A recent tweet from Jay Rosen reminded me of another social media paradox.

Rosen’s tweet leads to a Yahoo! Finance job description that requires an interesting set of skills.

“We’re looking for a natural leader who isn’t afraid to get his or her hands dirty. He or she must see the big picture but also be detail-oriented.”

It sounds like a tall order, but only if you think of the traditional company — or in Yahoo! Finance’s case, the traditional news organization that’s not reacting to the impact of citizen journalism and social media. Start at the bottom of the traditional corporate hierarchy and consider how work is distributed. As you go up the hierarchy, the hand work decreases as the head work increases.

Social Media Scrimmage
Social media is a participatory sport. You have to get your hands dirty to understand it, much less use it to the benefit of your brand (personal/employer/client). But execs do not have scads of time to surf the web, following, liking and checking in. The reason why is obvious. But it means a change of focus when discussing social media in the c-suite.

Because this is the paradox: The various social media platforms, concepts and how they fit into a larger picture require participation to truly understand. But the execs required to bless social media projects usually do not have the time or inclination to participate in social media.

Try throwing out terms like organic and long tail to a CMO with a board of directors wondering how marketing is impacting the quarterly earnings.

Part of this is simply tailoring your message for your audience. But using the above paradox as a filter it’s much easier to discuss social media strategies in a way that will be more easily understood and supported.

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