Doc: “The only real social works are personal ones”

So says Doc Searls. I’ve been waiting for someone smarter than I to put into words my “issues” with social networks (Facebook, My Space, etc). The focus of this post is the effort by companies to use social networks for marketing.

“…today’s “social networks” look to me like yesterday’s online services. Remember AOL, Prodigy, Compuserve and the rest? Facebook to me is just AOL done right. Or done over, better. But it’s still a walled garden. It’s still somebody’s private space. Me, I’d rather take it outside, where the conversation is free and open to anybody.”

“…the thing companies need to do most is stop being all “strategic” about how their people communicate. Stop running all speech through official orifices. Some businesses have highly regulated speech, to be sure. Pharmaceuticals come to mind. But most companies would benefit from having their employees talk about what they do. Yet there are still too many companies where employees can’t say a damn thing without clearing it somehow. And in too many companies employees give up because the company’s communications policy is modeled on a fort, complete with firewalls that would put the average dictatorship to shame. If a company wants to get social, they should let their employees talk. And trust them.”

What he said. Truth be told, the company I work for has “highly regulated speech.” And no shortage of good reasons for it, but I agree (with Doc) that we would be stronger if our employees could “talk about what they do.” There’s more to the post than the graphs I pulled. Read it if you’re interested in social networks.

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