Chaordic design and social media

A comment earlier in the week from Mark got me thinking. In response to this post, Mark said:

Interesting point about control. To be honest, I see things like this within a company as much as between company and customer.

For some time, I’ve increasingly felt that there is an intersection between the work I do within companies, and the work I do between companies and customers. Often times it is difficult to concisely describe this intersection, but it’s there, I think.

The Art of Hosting works a lot with Dee Hock’s chaordic approach to organization. Essentially, ‘chaordic’ is the term used to reference that space at the intersection of chaos and order within organizations where the creativity and innovation of chaos is met with enough order to give pattern to the organization. Hey, it seems to have worked for Visa.

Finding the chaordic path within any organization requires that the company leadership dispense with illusions of control. Interestingly, for a company to successfully engage in social media also requires them to give up illusions of control in favor of a propensity to converse. More than simply recognizing that you don’t have to control the conversation to benefit from it, companies must realize that they cannot control the conversation anymore. Full stop. They can, however, work to gain ‘conversation share’, and perhaps earn the right over time to nudge the conversation by helping to improve it.

Previously posted on

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