Social Media Club Chennai: Presentation by Mr.Sukumar Rajagopal

Social Media Club in Chennai hosted their second session on Social Media with a brilliant presentation by Mr. Sukumar Rajagopal on "Can Social Media Cross the Chasm". While Sandeep covered the session succinctly in his blog, I shall cover some of the other topics which were discussed and also share some of my thoughts on the presentation.

First of all, It was so refreshing to hear an Indian experience in Social Media. I could not help but contrasting it with one of my favorite FastCompany's brilliant article on Cisco Corporation where Steve Chambers narrates his experiences in social networking and his ideas of socialist leadership in sync with the networked world we are now living in. While Chambers addressed how businesses need to be ".. an idea engine where leadership emerges organically, unfettered by a chain command" , Mr. Sukumar stressed the need for social media to complement the traditional organizational hierarchy to empower the employees, leading to better engagement. He also cheekily mentioned how he designed his social media policy, inspired by IBM's which fostered Open Culture to allow participation and create value. 

While he began to discuss performance management for participation in community activities, an interesting debate followed over whether it was necessary to include one's performance in these communities to the regular appraisal system. While Mr. Sukumar added how employees are rewarded with small goodies for their contributions, he strongly felt the need to not include such activities in the appraisal system, as it would debase such activities, perfunctorily done for the sake of appraisal. He further quoted Dan Pink, whose latest book on motivation urges managers to shun with the conventional Carrot & Stick approach we are so familiar with. He later presented Social Media as a case in Change Management using Geoffrey Moore's Chasm Curve. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion on several aspects of Social Media including the possibility of SMS as a potential medium for leveraging the power of the Social Media.