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Social Media Tug-o-War: Organizational Views that Confuse

June 15, 2011

Toronto, June 15, 2011 - Many organizations look at social media one of two ways: We need to block social media because it destroys productivity, or we need to spend significantly on social media because we need to “join the conversation”. Both of these views are overly simplistic and may impact your organization in unpredictable, and often negative, ways.

"Many organizations still have an "all or nothing" attitude towards social media," says Randall Craig, social media expert and author of Online PR and Social Media and newly released Social Media for Business. "This imbalance is a sign of deeper issues within the ranks."

The position on destroying productivity makes the assumption that people, if left alone, will no longer meet deadlines, nor strive to improve in the eyes of their managers and clients. The truth is that the vast majority of people care deeply about doing a good job. Those that don’t care would simply abuse something else if social media weren’t around. And even if you accept the argument that blocking social media is the right thing to do, most people can access it directly through their Smartphone instead. Adds Craig: "Social media doesn’t destroy productivity; people destroy productivity."

The position on significant social media spending doesn’t take into account that at a certain point, the marginal benefit of “more” investment is very low, and the opportunity cost of spending more in social media versus somewhere else may in fact be extremely high. Of course the organization must join the conversation, but the degree of engagement must be monitored and measured. And it must fit within the overall marketing strategy – not be bolted on after-the-fact.

"In both of these cases, social media success boils down to management," says Craig, "It’s not new technology that creates productivity issues – it’s poor management that does. And it is uninformed management that allows social media to consume far too much time and/or budget." Managing social media may be easier than you think. If you carefully separate and log your personal social media “entertainment” time, from work tasks that need to use social media you may be surprised at what you learn.

"Developing social media strategies and internal policies is a good idea for many organizations," adds Craig, "Sit down with IT, HR, marketing, legal, and line managers to help address the balance between productivity and market connection." If you are in an organization where you feel the balance is too far in one direction or another, you can always enlist the help of a consultant.

Since 1994, Randall Craig has been advising on web and social media strategy. He is the author of six books including the newly published Social Media for Business and the Online PR and Social Media series. For more information about Randall Craig visit To read more on this subject by Randall Craig read 'Social Media Sinkholes' at


For more information contact:

Randall Craig
416.256.7773 x101 /

Carolyn Bergshoeff
416.256.7773 x 103 /

For more information contact:
Randall Craig
Pinetree Advisors
Phone: 416-256-7773

Click here to view our Sources Listing:

Randall Craig, Social Media and Networking Expert


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