How Social Communication Can Work Against Your Company – and What You Can Do About It

There’s a controversy going on about Facebook’s role in the presidential election regarding the amount of influence it had on voters. One of the primary accusations, as reported by The New York Times, is that it was used to spread misinformation and fake news stories about the candidates, therefore influencing the vote count. With 62% of U.S. voters getting news on social media, this is an important and concerning point. Facebook denies having undue influence, but with 1.8 billion users who can add content, it’s got to be very difficult for them – or any large social network – to keep up with the bad actors.

This happens at your company too, albeit on a smaller scale. Whether you’re using email, Facebook, Instagram or some other means of digital communications, the ease of use makes bad news and rumors spread faster than ever before. This makes it very important that your company gets out messaging on a regular schedule reaching those same employees.

One of the dangers of not communicating enough are “filter bubbles,” which happen when employees (or voters) interact with the same people all the time. They tend to reinforce each others’ viewpoints, keeping out new information. Some people think that these bubbles played a part in the election process, which they may have, and I’m sure this happens every day with companies’ employees.

The cure for this is a very straightforward two-part process. First, find out what’s actually being said, especially if it’s incorrect information or gossip. This can be done in any number of ways, such as creating a corpcomm email “info box” where employees can send questions and get straight answers. Sending out quarterly surveys using online tools like SurveyMonkey also works great for collecting information (make sure it’s anonymous).

Secondly, generate constant and regular communication of the facts. This can be done via email and your regular communications channels. Digital signage is a great way to do this as it bypasses the employees’ social networks and filters to reach employees without company email addresses.

Frank Kenna III
November 16, 2016

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