Why Social Media Hurts

It is with a touch of irony that we often say “the one constant in life is change”. Yet, despite the continuous fluctuations in our lives we really do struggle to accommodate it.

But coming to an understanding of what “change” actually means for us can indicate clear success or clear failure. It is part of our evolutionary makeup. Equally, for those of us charged with guiding businesses through the minefield of social media, there are additional responsibilities – it is not just about our own personal changes, it’s the changes faced by our colleagues, our management, executives and customers. And it is also about the organisational memory that needs to be recast or reimagined so that we can all make the transition.

Right now, there’s a lot of hurt being experienced and it’s because everything is changing. Not only are our roles changing, but so are our organisations. What we once loved may have to be sacrificed – be it a business process, a responsibility or even a customer. As with all things, there will be compensations – new customers, new approaches, promotions or new opportunities – after all, not all change is bad: but it is still change. And with every change comes a loss.

So how can we cope with this?

To become part of The Social Way – to need to move quickly through our sense of loss. We need to become Yes Men or Women. And one way to do this is to understand how we deal with loss, with grief and how to embrace acceptance.

This beautiful presentation from Leslie Bradshaw talks about the five stages of social media grief (something that Amber Naslund also wrote about recently). This can also be useful (see slide 6 specifically) to help map out the impediments that you are facing (is someone in denial, angry, bargaining or depressed) – before you reach that lovely state of “acceptance”.

By understanding the stage that you, your stakeholders and your organisation is placed, you can begin to address the challenges and overcome the hurdles that prolong the change process and cause the pain (for us all). And then, in parallel, you can begin to work together to create a newly imagined, social world.

Utopian? Maybe. But generosity and optimism are part of The Social Way. Our challenge is to accept the consequences of what that means.