Point of view: Social is not the answer

Molly Flatt

If you prefer imparting information to opening a conversation, you must be a monologue-obsessed PR machine. If you resist openness and transparency, you're a paranoid control freak with something to hide. If you can't find your way around a Facebook timeline, you may as well bow out now. Get social or get a pension. Right?

I am a huge evangelist for the value of a social business approach, but I have noticed a worrying moral superiority creeping in. The implication that social skills are now the sole most important aim of not just a successful modern business, but any individual worthy of a job, is increasingly prevalent.

In mid-December, social media consultant Oliver Blanchard posted an article on his blog The Brand Builder titled Beware the Social Business Siren Song. In it, he reminded readers that all the collaborative culture, social tools and customer service in the world cannot trump a company that delivers better products. Citing Apple and Disney as two businesses whose "quasi-tyrannical leadership and hermetically-sealed silos" have been central to their ongoing success, Blanchard concludes that "becoming a more social company is not the same as becoming a better company".