Cisco Blogs

With Social Media, Cisco is listening, participating…and learning

March 24, 2009 - 7 Comments

The discussion and interest on Twitter about a recent hiring issue between Cisco and a candidate is a fascinating case study. For privacy reasons, we cannot comment on individual personnel matters or hiring decisions, but I would like to address, in general, our thoughts on social media, such as Twitter, and offer a different way to look at these great new collaborative tools. I personally think these tools are an amazing new form of expression and collaboration and as a company, we recognize the opportunity they offer and we encourage their use. It’s normal for people (and companies) to make some mistakes when they use something new and we should all learn from those mistakes. And, that’s my point: we all can learn from these tools together. They are new and very popular and not all people will know how they work or what impact they have or even who the audience may be – but we are all in this together.A common statement in the public relations world has always been “don’t say it unless you are comfortable with it being on the front page of a newspaper.” Now, with Twitter, the world is coming to understand something new: “don’t say it, unless you want it turned into a meme and hashtags and websites and videos, etc.” You obviously never know what is going to go viral, but it would be a shame if that fear kept people from communicating through these important new forums.Words are powerful and you have to be willing to stand behind those words or be ready to defend them. Maybe we all already knew this, but with Twitter and social media and new ways to communicate, maybe “re-learning” isn’t a bad thing.Please view our employee guidelines for social media and internet postings and let us know what you think. And, of course, please follow us on Twitter (@CiscoSystems). And more Cisco tweeters here.

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  1. Robin - a very fair comment. This kind of negative behavior that could happen in a virtual world, just as happens in the physical world.I just see the important connections made through forums such as LinkedIn and Facebook, which seems to indicate the possibility of a constructive outcome in social media outweighs the risk of a destructive result. Of course, this requires that we apply the same degree of integrity in these instances that we face to face.

  2. I think when it comes right down to it we're all glad that is wasn't us who popped out a tweet like that...imagine how tough it would be to take on all of that public ridicule? I doubt anyone will disagree about how powerful words really are - they follow you like the wind and you never know where they will be carried. The old adage 'watch what you say' (whether verbal or in print) could not have been better portrayed and I think this was a potent reminder.Thanks for your post...Robin -

  3. The comments are fascinating. I agree with Blair Christie - - when you look at LinkedIn and Facebook - - you realize that most people want to be professional. I especially have found LinkedIn connections to be more than willing to go out of their way to be helpful.When talking about communication today - I tell clients the internet has given new meaning, to all of us, that The emperor has no clothes""....Exciting to connect, quickly, w/people around the globe. But caution is the best policy when posting a personal comment. Just like a bell that has been rung - - you can't take back the words once they're in print or in a video."

  4. Robin - very fair comment. That kind of negative behavior could happen in a virtual world, just like it happens in the physical world. I've just seen great connections made through forums like LinkedIn and Facebook, that lead me to believe the opportunity for a constructive outcome in social media outweighs the potential for a destructive outcome. Of course, that assumes we apply the same degree of integrity in these forums that we do face to face.

  5. I'm not 100% sold on the notion of using technology to extend a reputation towards any direction. What is to prevent a jealous colleague from framing and purposely smearing their rival's name online?

  6. Joseph - thanks for your comment. Agree completely on your points around brand - which really just extends the notion of eputation"". Both companies AND individuals must be highly aware of the new forums that impact reputation and not be afraid to use them - just be aware!"

  7. Blair – this is a progressive view among major corporations, and I think that level of openness and willingness to learn is reflected in the way Cisco approaches social media. To your point about “re-learning”, I think Twitter, like other social media platforms, is another stark reminder of the new reality corporations face today around communications and the nature of stakeholder relationships. In addition to standing behind our words, we as communicators (and I mean that in the broadest sense) are being forced to rethink entirely notions of control and what defines a brand. As people become increasingly empowered and vocal through social media, the less they need to even interact with brands in order to form opinions or make decisions. That shifting dynamic presents big challenges but also exciting opportunities, and those companies open to constant learning in this new environment will have an edge regardless of what tools and platforms are currently making waves.