Online Solutions

Recently, two groups I occasionally advise on issues on and offline came to me with two unique social media/internet questions.

The first group, a student organization on a large campus, got into some trouble when one of their members posted a photo of questionable content to one of the national organization’s social media profiles. Now, I want to point out that the content of the photo wasn’t that offensive, but it was enough to raise a few eyebrows and rub the right people the wrong way.

The issue had to be addressed.

Luckily, the organization has a robust and effective leadership that was quick to respond and the issue was addressed right away. The fallout was minimal and everyone agreed that better steps should be taken to make sure the membership was more conscious of the risk their social media content could pose to the brand of their organization.

It’s hard to monitor – and even harder to censure – the content of someone else’s posts on a social media site. There are, however, steps you can take to insure that the risk is reduced for your organization when engaging in social media.

Twitter doesn’t offer much in the way of settings for this kind of strategy; in fact you can post just about whatever kind of content you’d like to Twitter. When it comes to monitoring your risk for your pages directly, Twitter allows profiles to be set to private. This will prevent non-members from viewing any content affiliated with the profile. Another smart move is to launch campaigns ahead of something like an event - the ability to retweet instead of writing a new post will reduce the risk while increasing your organizations visibility.

Facebook alternatively allows the manager of a group page to monitor all activity coming to the page before it’s posted. You can even approve posts in which your page has been tagged before they are allowed to be posted. Turning these settings on and actively checking the account will give you greater control over the content on Facebook.

It’s not always possible to monitor everything, but finding someone in your organization or recruiting someone to maintain and monitor your social media profiles while educating your membership and occasionally building campaigns, is the best way to reduce the risk.

The second group, a committee that meets infrequently and randomly, was interested in making their teleconferences more productive. The interesting caveat with this group happened to be that few of the members have ever met in person; they live all over the country, and only actually meet once every two years over six days. Their work affects thousands and needs to be voted on by those thousands in order to continue.

Two things needed to be addressed; how to increase the productivity of their rare hourly meetings, and how to increase engagement with their work while “offline,” so-to-speak.

Google Docs is a free and easy to use solution to both issues. The platform allows you to share a Word-like document with a number of people using your Gmail account. These documents can then be shared, edited, and commented on in real-time.

For example, while on a teleconference call users can view the documents at the same time, see changes made to the document in real time and highlighted in different colors representing a different user. Notes can also be left in the margins of a document that highlight the portion of the document the note is referencing and function as an instant messenger if more than one user is editing the document. Google Docs even sends email notifications to the other users as soon as you have made changes to a document, something this group found increased their engagement with the work offline.

Two unique problems facing organizations in a Web 2.0 environment and two unique, easy to use and to implement solutions provided by Web 2.0 tools. While the risk or challenges of operating in our new high tech world sometimes seem daunting, it’s important to remember that in the end these are just more tools, built by men, designed to make our lives easier, faster, and better - even if they do seem hard to use at first.

This post was written by John Fenton. John has been a writer and journalist for several years covering topics from technology in the Middle East to real estate at home and popular music. Strong written and verbal communication skills brought John to Yoh as a Social Media Specialist, piloting the program and supporting recruitment efforts at GE. In 2011-12, he worked with an award winning director to edit a screenplay and enjoys spending time working with film and audio recording. In 2011, John wrote the Ritual Education Guide for Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity and currently sits on the Arch Chapter Ritual Committee. He runs his own website and enjoys participating in and hosting charity functions. From the Detroit area John has a passion for the city and its vibrant regrowth. He currently lives in Ypsilanti, MI and spends his time consuming news and culture, boxing and kayaking, and all the while trying to sneak in the occasional book or two.


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