Don't Keep Up With Social Technology

by Anis Salvesen

If you go to the Harvard Business blog, you will see a great article by Alexandra Samuel called “Don’t Keep Up With Social Technology”.  I encourage you to read the actual blog post, but basically she talks about how keeping up with all of the latest technology in social media is not the answer.  She has this great example of going to Ikea with a friend and being reminded by this friend, “there’s no combination of boxes that’s going to turn you into an organized person.”

Below is a comment we posted to Alexandra’s article.  We are extremely curious; what are your thoughts?    And before I forget, thanks for reading this post.   Bolded words allow you to skim.

What a great post.  Just this morning I was talking with the founder of SHARED, Inc. about getting a Twitter account. I used to work in the corporate world, and there I never had to think about such choices; there was an entire tech department and a marketing department who stayed on top of the latest technologies for the rest of us.  Now that I work at a non-profit (UniversalGiving), it’s much more of an “issue,” if you will.

Non-profits have fewer resources to dedicate to learning all about new technologies and to then actually implement them.  Should you have a volunteer update your Twitter account, or should they spend their time keeping up your Facebook Page?  Do you want to have your marketing team post to your organization’s blog, or is it better if they try to get your organization featured on a great site like TechCrunch?

The decision-making process is further hindered in smaller non-profits by the fact that the person who ultimately makes these decisions, or at least sets the framework by which to make these decisions, is an already over-worked CEO.  This is especially true when the CEO is an entrepreneur.  It’s true that these CEO’s have to trust their team, but at the end of the day, it’s their (the CEO’s) organization.  It’s their sweat, their dreams that are on the line.

Another thing is that most of these entrepreneurial CEO’s, these social entrepreneurs, are aware of the fact that they have limited resources.  They have a perhaps unspoken fear of lagging behind the corporate world.  It’s too much of a stretch to say that these CEOs think that if they don’t keep up with the latest technology, people they are trying to help will pay the price.  That is to say, that if they fail to move on a hot new trend, X-amount of children they could otherwise have saved will die.  As I said, that would be an exaggeration.

But I do think there is the feeling that they somehow owe it to these people in need to keep up on all of the latest trends.  Their work is their passion, their life, the embodiment of their values, and any failure to stay at the forefront of technology is a failure on their part to walk the talk.

The idea that quality not quantity is what matters, I think applies here.  It’s exactly what you say in your post about “choosing technologies that support the goals and priorities that matter to you.” 

Alexandra will be responding to these comments on her Social Signal site

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7 thoughts on “Don't Keep Up With Social Technology

  1. Agreed, and I think the logic applies to individuals, too. Social networks are a way to market ourselves, but it’s not clear that the effort wouldn’t be better spent on more traditional networking avenues.

  2. Social technology is a mixed blessing for a small organization like SHARED. We can reply more on the internet to get out our message and reduce the costs of printing and mailing which saves us some money. But to make social technology most effective, it requires constant care and tending, stretching out very limited human resources. Social technology is certainly the way of the future but until we get there, we still have to rely on the tried and true methods of communication – print including direct mail – until the vast majority of our contacts move to social networking. And that means our resources are spread thin.

  3. We are definitely in the earlier stages in terms of mass adoption of social technology. There is considerable momentum, but new technologies are coming fast and furiously. It’s definitely hard to tell which of the latest ones will be most effective,, not just in general but for one’s organization in particular.
    Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂

  4. Elizabeth, thank you very much for your comment. It is great to see the issue from the perspective of a small organization like SHARED. We really appreciate the real world example!

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