When Dee Hock introduced the world to chaordic theory in 1993, he also gave us an interesting way to think about the transition companies go through as they shift away from purely traditional forms of communications.
Chaordic theory essentially views chaos, order and control as existing on a continuum with each system characteristic overlapping the next in sequence. The intersection of chaos and order is what Hock calls the chaordic path – where the minimum amount of order is maintained that allows for the creativity inherent in chaos to be positively channeled. A gross oversimplification of course, but that gives you a sense of it. You can learn all about it here if interested further.
I’ve found that an awful lot of so-called social media specialists like to dazzle their clients with talk of the chaos of it all. (Official Notice: calling the blogosphere the ‘wild west’ has to be at least 4 years out of date.) And companies spend a lot of time lamenting the loss of control, or more accurately a loss of perceived control.
If you endeavour to earn a living counseling clients in social media, the real work ahead is not in explaining how twitter works or endlessly musing about the intricacies of the blogosphere. The real challenge is in helping them come to terms with the fact that their previous sense of controlling the message was simply an illusion and then working with them to introduce a level of order to their work in the space – one that allows them to embrace the perceived chaos and begin making the real change that is necessary for them to be relevant going forward.
In other words, your work is in helping them find their chaordic path.
Previously posted on carmanpirie.com