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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tracey Holden-Quinn has developed and written content for communications plans and websites, social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogs. She is experienced with conducting needs analysis, establishing goals, recommending and scheduling tactics and strategies, and evaluating results.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Machiavelli's Thoughts on Social Media

I am reading a book called “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. One wonders why it's a national bestseller ( no mention of what nation) with laws like #13 - Pose as a friend, work as a spy, or Law 7 – Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit, and finally who could forget Law 21 -Play a sucker to catch a sucker - seem dumber than your mark. A sane person would not  buy the book after flipping through the table of contents, but it was recommended to me via the Facebook app - “I’m Reading”.

After I got past the baseness of the laws and lurid examples, I realized the content becomes most amusing when taken seriously. Believe it or not there are practical applications and pearls of wisdom in each law.

So what does this have to do with social media? Laws like #45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once. Greene used an example of ecclesiastical reforms in the early 1500’s, which of course included pillaring and bloodshed.

Greene astutely points out however, that “Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic and will lead to revolt....make a show of respecting old ways of doing things...which will make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.”

Words of wisdom for those of us in social media who spend a lot of time managing change and making sure our companies understand both the new tools and new relationships.

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things” – Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469-1527

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