By Narinder Singh
The first time I went to a work party was the summer of 1995 at an extravagant gala Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) threw in San Francisco with thousands of employees. Slightly in awe, I was fascinated with meeting people and learning their stories. Like all opulent events, I met people who were incredibly interesting, made you feel interesting, and were the life of the party (the engager); obsessed with talking about themselves (the braggart); simply repeated what those in positions of power said (the echo); those who loved to surprise you (the shocker), and those who listened and absorbed but seldom participated (the wallflower).
In truth, all of us have parts of each of these personas inside us. For businesses, social media accelerates and amplifies those characteristics at an unprecedented rate and scale in a very public way. It creates the world’s biggest global gala and leaves many of the world’s most established companies trying to find their way and voice… just like each of us in our first jobs.
For example, Twitter usage shows that a few companies play the role of engager — making an entire community feel like they are part of a group that just clicks. Consumer brands like KLM, Tide, and Starbucks have gotten there and their twitter feeds feel like a hip conversation. Others, mostly B2B providers have struggled. Even brand names like Accenture and Goldman Sachs, have wrestled with the concept and risk looking overtly promotional or just absent from the party.