Social Media is Scary – How to Address Junior Employees

On one of my recent posts, Social Media is Scary, Rick posed some pretty valid questions that essentially boiled down to “yeah, social media is scary, but now what?  What can I do to address these concerns?”  I thought this was a great follow-up question that I promised to answer in a future post.

So, what can you do to address the myriad reasons for social media being scary?  In my next four blog posts, I’ll tackle each of the demographics that I brought up in the original posts one by one and illustrate how I handle the “social media is scary” line.  Our first group is the Junior Employee –

For junior employees – “Yeah, that’s great that I can start a blog that everyone in the organization can read, but what will I say?  What if my grammar is wrong or I spell something wrong – will people think I can’t write?  What if I disagree with something that my manager says?  What if I write too much and my boss wonders why I wasn’t working?  I don’t know – I’ll have to really think about it.”

For junior employees, it’s all about tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit.  Show them how they can use their organization’s internal blogs, wiki, bookmarks, etc. to identify their niche and to promote it.  Show them how this voice that they now have can be used to advance their own career.

Image Courtesy of Flickr user GroovyGuru

Image Courtesy of Flickr user GroovyGuru

Junior employees lost in a mass of thousands – they’re often anonymous pluggers who are told that they have to “put in their time.”  With the proliferation of social media both inside and outside the organization, this phrase is now more of an excuse than a reason.  If you’re a junior employee who is sick and tired of being the gopher, of being tasked with doing nothing but web research, of not being invited to strategy meetings, DO something about it.  Do your job well and stop whining about the lack of opportunities and create your own.  You now have a voice.  You now have a platform with which you can demonstrate your skills and expertise and create your own opportunities.

I’ve used my own experience as a case study here.  When I first started pushing the words “social media” around my traditionally conservative firm, I started small.  I pulled together some basic briefings and white papers, but never really got traction beyond my core team.  Once we deployed internal blogs, a wiki, and forums, that’s when my work internally with social media really took off.  I blogged every chance I got.  I went in and created dozens of wiki pages on every social media tool I found.  I commented on everyone’s blogs.  I took every opportunity I could to get my name out there associated with social media, Web 2.0, New Media and anything else that was related to those terms.  As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, when I first started down this path, I was working 9-5 AND 5-9.  I had to continue doing my actual job and then come home and work my tail off on this.  Remember that no one is going to care what you have to say if you’re getting negative performance reviews because you’re neglecting your actual job in favor of something else.

Now, anytime anyone in my company searches the terms “social media” or “Web 2.0” or “blog” on our Intranet, my name pops up.  What made me one of Booz Allen’s social media leads wasn’t some new title or promotion or org chart change – it was simply a matter of my putting my name out there along with my thoughts, opinions, and ideas and letting everyone judge me based on that.  That first blog entry WAS terrifying, but you know what – I decided that I’d have to take that first step at some point, why not do it on something that I feel very confident about?

So, when a junior employee tells me that social media is scary, all I have to show them the benefits of social media, of how you can use these tools to position yourself how you want to be seen and where you want your career to go.  I tell all of my mentees to find something, find anything, that they really enjoy and that they can somehow tie into the business of our organization.  You’re in grad school studying Global Communication with a specialization in Middle Eastern Studies?  Perfect!  Go start a blog on that.  Go create wiki pages that examine the impact of the Internet in Iran.  Start a community of all others who are interested in learning more about that topic.  Just identify your niche, and get out there already!  If you’re a junior employee reading this and you’re STILL looking for motivation, then watch this spectacular video from last year’s Web 2.0 Expo in New York.  Listen to Gary’s speech and then try to tell me that you’re not ready to go kill it!

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About sradick

I’m Vice President, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh.

Find out more about me here (http://steveradick.com/about/).

View all posts by sradick
  • JE

    Great post! This one has appealed to me more than the previous few as I feel it relates more directly to my own current ‘social media strategery.’ My interest (more like love affair) in SM and Web 2.0 started last year while taking classes towards my Masters of Library and Information Science degree. I was one of, if not the only person in the program who has little or no interest in libraries. I don’t even have a library card for my local public library. I’m just not interested. I am interested in information; what format it’s in, how you can find it, how you can use it and you can make it work for you. It’s all about access; if you can’t get to the information you need, what good is it? Social Media has proved itself to be an incredibly powerful tool of distributing information.

    Each morning my first order of business is to read and comment on many of the blogs in my blogroll. I’ve attended several conferences, workshops and seminars relating to Web 2.0 and how to make SM work for my current field (archives, preservation, open access). I talk about SM to whoever is around to listen. For as much as I preach SM apps and the benefits of Web 2.0, I haven’t been taking my own advice.

