Digital leadership and social media: some thoughts

1 May 2015 By Digital Leadership Program: 30 Apr

Blog: LV's Digital Leadersghiop Progam - Day 1

Digital leadership and social media: some thoughts

‘Digital leadership’ is a strange term, almost undefinable due to its vagueness. How do you define one of those words, let alone both?

For starters, there is no linear way to be a digital leader. It doesn’t just mean that you have to write great LinkedIn articles, or be an expert in new-age Silicon Valley lingo. To lead is to move forward without precedence; it is fitting, then, that the definition of a digital leader should in fact be defined by what that leader chooses to do.

Speaker Michael Short, editor of The Age’s online ‘The Zone’ social awareness blog, said that good leaders should always ask, ‘Is this right?’ Leaders identify gaps and fill them, positively affecting the whole of society. The concept is about chasing something somebody else hasn’t got, finding the story that doesn’t get the luxury of a media release.

You could talk forever about the more lofty ideals of digital leadership, but it’s quite another thing to actually implement it. Speaker Elizabeth Bardwell, Telstra’s Social Media Manager, showed it is possible to lead enormous companies through digital change that is visible on all levels. Social media for a major telecommunications company is challenging enough, and harder still when efficient processes have not yet been developed. Bardwell made it clear that transparency and common sense are foundational tools essential for progress that, for the most part, stop worst-case scenarios from happening.

It’s not a perfect approach, but what is? When people are involved, we get the drawbacks of their weaknesses but also the benefits of their strengths. However, with proper training and communication, it is possible to eradicate or minimise people’s gaps in knowledge. If enterprising social media is about listening and responding to people, social media management is about making it easier for that exchange to happen, improving the experience for everyone involved.

Bio: Siobhan Argent is a communications professional. She has written for Eureka Report, Beat magazine, Crikey, Arts Hub, The Big Issue and Spook magazine, among others. You can follow her on Twitter @SiobhanArgent.