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Communications and the Web: Past Puberty

As social media practice leader for a large communications agency, I meet with organizations all the time about their social and digital strategies. Reluctance, hesitation and risk-aversion are always present, the explanation being that social communications is still in its formative stages and some technologies only in their infancy.

Sure social technologies change almost daily and new products and apps come on stream faster than Lindsay Lohan's bail gets revoked. The core ideas, though, have been around long enough that reluctance and hesitation are beginning to look like indecisiveness and a kind of business faintheartedness.

In cleaning out my office recently ahead of a move to a new space, I came across an article on crisis management and the Internet I wrote 12 years ago for the Ivey Business Journal, a publication similar to HBR out of the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. I wrote at the time:

Surprisingly little has been said or written about the threat the Internet represents by creating events or crises that can harm a company's reputation and its ability to carry on business. Nor has much been said about how a company can use the Internet to manage a crisis. In fact, there are three ways in which the Internet can play an integral role in crisis management: As a crisis "trigger"; As a stratagem used by advocacy groups to organize opposition to corporate initiatives; As a valuable weapon in a company's arsenal for managing crises.

No, I am indisputably not a visionary.

I'm just saying it's been evident for a long time — well before the web became 'social' — that the Internet altered everything about communications.

So, no need to dither. Let's just get on with the social strategies.

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