Do You Have Undue Reliance in Social Media?

Recently, LinkedIn made changes to its Groups feature.  

Needless to say, a lot of folks were caught unawares (Not blaming anyone LinkedIn doesn’t do a very good job of pre-announcing these things.) and a lot of good work by users of LinkedIn went right out the window.

Clients have been calling and emailing asking what to do and I don’t think the dust has settled enough for us to know exactly what the impact will be.

(Viveka Von Rosen and Bruce Johnston have done very good write-ups on the changes.  Click their names to read their work.)  

One thing I realized very early on in this donnybrook was that many people have undue reliance on either a social media tool or a feature of such a tool.

Which has led me to the question that this article is based on:

Are you too reliant on either one social media tool or one of its features?

What does undue reliance look like?

Do you use one social media tool or one of its features exclusively for a critical part of your social media program?

Do you lack a backup of critical data contained in one social media tool that you rely on?

Do you have a contingency plan in place for a critical social media tool or one of its features?

If you recognize yourself in one or more of these questions then you have undue reliance in social media!

(Don’t be embarrassed, you have plenty of company!)

OK, great, I’ve identified a problem!

Now, what do we do about it?

It’s difficult to replace one of the Big Three (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) in their entirety if they were to go away.

They probably won’t go away as much as change a key feature like LinkedIn did with Groups.

The first thing you need to do is to sit down and do a hard look on how you use social media and identify these points of over reliance.

Once you have these critical few identified then you have to develop a contingency plan for each one.

This can be done in one of two ways.

One way is to try and identify another social media tool that could fill the gap.

(Be careful here, don’t create another undue reliance situation.)

Another way to lay off risk is to develop alternatives around assets that you own such as blogs (including forums), websites, and email lists.

Owning your own solution is probably the best way to avoid these disruptive situations.

Remember to plan this out in advance before the problem arises and it will arise!

Think through what the worst case scenario would be.

And really plan through how you would replace that lost functionality.

Change is the only constant that we face in the business world and with social media.

Tools that seem unstoppable today can go away tomorrow.

(MySpace anyone?)

The Big Three are always tweaking and changing their products.

They won’t stop!

Always keep thinking about what you would do if those changes were to affect you!

Don’t forget to reach out to others who have been through this before and get their insights or their assistance!

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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