The Hierarchy of Social Media

Hierarchy of Social Media

Not too long ago, I was at a networking event with a great mix of professionals. Many students and senior level executives in the communications industry filled the room and provided some great conversation. I am neither a student nor an executive but I was there because meeting new people is what I do. This event did not disappoint as I made great connections, but one interaction stood out to me.

I introduced myself to a high level executive to thank him because my Tweet Drive campaign had worked with his company in the past. Before I could say my name, I received a look that said “Who the heck are you?”

I’m not the greatest young professional in the world, but I’ve met and befriended a number of high level professionals and have NEVER been greeted with such a reaction. As I still went through the conversation and thanked him, he realized he had made a mistake and changed his tune, but that really didn’t matter at that point.

This story leads me to ask a bigger question:

How should executives in the communications industry treat younger professionals in and outside of their company?

In house:

While a chain of command and leadership is important to the functionality of a team, gone are the days where the c-suite executives are separated from the rest of the team. Where innovation and swiftness is an integral part of any communications team, a team must run in a flat-line rather than a slope.

Creativity and new ideas should be fostered from top to bottom and employees cannot expand their minds or their roles when restricted by hierarchy and a feeling where their best ideas can’t flourish to the top.

Obviously, those at the top of the food chain must assume leadership at all times, but that leadership can translate into team drinks or just lunch discussions. A little transparency goes a long way and if a team wants to excel in social, shouldn’t the leaders be social as well?

Young, talented professionals in Social don’t thrive working for titles, they thrive while working for mentors.

Out in the world:

In a world where companies no longer just need people that can follow orders, but also create new ideas and initiatives, fresh perspectives are at a premium. With this in mind, executives have taken a transparent approach not only to represent their company, but to find talent at all levels.

An executive in today’s world is best suited to interact openly with professionals of all ages and experiences because the amount of new ideas and perspectives within that demographic are undeniably important to any company’s future. All good executives should know this, and for any communications executive, this should be second nature.

The nature of high-level leadership and the way that they interact with others has changed, yet not all of them seem to understand that their impressions matter just as much as anyone. In the work place especially, the only way for a company to stay swift is not operate in a slope, but a flat line.

Social media is built on innovation and new ways of communicating – this nature is essential to any company’s future.



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  1. Great post Harrison. I couldn’t agree more with you. Restrictions formed by hierarchy become barriers to achievement, the silo approach to organisations fosters this problem.

    I also find the same thing can happen with a simple job title. Depending on the company, a job title comes with a remit and boundaries and can end up forming the barriers again.

    Nordstrum is a great example of a reverse hierarchy, where the pyramid is inverted, the CEO, senior management are at the bottom, providing support – while at the top are the decision makers – the sales force. Empowered to make smart decisions!

    I’m a big fan of talent and motivation, regardless of age and experience. We have to see past procurement and tick boxes if we are going to encourage new great thinkers to emerge and have the chance to succeed.

    A good idea is a good idea, whoever has it.

  2. You have a nice story Harrison. You know what? A professional person should not limit his own style to any other professionals for those professionals were born in another time and I believe that people who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.

  3. Hi Kenneth and Nick,

    Thank you for your feedback, I’m glad you liked the post!

    Nick – thanks for sharing the Nordstrom example… I didn’t know that’d how they ran, but that is really cool and hopefully eye-opening to other companies.

  4. Hi Harrison,

    Very well written and thought provoking post. The world around us has changed and if we all want to play the game then we must adapt to new ways of thinking. I certainly agree with you that the old ways of doing things are long dead, companies and people should be listening to new fresh ideas. That’s how we evolve as a society and move forward.

    This really made me think of “you have two and one month and you should use them in those proportions”. I know that coming from a coperate world, where a lot of readers have also come from there still can be a tendance to ignor what others have to say, who are deemed in the company eyes to below the management.

    Thanks once again for sharing Harrison.

    Tristram Lodge

  5. “Young, talented professionals in Social don’t thrive working for titles, they thrive while working for mentors.”

    Great quote!