Cartoon: Social Media Aliens

There are organizations out there embracing social media with open arms, open hearts and open minds.

But others aren’t nearly as welcoming. And if you’re working for such an organization, you’ve probably felt a little like a space alien when you try to advance even the most modest of social media projects: “See, if we had a Twitter feed, then we could monitor customer service issues and resp-” “Twitter?! Why, it’s full of viruses, spam, pornography and Ashton Kutcher! Speak to me no more of this apostasy!” Which means you, my friend, are what I’ve come to call a stranded evangelist: a stranger in a strange land.

Chances are you spend your days banging your head against the brick wall of an organizational culture of fear, hierarchy and entrenched power, and your nights tweeting your frustration to friends living with the same pain.

There are ways of changing your stranded status: building trust and alliances within your organization, going for the smallest of small wins and expanding from there, gaining insight into your organization’s strategic goals so you can find both pain points and sweet spots where social media can help. But while you’re waiting for those efforts to take off, you can at least take some comfort in the knowledge that you have company.

So the next time you’re proposing a Facebook Page or a blogger outreach initiative, and getting the kind of reaction usually reserved for stories of alien abduction (or, worse, getting the same kind of probing often featured prominently in those stories), then just smile, nod, and remember:

We are not alone.

More Noise to Signal.

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