As a student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program, we discuss the importance of the growing capabilities in social media, yet we also keep a close eye on “High Reliability Organizations” and how they can best utilize the benefits of social media. For instance, social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are continuing to prosper in the business world due to their strong commitment to resilience and innovation. We may ask ourselves how it is that these organizations continue to generate new benefits for their users. For starters, social network companies are entering the minds of their users through the first-hand use of their services.
It was recently discovered that Google’s senior management were not active users on their own social network site, Google +. People immediately spotted the red flag and questioned Google’s confidence in their product. The even bigger concern is that Google views Google + as the future of the company, yet their lack of engagement makes us all question why they decided to enter the social networking sphere and why they believe it can be even remotely fundamental to Google’s future.
There has already been signs of failure for Google + as a Google engineer publicly stated his doubts on the company being able to leverage Google + as one of their valuable assets. The engineer, Steve Yegge, claims Google is “trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.”
I am currently reading a book in my Public Relations course through the Northwestern Medill IMC program called Managing the Unexpected-Resilient Performance in the Age of Uncertainty. The authors expand on some of the principles High Reliability Organizations (HRO) should follow in order to remain high-performing entities. Google has failed in being “sensitive to operations”, one of the HRO principles. Being absent from the Google + community means management is not being attentive to the front line, where the real work gets done. Instead of trying to predict the needs of users and potential users, Google management should be heavily active on their site and experience the very services they promote and stand by. Leading by example is Rule #1 for any business, and to do this, Google must begin to show their commitment to social media.
Undergraduate Northwestern IMC