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@Eric - even a pilot program should have a reason for existing. How do you know if you succeeded without a plan, baseline, and metrics? Good example and comparison.

@Patrick - if social media is to move beyond the hype, it needs some rigor, just like the rest of the business functions. As you point out, it suffers a little bit from lack of planning and the reactive nature of the disciplines that are, how shall we put it, undisciplined.

@Kevin - it is hardly time to throw down a set of rules, and success often comes from trying a combination of things even with regular marketing.

@Brian - we'll need to start somewhere. And I have met some managers who had their heart and priorities in the right place, which is good news.

@Ike - would Pilots not need to eventually inform a plan? In my experience, which I'm ready to admit is not universal, Pilots are not explicitly set up with an intent to learn, measure, figure out what works... unless there is that kind of oversight and willingness to kill something that is not working, they're more free-wheeling.

Valeria --

I don't know that a corporation's "pilot projects" should be subjected to the same scrutiny. Yes, you ought to be measuring, and you ought to have an idea what you're going to do, but the Pilots typically are designed to either answer questions about HOW these techs can be implemented and potentially sustainable; and maybe to discover previously unknown opportunities or side benefits.

I wonder how much the results would change if we segregated out the explicit Pilot Projects from the freelancing cowboys?

Managers manage. They command and control and, in the end, they get by.

Leaders lead. They trust, inspire, and excel.

Managers see everyone raving about social media and feel they need to get into the game, lest they lose control. Control is important to managers.

Leaders, on the other hand, are raving about social media because they know their organizations are NOTHING without their customers, that what they make/offer is not nearly as important as HOW they make/offer it, and they can clearly see being social on even terms with the market makes it easier than ever before to serve.

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