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Social Media Success: Promise, Tool, and Bargain

Clay Shirky – Here Comes Everybody

by David Zinger

I implore you. If you plan to use social media or Web 2.0 tools in your organization to foster or enhance employee engagement I implore you to read Clay Shirky’s book, Here Comes Everybody. Read the whole book but ensure you study Chapter 11: Promise, Tool, Bargain.

My social network experience. I founded and host the Employee Engagement Network. We have grown to 275 participants in 4 months. I wish I would have read this book before I began but I am glad I have read the book now and can apply the concepts and ideas to make a strong and more valuable network.

A primer in social media and Web 2.0. Social media is becoming increasingly popular and embraced by organizations and business. If you are not familiar with Social Media or Web 2.0 you need to be and as a brief starter I recommend you read the Wikipedia entries for each term.

Over 1700 social media sites. A recent comprehensive directory of social networking tools outlined over 1700 sites from 1K to Zypsy.

Adoption conundrums even for the keen. Even if you are keen in using or adopting social media it can be a daunting task. This brings me to Clay Shirky and his book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.

3 Lenses. Chapter 11 on Promise, Tool, Bargain was very helpful in providing 3 lenses to look at social media. These lenses occur in the sequence listed below: The bargain comes last, because it matters only if there is a promise and a set of tools that are already working together (P. 270).

Promise. The promise is the reason why we join or contribute to a group.

  • Do we believe in this social network?
  • Is there a desire to participate?
  • Does the promise offer higher value than other things we could be engaged in?
  • What is the actual lived promise of the group rather than the stated or explicit promise?
  • Will group members believe other people will also join and engage in this group?

Tool. The tool determines how the media will work.

  • Which tool or tools will help people make and keep their promise?
  • What are the best tools for the intention of the site or media?
  • Will the tool help people do what they want to do?
  • How do I choose the appropriate tool given the geometric growth of social media tools?
  • Does the tool help deliver on the promise?

Bargain. The bargain sets standards of behavior and norms for and by the group.

  • What bargain are we entering into if we join and participate?
  • What is expected of us and what is the code of conduct?
  • How do the users co-create the bargain of the group?
  • What can you expect of others and what can they expect of you in this group?
  • Do the users agree to the bargain and is it a lived interactive experience in the group?

Here is my promise. I promise if you create the right promise, work with the right tools, and co-create the right bargain with your social media group you will be well on your way to the successful adoption of social media and Web 2.0 approaches in your business or organization.

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