Smashing the Silos with Social Media

Smashing Silos

Our world is made up of silos.

People seem to instinctively create barriers around what they feel is their territory and so a silo is formed. Many people also feel the need to classify everyone and everything mentally tossing it into the bucket or silo where they think the person, thing or idea belongs.

Whether due to demonstrating personal power or simply for mental convenience, our instinctive urge to build a silo, or pop everything and everyone into one, inhibits both communication and performance.

And both of these actions divide us.

Silos inside companies, between companies, silos of nation, of class, of race, of religion, of politics and of sex have led us to today’s uneasy stalemate of apathy and inertia.

Living among these silos and allowing them to instantaneously limit our thoughts and actions as well as our perceived ability to create any change has in itself become a self fulfilling prophecy.

By so suppressing our urge to speak and the belief that anyone is listening, these silos have also effectively taken away our voice.

Social media gives us back our voice.

As employees, consumers and citizens the first thing we must do with this emerging communications ability is break down the silos.

Smashing the silos inside and between companies and interacting dynamically with employees, customers and suppliers with a single focus on goals through social media will determine which companies will thrive in the future verus those that will die along with the siloized past.

Effective communication mobilized into action is the key capability that has gone missing in our world and this competence can now be restored utilizing social media as the catalyst for change.

Jeff Ashcroft

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11 thoughts on “Smashing the Silos with Social Media

  1. Social media is a tool for silo busting, and the implications of use may threaten silo…but silos develop out of certain realities and until those are addressed, working around the problem does not solve it. I’m a strong believer in the power of social media to transcend barriers,. I believe even more strongly in dealing with root causes. Trapped in silos? Use your network to explore and develop alternatives that can replace dysfunction with effective collaboration for demonstrable outcomes.

  2. Social Media is a catalyst for change. I love how it gives a voice to those previously unable to afford to get their message out to the masses.

    In all of this silo busting, people can speak out about businesses, products and their peers. It’s important for people to understand the responsibilities of their opinions and it’s also important for those reading the opinions to make sure they get a well-rounded picture.

    Ultimately, Social Media moves us towards thinking for ourselves. I like that.

  3. What a great, clear, and concise essay. Exactly, now is the time to break out of those silos of isolation. The transparency, authenticity, and relevancy that SoMe allows is beyond our wildest dreams.

    Of course there will be those who will seek to put people back into their silos.

  4. And perhaps Social Media has created new silos:
    Silos of users versus non-users. Silos of old media versus new media. Silos of class (yes class. Those with no access to technology cannot take advantage of social media). Silos of personal versus professional branding. And the list goes on…

    Although we have seen the incredible positive impact SM has had for causes, corporations, and personal promotion, it is still very much a space of limited understanding. I would be hesitant to say that SM will be THE catalyst for change, but perhaps a contributor in it.

    Great post Jeff. Definitely one to discuss in further detail.

  5. Our world is filled with silos and many companies operate with silos that keep people a part. While social media offers an opportunity for people to express themselves, be brand ambassadors for their cause or company and connect with others, it may not smash the silos. Social media may help by creating a free flow exchange of ideas. To smash the silos though, it takes an organizational culture shift caused by a major opportunity or more likely a major threat.

  6. So this is very strange. We must be tuned in to the same mental frequency, or however you want to put it. I wrote this on the 24th without having read your excellent post http://bv-url.com/unsilo.

    Your “smash” is my “un-silo”, but either way we’re both hitting on the same idea. Your post encompasses far more–to me, you’re speaking about the democratization of the web…no, the planet, via social media. Good on you.

  7. Social media applications are communication tools, nothing more. More efficient with each generation, but no more effective if people fail to use them wisely.

    People are quick to express their disappointment with the products and performance of other organizations that are not their own. In fact, they invest a great deal of time writing numerous, lengthy and often critical online reviews. Yet many of the same people lack the courage and confidence to voice their opinions and offer alternatives at their place of employment.

    Their brazen consumer personas act with impunity. That has forced a dramatic shift in the way businesses deal with their customers. In contrast, their employee personas are risk averse and very unlikely to rock the boat.

    Yes, social media tools aid communication and change, but only when we have the courage to speak up.

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