The architect and social media language
The same rationale supports those involved in the development of a social media implementation model and the design of a building by an architect.
In this video, Mathew Lloyd, architect and Founding Partner of MatthewLloydArchitects, explains in more detail the process architects need to go through to get a finalized model of a building:
- It is a step-by-step process, he says, that involves many different people rather than solely the architect. First, initial meetings about the project take place, followed by the development of a brief which is discussed by all those involved in the project. In the same way, social media is a step-by-step process too that needs to be carefully elaborated in a phased manner. Applying social media tools without proper research will only drive a company to go enthusiastically in the wrong direction, bringing more risks than benefits.
- During the discussion of the brief, a ‘common language’ rather than technical jargon is used to discuss and agree on different parts of the building project, so that no one dominates the conversation or feels excluded from it. the same applies to social media as the diversity of languages that exist around the concept of social media needs to be incorporated into a common language that everyone can understand, rather than having those who know more or those who use social media jargon dominate the discussion and push those who do not know technical terminology but who do have valuable information to contribute, out of the discussion.
- The architect then comes back, after some time, with a sketch response using drawings and diagrams, to see if the client group likes it or not, and upon consent, he/she then produces a full physical or 3-D model of the building that embodies the whole scheme. As with a building project, this process needs to be segmented by briefs upon which the participants in the social media project discuss their experiences and pinpoint rising issues – this will refine the model as the team moves along in its implementation.
- Each stage that takes the building project from a conceptual phase to the production of a model is discussed by all involved – the architect, the client group, the stakeholders and the ‘laypeople’ when needed – and when consensus is reached, it is materialized into a model. The process of making a model is hence far from involving the architect alone, in fact, Mathew Lloyd says that ‘a great building must have a great client – it is a collaborative process’. This interaction between architect and client is what makes a model solid; by discussing and talking in a ‘common language’, each party can bring in its different ideas, perspectives and expertise into the project and turn these into a successful endeavor for all. This point is especially relevant with social media. A social media project needs everyone in the company to be involved, not just the manager or IT department. Social media, in order to be fully optimized on, needs to infiltrate the DNA of the company, thus excluding no one. The participation of all is what makes a social media project successful – it needs the input of marketers as much as the one of IT people, and of managers as much as administrators, among many more.
Thus, the development of a social media implementation model follows the same logic that an architect goes through when developing a model for a building. By following a gradual step-by-step process using a common language and the involvement of everyone in the company, social media can turn into a successful and sustainable asset for the company.
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