen many of them blocked while comments or posts have been removed from others.  There seems to be a mentality of "We've got to protect the regime at all costs."  Some of the things we take for granted from the armchair of our living room seem not to exist in other parts of the world.

I hear the armchair amateur coach talking in the back of my mind.  "How ridiculous", "Look, their oppressing their people."  All sorts of judgements are past. It seems that their society is so backward and archaic. Just think of all the things that they're missing! There's a lot of knowledge about everything from world events through to how to plant a vegetable garden that they're missing out on.

In some ways the censorship is proving to be a modern day gag.  Preventing rumors from spreading which may lead to the toppling of the regime. When people can collaborate and work together amazing things can be achieved.  In recent times we have seen other governments overthrown with the aid of Social Media.

As a child I was taught the biblical principle of not picking the dust out of someone else's eye when you've got a plank in your own.  This story reminds me of that.  A lot of employers have shut down access to Social Media sites from the office because they have a non-rational fear which resembles a Chinese government.  They are worried about not only a loss of productivity, but that an employee will say something out of line.  In fact, the only people with access are likely to be IT (because the implement the restrictions for everyone else while making themselves exempt) and possibly the marketing team.

There is one message which goes out to employees, "We don't trust you."  However, it's really a matter of management not understanding the benefits of Social Media.  I talk to a lot of companies about this and I typically find that they don't have a Social Media plan, they obviously have a policy but not a plan.  A plan covers off enabling employees to make the right choices in their use of Social Media.  If covers off how to use Social Media in a meaningful way so as to improve the way you do your job.

So what does your business look like?  Does it look like a Chinese government which is gripped by fear, or do you actually have a strategic plan in place to ensure the best possible outcomes?
  

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