Technological Damnation 81: Social Media

While there may be a dirty dozen of risk categories that we need to address in order to adequately address the Procurement Damnation we have willingly placed ourselves in as we try to collectively forge a new frontier, the largest category of risk that we need to address is that of Technology. Almost one fifth of all damnations that plague us fall into the technology category. Mobility, e-Currency, and Social Media are just the tip of the technology iceberg.

However, social media might be the most damning of all. Besides the obvious facts that we collectively as a society waste enough time on a single video to double the size of Wikipedia (Source), that social media is literally making us stupid (Source), and that every marketer and their dog is doing their best to convince you that your company has to be on every social network in existence (including the dozen that are literally here today and gone tomorrow as Facebook and Twitter have pretty much won the social media war in the English speaking world for the time being), there is the simple fact that social media takes more than it gives.

Social Media is called social media for a reason. It was designed for people to be social with each other, not for businesses to sell wares to consumers, certainly not for businesses to sell goods to each other, and definitely not for businesses to conduct important, strategic, operations. But yet you are constantly bombarded with requests from marketing for information about your supply chain efficiency, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or other operations and practices that can be used to boost corporate image, brand reputation, or product differentiation on these outlets. You’re working hard to define and implement proper category management techniques on dozens of strategic and high-value categories but all marketing cares about is which supplier will get the organization the most free press, whether the “in vogue” corporate social responsibility practice of the day is getting enough attention, or if the new product being sourced will have enough bell-and-whistle features to allow for one dozen unique messages for each social media channel of interest. Is it insane or is it inane? Or is it both?

And then, to make matters worse, rather than use your supplier portal, your suppliers want to message you on the social network they are signed into 24/7, your partners are checking the never updated Facebook company page instead of the official contact directory, and eliminated vendors keep messaging your organization’s Facebook and Twitter accounts asking marketing why they are no longer being considered, rather than read the detailed explanation in the vendor management portal you provided them.

Where Procurement is concerned, social media is a menace that puts poor old Dennis to shame. And now even the “don’t be evil” Google, as per yesterday’s post on who wins and loses in the Twitter/Google deal, is going to index the biggest trove of inanity that exists on the internet. When will the chaos cease?