I am very passionate about social media. In fact, I am very passionate about being social. Long before Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter became ubiquitous, I was thinking about how better to connect people.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, is part of the United Nations Organization. I worked there for five years, originally hired to redesign the main website.
But with 4,000 employees, the agency had some issues. Issues related to communication. To morale. To the public, the IAEA presented itself as diverse and cordial organization; internally, it was anything but. There were many issues that people talked about around the water cooler.
I decided to do something about it. And I knew I would have to do it under cover.
Without the approval of my supervisors, I decided to use the tools I knew to shine the light on issues that had, until then, remained in the background.
To highlight issues like insincerity, honesty, and authenticity, I developed eye-grabbing posters, a website, and a blog—launching my “attack” during a weekend when no one would see what I was up to.
The posters drew people in; the website and blog sparked comments and discussions.
The whole campaign became a conversation piece, bringing people together in a more positive way (there were naysayers, but eventually they all came around), and we began to see our relationships and our organization in a better light.
To my surprise, the Director General—the agency’s top manager—issued a statement saying he had authorized the campaign!
Social media has come a long way since then, here is a 20 minute video of a Google+ Hangout demo I presented during the 2012 Social Media Summit at Penn State, but now you understand my passion for using social media to connect, to heal, and to move organizations and people forward.