Social media and governance

I have been reading several posts lately that adress the issue of governance of social media governance within corporations. Opinions range from designing guidelines to defining and deploying policies. To my mind, both are right and wrong, as governance is first dependant on a company’s culture and organization.

To be on the practical side, this is what I do when adressing social media and governance:

  • Linking with the existing governance structure of the corporation, rules, practices, culture and the new social culture (internal and external),
  • Not setting a document (a charter, for instance) but developing a «charter community» to manage the issue in the longer term,
  • Work on a beta mode, both on the contents and the form that will be given to the governance charter and charter community
  • Take time to work on principles (that should not evolve easily),
  • Take time to work on the «how to» dimension, that should evolve more often.

Progressing towards an increased level of collaboration (that I really prefer to the much publicized Enterprise 2.0) is about managing changes and evolutions. I think developing a real governance initiative is key only when:

  • The first pilots are over, before it is too much of a constraint and it is enough to define the few principles that will ensure consistency between pilots;
  • The scope is large enough. Without the proper scope, the need for governance is less obvious at executive level.

Once governance of the social media environment has been designed, once it is operational, it is time to manage relations with key issues: HR driven regulations, communication policies and management practices. How we manage these relations will make all the difference between implementing a social media or transforming the corporation.

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