A Natural Marriage - CSR and Social Web

The Conference Board of Canada is the matchmaker in a sensible marriage of two closely related concepts -- corporate responsibility and social media.

A Conference Board event called CSR and Social Media is taking place in Toronto on May 13th. (I am the conference chair, but this is not about shilling for it. But do come.) I wanted to explain why I think a discussion of these two conjoint ideas just makes sense, and in any case the post will likely metamorphose into my introductory remarks.

Three ideas make the marriage of corporate responsibility and the social web work:

  • A readiness to identify, work with and listen to stakeholders should be at the core of corporate social responsibility strategies within organizations if they are to be influential, believed and trusted. Organizations which leave stakeholders out of their responsibility planning, actions and reporting are missing the most important program "element" . . . people who care about, can affect or can be affected by their actions.
  • The social web exists because people are, well, social. They will choose social exchange platforms in which they are listened to, have the possibility to question and observe, and have the potential to contribute. People become stakeholders of the conversations or dialogues (they're different these two, but that's for another more philosophical day) in which they participate.
  • The harmony of CSR and the social web around what I guess you could call 'people dependency' opens up interesting and worthy new ways to gather information and opinion about CSR performance (point of view mapping, open performance data rooms and online co-development of evaluation models) as well as to report on -- and evaluate -- progress on achieving targets and goals through quarterly online reporting on performance indicators which are open for comment (see Timberland).

There. . . I have set my expectations for what I hope at least some of the speakers will address. If they don't, I get 15 minutes at the end of the conference to make my case anyway.

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