Cut the hype

7 Feb

Liam FitzPatrick’s analysis of the impact of blogs on internal communications (in the current issue of the CIPR’s Profile magazine) is sobering. He thinks the impact has been limited to date:

But [he writes] I think the interesting change will come in management attitudes to message control – internal communications is often the last refuge of totalitarian censorship.

It’s a frank admission for an internal comms specialist to make, and a good question to ask whether managers will be prepared to pay more than lip service to open debate.

3 Responses to “Cut the hype”

  1. Heather Yaxley 07/02/2007 at 5:54 pm #

    Good question – but I think we can already guess the answer. But whether they like it or not, management will ultimately need to recognise that they can no longer “command and control” media channels. However, they never really did stop employees speaking their mind – even if honesty only occurred at home or in the pub. Today, there are plenty of opportunities online. Of course, the response will be to have policies preventing employees blogging externally, and internal channels can be sanitised. But any enlightened organisation would realise this is a chance to gain insight and engage in some genuine two-way symmetric communications. Let’s hope we can champion those who see the light.

  2. Simon Collister 07/02/2007 at 6:05 pm #

    Call me cynical but is anyone else a bit fed up of seeing half-page articles in Profile alternately telling us “technology will change PR” followed by “Technology won’t change PR”.
    I appreciate some CIPR members are at the social media coal-face more than others but these articles are more sobering re. the CIPR than anything else!
    The only half-decent one was Justin Patten’s in the last issue. Tell I’m having a long day?

  3. Liam 23/02/2007 at 4:39 pm #

    Glad that Simon agrees with me!
    My point was that you can’t move in the world of Internal Communications at the moment for people jumping up and down getting excited about Second Life, Web 2.0 etc etc. But its the same stuff being said by the same people at different conferences over and over again. But they were doing the same five years ago about intranets and were probably doing it when the first caveman daubed a red deer on the wall.
    But unless the technology is accompanied by a mindset change on behalf of managers the technology will stand idle.
    Which touches on Heather’s point – do you think people in power will ever realise that you can’t stop people talking? And do you think they’ll ever stop trying to control the message? Wasn’t that the sort of behaviour that led to the 100 Year’s war?
    Liam

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