The subtle conspiracy against social media

Social Media Cafe Manchester - Panelists
Image by loscuadernosdejulia via Flickr

 ”Social media – Them’s fightin words around these parts!”

I hear the words “social media” discussed so much anymore that I am starting to fear the backlash of overhype at a time when people in the HR profession can ill afford for that happen.   It would make it for another far too easy excuse for many HR professionals to throw out as their response as to why they can’t /won’t / don’t do much with social media.   Sad, but true. 

So, what am I doing today?   I’m gonna discuss social media some more. 

I want to broach a topic that I have discussed at length with a few people.   I am not going to share details, but do want to raise the issue at a high level for your consideration, and to prompt some discussion.  If what I am about to describe occurs within the HR profession, it certainly takes place in other functional areas as well.

The conspiracy – it’s not just a theory

I often discuss mingling my work in social media with the professional work I do in other areas.   I have discovered recently that I take for granted the level of flexibility I have in doing stuff related to social media on an on-going basis, including writing this blog and speaking at conferences, and other events which I am more and more frequently being invited to participate in. 

I realized this after hearing a very similar story from more than one person who has experienced conflicts with their employer over their social media activities, even when they were being open about it, and doing it on their own time.

The long story made short goes like this:

  • I took vacation to attend a conference and they were pissed that I was going.
  • They tried to make me cancel trip when they found out where I was going.
  • They questioned my loyalty and dedication when they heard I had a blog.
  • They suspected that I was blogging and talking to other Hr professionals during working hours.

I could go on, but I think the point is obvious.  Many of us engaged in the HR/social media space are getting the stink eye from our managers, for a multitude of reasons:

  • We are slacking in our professional duties by communicating with our professional peers.
  • We are showing a lack of commitment by attempting to increase our professional knowledge and competence through the “timewasting”  tools of social media.
  • We might be job searching while we are “chatting online with our friends”.

I could go on, but I won’t.    I’ll just say I don’t get it. 

I use social media tools as a professional asset every day,  and many of the people I work with get it.   Not all, but many.   They don’t think I am shirking my duties.  In fact, they come to me fr assitance in doing “that internet stuff” when a specific situation develops that merits research and review.  They share tips with me about things they see related to my typcial research. 

Are HR managerial people who don’t get it so easily threatened by those of us that do that they feel the need to drag down the possible value by attacking  our professionalism?  

Are they so lacking in knowledge of the value of these tools that they can only take the short term view of  social media being a timesuck?

why revile someone working to advance their skills and knowledge?  Why not embrace these early adopters and put their skills to work for your organization, especially when you can’t do it yourself?

.These questions are somewhat rhetorical, but I would love to continue the dialogue. 

I am grateful that all my personal experiences in this regard have been positive and encouraging, but I’d lobe to hear from you on this topic. 

Share your opinion in the comments, or share your personal experience, if you dare.    

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