One of the challenges of bringing social media to any organisation is that it almost always contravenes existing processes for creating content.

Normally, an organisation that wants to create a video, write an article, publish a magazine, or produce a website, will commission the content from a team or a specialist agency.

The content is created, presented in ‘draft’ format, feedback given, edits made, a second presentation, then, maybe, the content is published.

The trouble is, using social media for proper engagement doesn’t accommodate this kind of process.

A web chat is live. A conversation on Twitter is live (or at least should be). Comments left on blogs and against images or film should be subject to little or no moderation. Blogs posts should be published by the individual, not committee.

This is a long way from the conventional publishing process. Live means occasional mistakes; typos, less-than-perfect grammar, pauses, technical glitches and so on. Someone I met from the BBC described this rather eloquently as ‘the mechanics of bearing in witness’.

She was referring to complaints from viewers about shaky camera footage in war zones, poor satellite connections or editorial mistakes in live coverage. However it got me thinking about similar feedback I have received on social reporting.

So why bother?

1. Mistakes and glitches help demonstrate authenticity in a way that can’t be easily emulated

2. Social media is a conversation; a genuine two-way discussion

3. Social media challenges the orchestrated, PR-led approach to delivering messages. In a world of live news, this can only be a good thing for organisations

Defend your social media. The mechanics of bearing in witness (mistakes and less than perfect quality) will bring far more credibility than slow, message-by-committee broadcast communications.