In this article, you'll learn...
- How to convert social-media-phobes into social-Web-savvy employees
- How to craft a written contract to get employees more social
Warning: Some of your colleagues are afraid—deeply, irrationally afraid—of social media. You know the people I'm talking about: the otherwise reasonable cubicle-dwellers who scream like diaper-rashed newborns at the horrifying thought of having to create... a Twitter profile.
Social media can seem threatening to coworkers who are uncomfortable with technology or those who fear change or who have control issues. Or those who are from a more Gutenbergian era. Or paranoid privacy freaks. Or, come to think of it, "normal" human beings who don't wish to stream their immediate thoughts onto the Internet.
And even people who aren't threatened by social media (those who have a personal Facebook page or obsessively tweet when they're at home about Canadian field hockey) may wind up resisting your social media schemes because, well, they're busy. Social media is not part of the job description, so they may not feel committed to participate.
Turning the Tide
How can you overcome the resistance against social media? How can you get everyone—or darn near everyone—in your organization to give social media a fair shot?
Put out a contract. No, I'm not talking about hiring a hit man. Yes, I do mean a contract.
The idea comes from a fine book by behavioral economist Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions. In one chapter, Ariely writes about crafting several experiments to test how honest MIT students were when offered the opportunity to cheat on an exam. The most interesting part: When the students signed their names next to a kind of oath, a statement that they'd take the test in the spirit of the "MIT Honor Code"—which did not exist—no one cheated.
Moral of the story: when people pledge to do the right thing (in our case, engage in social media) and sign their name to said pledge, they will behave properly.