Dienstag, 12. Juli 2011

When trees are the better walls

There is a book by Henning Mankell, which is called in German “Die Brandmauer”. A rather unfortunate title, because what is in English a "Firewall", might be in German either the traditional firewall “Brandmauer” of brick and stone, or the neo-German IT “firewall”, and in the book it rather meant the later one.
A similar blossom of style (“Stilblüte”) grows wonderfully, when I state: The best architecture of a #socialfirewall is a #socialtree.

via stockxchng Ruin wall by mazweb
Although a well grown tree, like a well raised #socialtree, can stand bad wheather, the metapher was to a larger extent targeting the good times, when the corporate considers how to make best business in social media and how to engage most adequately.
However as there is not only great and valuable information out there in the internet and in social media, but also misinformation, one needs to consider to build also the #socialfirewall.
The combination of two characteristics of social media as for something different than what every PR & Marketing department is trained and qualified to cope with.
A Social Media allow a larger spectrum of diversity, Social Media does not suppress fluctuations
B The size, the number of participants bears the potential to amplify fluctuations.
A In every traditonal publication a lector would have corrected my “blossoms of style” into a “bloomer”, as well as every serious verification team would have checked information and arguments in a publication. In style and content many weird things are on the web, some awsome, many aweful.
B So while the censorship of good taste and common sense cleans up the weird things before publication in traditional media (I am aware of my naïve point of view!), they survive on the web, and even more, some of them get amplified, because they are funny, weird or just support what we want to think. This is why we sometimes enjoy amateur videos on youtube, because they are just so unconventional.
But because not everyday is just sunshine and social media bear these characteristic, corporates must play their scenarios in raincoats. Justified or not, there is shit out there, and if it hits the fan of social media, it hits big time.
No more metaphors today!
And as companies defend their IT environment with firewalls, their social environment, their brand must be defined by a #socialfirewall.
You ask for examples of what can go wrong: here are 4 (uncommented): Kenneth Cole Egypt, Nokia in Iran, Vodafone Egypt boycott, McKinsey and the trees (ups, sorry, the tree metaphor!)
So a #socialfirewall is vital, but how to build?
Certainly not of brick and stone, not even mentally, but – in my opinion – the #socialtree is the adequate architecture. Many employees, nutured by the roots of experience, put up in the air by a strong trunk of communication and transparency (read Michael Ende's: Jim Knopf, if you haven’t heart about glass trees), and all of them out there engaged socially.


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