It usually starts with "how can I keep control of [you fill the blank here]?" You can't, you won't, change is inevitable, even for your spouse, your brand, your job, your life. So, now that we've gotten than out of the way, let's talk about how you can be part of the conversation; the one about your brand, your relationships, your job, and your life.
Be active, participate, be present so you can flow with it. Lest I forget to mention it, it's not enough to define yourself as a change agent to be one, you may actually need to do the change. There are a couple of terrific posts about social media that address the question that comes from narrative fallacy, if I may borrow Taleb's term, that very illusion that says you are in control.
Wendy Piersall writes the first post in a series that addresses how can you keep control of your brand with a blog and social media? My slight contribution to her short answer is that you never controlled the conversation, you only thought you did because consumers did not talk back. We haven't changed *that* much in a few years. Social media just liberated that part for more people and voices to be included actively. Wendy ends her first post of the series with a juicy bit:
In the end, a strong brand and a strong business will either engage their audience with blogs and social media, or they will be left behind.
Geoff Livingston talks about how fear kills social media efforts. The biggest fear is indeed the fear of personal (of the business and its people) change. My comment to his riff about lawyers is worth repeating here -- we've forgotten that lawyers exist to serve the business, not the other way around. Time to remember and act that way. Geoff's payoff line:
"How can I keep control?" is the wrong question. People are more assertive than ever in declaring they want control over *their* lives. Yet, in a counter intuitive move, you have a secret ally -- choices. There are too many choices out there, including whether to be open to social media or not. What people really need help with is in deciding if we're going to go with your brand or not -- are they going to trust you, stick around and tell you what they think? How are they going to do that if you won't let them in?
The right question is how can I let people see as much as possible (and practical) of what's going on so they can choose for themselves? If you've ever walked by the ABC studios in Times Square you know what I mean -- it's mesmerizing, inspiring, awesome and special to feel like you're part of it. So why wait until the very end? The theater today is in the making, as it has always been.