Earlier this morning I had a session on “Should Social Media Be Enterprise or Personal Tools” at Gartner Symposium in Orlando, where I made the point that social media endeavors can provide sustainable values only by blending personal, enterprise and community purposes .
One interesting comment from the audience was that quite often communities created inside the enterprise tend to enjoy success for a short period of time, with people willing to participate, but then interest wanes and dialogues dry out. The ensuing question was how to avoid it.
Actually, there is nothing wrong with communities losing steam. Once they have served their purpose and participants have got what they need, it is quite natural for them to die. The reason why they look like a failure is that people do not plan for that death at the beginning.
Something I often say is that any community, internal or external, should carry an expiry date. In other terms, every time we plan to create a community we should reflect on its purpose (why), its magnetism (who else would have an interest to participate) and its duration (for how long should we keep it alive). Nothing prevents to extend its life beyond the expected expiry date if there is still a sufficient level of participation: all we need to do is to extend that date, but never to believe that it is an evergreen.
So let’s stop talking about social media strategies.Social media is just a tool for either the enterprise or the individual to achieve certain outcomes.