Hierarchies in the change process thanks to Twitter & Co: Like a bitter pill


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Company have always had many reservations about social media: what scares them most is the lack of controllability of their employees. But the managers will have to swallow the pill, because the new forms of communication break up old hierarchies and structures.

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The fears of Company

Understandably, a company has to pay more attention to legal requirements than private individuals, such as imprint requirements, data protection regulations or liability issues. In addition to legal concerns and security issues, companies fear a lack of control over what their employees are doing.

These are fears that are slow to break out and that go much further in some companies: In many places, firewalls are used to prevent employees from using social media services such as Twitter at all because they do not want to waste valuable working time.

Control prevents information flow!

Apart from the fact that these regulations can be easily circumvented with smartphones - unless you also carry out bag checks - companies naturally cut themselves off from the flow of information on the Internet. And from that growing group of professionals of the digital-native generation, for whom social media simply belong - as a working tool. Because Twitter enables a much faster exchange of information than, for example eMails and is not limited to only sender and receiver. In addition, tweeting is spontaneous - this is exactly what makes the communication so authentic.

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It is clear that this open communication behavior bites among peers with the hierarchical control and instruction structures of traditional companies. Because in many companies, the blessing from above must be obtained for every message that is given outside. Even if, of course, hastily tweeted internals could influence the share price or justify liability claims of third parties: it would be better to specify clearly defined regulations, which may be tweeted and what not, and then let the employees act on their own responsibility. However, trust is needed here. In contrast, control anger and protracted release processes virtually prevent Twitter in companies. Because real live communication can not work that way, of course!

Example: Daimler

The strategy of Daimler was an example of good approaches, which, however, did not yet represent an optimal solution: The group regularly tweets news from the company on a news channel, but does not entirely engage in dialogue with its followers. There is also a second account, on which three employees regularly tweet to live events and also respond to inquiries.

The reason for the division into two was certainly that a handful of employees at an international corporation cannot answer all questions about the entire company immediately - on the one hand for reasons of clarity, but on the other hand also because they are not allowed to freely disclose all information. Therefore, you are limited to a certain area and a manageable number of followers. The efforts also appreciate this: The interest in the dialogue channel is far greater than in the pure company news. For Uwe Knaus, who launched the first corporate blog for a DAX company at Daimler two years ago, social media and Twitter also offer other advantages.

Krisenkommunikation via Twitter

In an interview that appeared on a blog a few months ago, he said: “My personal opinion is that the 'social' in social media does not mean social, non-profit or even charitable. Rather, it means the diverse conversations that take place in a network and are not always easy to locate. This development requires professional listening - some call it monitoring.

If I now know where and how people are talking about my company or my brands, social media offers me numerous opportunities to participate in these discussions. ” One possibility that the company made use of recently when Daimler was in the media pillory because the company takes blood samples from applicants. Daimler responded to the many critical inquiries with a blog post, which was published on Twitter, among other things. The crisis communication was probably not satisfactory for every critic, but the positive reactions in the social media scene showed that the efforts made by the company for openness were generally recognized.

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  1. How companies can protect themselves from carelessness of their employees: Beware of data theft | Profession pictures by Simone Janson

    [...] may and what not. At least that's the opinion that Daimler blogger Uwe Knaus expressed in a comment here on the blog. However, according to Knaus, there is a risk that the employees will [...]

  2. How companies can protect themselves from carelessness of their employees: Beware of data theft | Profession pictures by Simone Janson

    [...] may and what not. At least that's the opinion that Daimler blogger Uwe Knaus expressed in a comment here on the blog. However, according to Knaus, there is a risk that the employees will [...]

  3. Natascha Müller - Filmography by type

    RT @uknaus #Twitter in companies - closed structures break only slowly

  4. Simone Janson

    Hello Mr. Knaus,
    thank you for the detailed comment. With the Twitter Pollicies, many companies are already going too far. Now, let's go one step further. Is not that a little idealistic in view of the structures in many companies?
    But you are right, of course, employees can also feel that they are being pushed by guidelines ... I have once seen that you get a list of things that you should or shouldn't say on the phone - not very motivating.
    Sorry that I didn't mention the press releases - from a journalistic point of view, sending press releases around is old hat ...

    gruß
    Simone Janson

  5. Johannes Lenz

    RT @SimoneJanson Enlightenment #SociaMedia instead of #Policy? Very good comment @uknaus to # Twitter article -Discussed with!

  6. uknaus

    Two notes:
    In my opinion, the employee doesn't need any additional rules for Twitter. You don't have to tell him what to tweet and what not to tweet. As a rule, colleagues know that very well. Before an employee writes an external e-mail or has a big chat at the regulars' table, they think carefully about what to tell whom. Twitter is just a new, big get-together that is confusing and where not just friends sit - just like with Facebook.
    With Twitter, however, there is a risk that employees are too talkative out of (supposed) anonymity. However, this anonymity is deceptive, as it can be revealed at any time by a follower. Instead of Twitter guidelines, I argue for clarification regarding the functioning and pitfalls of social media.
    Second: Crime communication via Twitter. We responded not only with a blog contribution to the blood tests, but also with a press release. Both were published at the same time and made public via Twitter. Much more is not possible.

  7. PR-COM

    RT @uknaus Twitter in companies - closed structures are only slowly breaking open - via @SimoneJanson

  8. Simone Janson

    Enlightenment over #SociaMedia instead of #Policy? Very good comment v. @uknaus to my # Twitter article #fb -Discussed with!

  9. uknaus

    Twitter in companies - closed structures are only slowly breaking open - via @SimoneJanson

  10. Dr. Reinhard Goy

    Series on Twitter in companies: Closed structures are only breaking slowly!

  11. Simone Janson

    Frisch Blogged: Series on Twitter in Business: Closed structures break only slowly!

  12. AIXhibit SocialMedia

    Series on Twitter in companies: Breaking closed structures… #socialmedia

  13. Oliver White

    #Social Media In an interview that appeared on a blog a few months ago, he said: “My personal me ...

  14. Simone Janson

    Twitter in companies - closed structures are only slowly breaking open:

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