    After attending a Web 2.0 panel discussion in Denver this past weekend where the session was shared live on Ustream and had people ‘tweeting in’, I made a late New Year’s resolution. I’m going to blog. I’m going to tweet. I’m going to become more involved. Work, travel, class and homework take up a lot of my time, but in the end these are only excuses.

  • JE

    Great post! This one has appealed to me more than the previous few as I feel it relates more directly to my own current ‘social media strategery.’ My interest (more like love affair) in SM and Web 2.0 started last year while taking classes towards my Masters of Library and Information Science degree. I was one of, if not the only person in the program who has little or no interest in libraries. I don’t even have a library card for my local public library. I’m just not interested. I am interested in information; what format it’s in, how you can find it, how you can use it and you can make it work for you. It’s all about access; if you can’t get to the information you need, what good is it? Social Media has proved itself to be an incredibly powerful tool of distributing information.

    Each morning my first order of business is to read and comment on many of the blogs in my blogroll. I’ve attended several conferences, workshops and seminars relating to Web 2.0 and how to make SM work for my current field (archives, preservation, open access). I talk about SM to whoever is around to listen. For as much as I preach SM apps and the benefits of Web 2.0, I haven’t been taking my own advice.

    After attending a Web 2.0 panel discussion in Denver this past weekend where the session was shared live on Ustream and had people ‘tweeting in’, I made a late New Year’s resolution. I’m going to blog. I’m going to tweet. I’m going to become more involved. Work, travel, class and homework take up a lot of my time, but in the end these are only excuses.

  • Well said! I still watch that speech of Gary’s every now and then as a kick in the pants to keep moving, keep doing and keep working. It’s very inspiring and good to share with others too.

  • Well said! I still watch that speech of Gary’s every now and then as a kick in the pants to keep moving, keep doing and keep working. It’s very inspiring and good to share with others too.

  • I enjoyed the post! I know that in our workplace there are many young people (ahem, me), who absolutely want to get more involved with evolving tools such as twitter, but simply have a hard time wrapping our minds around how to get started. Your tips were a huge help and motivator! Thanks.

  • I enjoyed the post! I know that in our workplace there are many young people (ahem, me), who absolutely want to get more involved with evolving tools such as twitter, but simply have a hard time wrapping our minds around how to get started. Your tips were a huge help and motivator! Thanks.

  • Thanks for the cohesive arguments to use for junior employees. As a social software trainer, I’m often faced with younger (or just newer, if they’ve changed careers) employees who balk at the transparency of blogs and wikis. But then the words of Thomas Fingar, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, seem outstandingly relevant. In a public forum, Mr. Fingar stated,

    Intellipedia. It’s been written up. It’s the Wikipedia on a classified network, with one very important difference: it’s not anonymous. We want people to establish a reputation. If you’re really good, we want people to know you’re good. If you’re making contributions, we want that known. If you’re an idiot, we want that known too. (Source)

    This is very scary to some folks who think, “What if people find out I don’t know what I’m talking about?” Guess what? They will eventually. To everyone who has accurately represented themselves, they can see this as an opportunity to demonstrate their competence.

    Perhaps even more importantly, writing articles and comments in a public space like an enterprise blogosphere connects you with others across your organization. At Booz Allen, developing your professional network is highly stressed for consultants at all levels. There is no easier way to accomplish this (especially with a geographically dispersed organization) than through social media.

  • Thanks for the cohesive arguments to use for junior employees. As a social software trainer, I’m often faced with younger (or just newer, if they’ve changed careers) employees who balk at the transparency of blogs and wikis. But then the words of Thomas Fingar, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, seem outstandingly relevant. In a public forum, Mr. Fingar stated,

    Intellipedia. It’s been written up. It’s the Wikipedia on a classified network, with one very important difference: it’s not anonymous. We want people to establish a reputation. If you’re really good, we want people to know you’re good. If you’re making contributions, we want that known. If you’re an idiot, we want that known too. (Source)

    This is very scary to some folks who think, “What if people find out I don’t know what I’m talking about?” Guess what? They will eventually. To everyone who has accurately represented themselves, they can see this as an opportunity to demonstrate their competence.

    Perhaps even more importantly, writing articles and comments in a public space like an enterprise blogosphere connects you with others across your organization. At Booz Allen, developing your professional network is highly stressed for consultants at all levels. There is no easier way to accomplish this (especially with a geographically dispersed organization) than through social media.

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  • Really it is an informative and good post. thanks for shareing information.

  • Really it is an informative and good post. thanks for shareing information.