This week at our local Third Tuesday meetup, I heard Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter talk about the different ways to manage corporate social media activities.
What struck me were the terrible names that some companies were coming up with for these departments, such as “command center” or “war room.” Owyang’s suggestion was Center of Excellence, an improvement over military-style names, true, but it made me yawn.
Thirty years ago, when Tom Peters rocked the business world with “In Search of Excellence,” “excellence” rocketed to the top of the word parade. Three decades later, with another world-rocking phenomenon, can’t we come up with a name that’s shiny and new?
Names are important. Given that social media is all about being social and connecting, can’t we come up with something more personal and fun?
To help all the companies that are grappling with this quandary, allow me to toss out a few suggestions. As when I named my babies, I considered nasty ways the mean kids could twist the name.
Social media hubs
This complements the hub-and-spoke model that Altimeter’s research revealed is becoming the most popular structure. However, don’t forget that the hub approach forces air travelers to meander hub to hub before they reach their destination, so it’s probably not a good name. It suggests inconveniencing customers.
Because many social media functions involve multiple hubs and spokes, they resemble a simple machine. Besides, the guys who came up with the war names would be placated. On the other hand, Quebec folk might think of the biker outlaw group Rock Machine.
Owyang called one of the models “honeycomb,” which is mostly aspirational, as most companies haven’t yet evolved to that decentralized, individually empowered structure.
Given that social media is mostly handled by women, as Owyang confirmed, the name would go over well. To facilitate the rebranding from “command center,” the room could be candy floss pink. I’d better stop this decorating fantasy before I squander the day with decor porn. What’s more, sweet names and pink rooms might ghettoize social media.
It’s sweet like the previous name but connotes lots of activity. Only trouble is the many drones are guys and the one queen a female, the opposite of many social media departments.
Still, it has nice ring. No decorating fantasies come to mind, though the alpha crew could rename it the B team, which implies a second-rate status.
Because the hub-and-spoke model comes from wheel design, maybe this one would fly. It would remind the guys of the Hot Wheels toys they loved as kids, though the “hot” connotation may be uncomfortable for some women, though the energy implied works well.
This involves inverting the gender balance of the beehive, with lots of women in charge. Then again, too many queens and too few drones might lead to some nasty office politics. Or a lot of getting things done. Hmmm.
Enough musing from me. Do you like any of these suggestions? Do you have any to add? No worn-out military or management jargon, please.
A version of this article first appeared on Sticky Communication.