Social Media According to Rhonda Lowry: A Possible Project Management Tool

Social Media According to Rhonda Lowry: A Possible Project Management Tool

Does social media have anything to do with project management? Well, inasmuch as social media is an avenue for communication and collaboration, I suppose, in the right circumstances, it can be a project management tool.

Anyway, I hope social media’s got something to do with project management, because that’s what I’m writing about this time. So there.

I recently heard Rhonda Lowry, VP of Social Media Technologies at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., speak about implementing social media in the enterprise, and I wanted to share with you what highlights my tiny brain was able to absorb.

  • Behaviors that technology engenders matter much more than the technology itself. Take FaceBook. Sure, the tech is pretty cool, but it’s the sharing it enables and the culture it’s created that have changed the game.
  • Chance favors the connected mind,” is a quote from Steven Johnson, who wrote Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. Networks created because of social media can open markets and give rise to disruptive, game-changing innovations because they bring together ideas, thus increasing the possibility of a key person having an “aha!” moment.
  • The culture of social media is a “gift economy” in which I give you something and then you give me something. (Maybe this is more of a quid pro quo economy.) With giving so important, ideas are bound to travel.

When you’re ready to implement social media, don’t run out and buy a solution off the shelf. You need to consider the nature of your enterprise and put together the appropriate piece parts to build the system you really need. Some things to consider:

  • Do social relationships matter in your organization? If they matter a lot, maybe you have to worry about overuse. If they don’t matter at all, you might have a hard time with adoption.
  • How technologically literate are the potential users? Find out and provide training as needed.
  • Is your company a command-and-control hierarchy or a matrixed,democratic pancake? In a hierarchy, getting the green light could be just your first challenge.
  • Can you get out of your own way; that is, are you flexible enough to do this?
  • Can you, will you, evolve? All those ideas flying around are going to make for unforeseen changes.
  • Are you willing to give up command and control and decentralize? Put social media in place, and engineers are bound to talk to marketers. VPs and front line reps could strike up social media relationships… OMG!

In addition to these points, Lowry also recommended a few books:

  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink
  • The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstron

I wish I could have captured more for you—there was more—but I hope this subset will at least be food for thought. If 90% of our project management job is communication,we’ll be using social media somehow, sometime soon.

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