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“Not fond of social media, but it looks like I have to do it”

That’s a paraphrased quote from an evaluation. There’s an attitude in that quote.

The good news is the person has recognized change. Sometimes we don’t surface from the day to day work to see changes in tools and culture.

It helps me to think of it this way: Would I want to be on unemployment compensation forever? Would I want my children to always be ages one, three and five? Would I want a yard full of leaves all the time? All those things have happened; only the leaves are current.

How we respond
How have the tools in your job changed? The clients, the economy? Have you changed with them? Those who are stuck as if always at one age or season make work difficult for others. If I insisted on writing for the Web the same way I learned to write for newspapers, I would not be helping my employer or learning anything new. And more important, I would not be writing the way today’s public scans text on the Web.

If I didn’t listen to the people who embrace social media, would I be helping my organization stay viable? The questions should not be ‘what am I comfortable doing?’ or ‘what do I personally know and like?’

What will delight the client?
What do people want to know and how do they want the information? Those are the right questions.

That’s civility—thinking of others rather than being oblivious to or resisting change.


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What bothers me most about the term "social media" is the implied impression that all other forms of media aren't. I'd rather use the specific names of options (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and speak specifically about each.

And, yes, I use some of these newer communication methods, personally and professionally.

When I hear "civility" brought up in the context of social media, it's usually in reference to the tendency toward uncivil behavior: failure to acknowledge that not everyone is one's peer (i.e. employer, professor, etc.), use of rude language, poor judgment about what is private vs. public. I agree that social media is a necessary skill, but if those who hesitate are "uncivil," then I hate to think what the really problematic stuff should be called!

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