Surface Tension Theory – Applied to Social Media Participation : Mindfire Solutions

Surface Tension Theory: Does it applies to Software companies too?
Surface Tension Theory: Does it apply to IT companies?

I never looked at these water creatures so keenly. But of late, some events around me, at my work place and more generically, at the workplaces in India, made me think. These insects walk on water and never wet their feet. because of inter-molecular cohesive forces which water molecules exert on one another which help them stay closer and not get separated, so tiny insects take advantage of that and walk.. as if they are walking on any other hard surface.

In Physics, in Intermediate classes, we had read the concept of Surface Tension where in when a glass of water is just full and is till the brim and a water drop is slowly put on top of it. Water swells over the brim but does not spill at once. It is amazing that at that point, the surface molecules of water are under such pressure from peer molecules. The molecule which is most active wants to break free from the lot and drip out. It is just that the comparatively less active pull it back and draw its energy. The active molecule then loses its energy and someone else becomes active after an instant and wants to break free. Now the same thing happens and other molecules do not let it escape.

All that is needed at this time is a guided gentle tap on the table where the glass rests and that force of cohesion is broken. Water flows seamless and then the molecules which fall off attract other molecules from the filled glass and flow down, till the next equilibrium level when another push might be needed.

Something similar happens in Social media participation of any upstart or established player in the IT Services sector.

When an organisation begins, a typical software company, it all starts with a project and a few developers and one or more of them managing the show by selling off the project, getting a new client and then releasing the project. As the first success comes in, they try replicating the success and then the third project comes in and fourth and fifth..With this one thing always happens, as in any company which is growing. People never are free. The moment people are free, they are allocated to a new project. There is no room to spend time for innovating. If there is a invention already, time to re-use the same. Why re-invent the wheel when it already exists!

Well said. The company grows and acquires bigger clients, hires more employees and then to replicate success, it understands that it needs documentation and suddenly the process improvement comes in for greater bottomline with a near constant topline. The company excels in that. Then the spoilsport internet medium comes in. Success is no longer believed only from your balance sheets or cash flow statements. Success is measured through what people say. The people. Your stakeholders. Your clients. Your employees. Suddenly the internet as a medium lays across a common platform where all stakeholders can meet openly without your or your company’s supervision. There is a risk. What if business critical information is passed unknowingly by someone new in the organisation to someone. What if legal information, internal information leaks out. What if competitors see your clients, your pricing, poach your employees. You start getting worried.

And when you are worried. You do one thing. You do wrong!

You shun Social Media. You block Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious and the like.

You send out messages in your Bulletin boards that employees should not be using proxies to access Social media. And they dont.

You get pushed behind by a decade or so!!!!

Social Media is a boon. Whether you accept it or not accept it. It is here to stay. It is free. It is easily accessible. And it is anonymous at times. This makes it such a powerful thing that it can even impact the direction and ultimately the fate of the organisation you are running. The quicker an organisation understands this and acts on a comprehensive Social media strategy, the better for it. Let us face it. If you dont do it, someone else will. And you would never like it when someone, your competitor, does it, does it well and takes away that piece of market share from you.

If you stop people from Social media participation, people anyways will find out ways to participate if they want to. they might blog on weekends, they might tweet from their cellphones and they might participate in linkedin discussions anyways. Rather than thinking that Social Media as a tool is bad, let Social Media be a tool to identify where the organisation is doing wrong or where the organisation can improve its image. Ask people. Ask them to open up. Let them share their knowledge. Let them share their thoughts. It is their world. Tutor them, mentor them, guide them but dont force them. If you as an organisation are doing it right, you will have all of your employees as your positive spokespersons. Imagine having 5000 employees each sending out 10 tweet per day which adds up to 1.5 million positive statements about your company into the closely networked world. You would not want to miss out on that! Wake up, rub off that whiteboard clean now that I believe you understand that it is time to get a Social Media Strategy right.

Let this be the gentle guided tap on the table to break off that Surface Tension of Social Media Acceptance. Happy Twittering!



Mindfire Solutions


2 thoughts on “Surface Tension Theory – Applied to Social Media Participation : Mindfire Solutions

  1. Fantastic piece !!!.

    Generally, “Management” of organisation is slave to fear psychosis in two ways – First blocking innovation and tools of new social media and then hilariously investing too much into corporate communications and branding. How could one promote communication and improve branding when means of communications are “officially banned”. Great that organisations as Mindfire pioneer in fresh waters.


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