I am with Mark Evans re: the state of social media in Canada

UPDATE:  I must say that I spent a few hours with one major Canadian corp the other day, and I was quite impressed at the work that they have been doing internally.  So, let me soften the stance I take below but maintain the sense of urgency.


Here is a real quote from a Canadian SVP with a brand that you know … “We are not adopting social media and if we were, that decision would be made in the U.S.”  Remarkably this comment was made in an email on an introduction thread initiated by an influential who is well connected to journalists.

What insights does this contain?

The SVP has no fear that the comment will reflect their lack of initiative, their knowledge, their lack of responsibility for the Canadian market – they perceive no threat.  Even if they think social media doesn’t matter and/or are sick of getting too many introductions to talk about social media … why put a comment like this in an easy to spread email to a hack & an entrepreneur who are both bloggers?

Perhaps some demographics at work in Canada that heighten the new digital divide?  Clearly there are very tightly bound social networks in pockets across Canada that make this guy feel safe and can stifle innovation. Even at this moment I am protecting the identity of this dude.  I would never steer an email into the wild or leak something.  That is how I roll, but I don’t think this exec is relying on my ethics.

Does the recession have something to do with it?   Americans’ more pronounced recession is forcing them to take risks with social media and they are finding that it is cost effective?  I don’t think so.

Does this reflect culture?  We are spending billions to cope with the recession & the most imagination that we can show is digging ditches building “infrastructure” & spending $1.4 million per job to save GM.

I agree with Andrew Jenkins – Social media is being completely integrated into marketing.  Marketing is being completely re-architected because of social media.

Brian Moffat’s comment is on to something when he says corporate social media needs to be removed from the hands of marketers in Canada.  I think that will depend on how we sell social media.

Global leaders are adopting Enterprise 2.0 right now.

Gov 2.0 is happening.

Predictions Markets are being put to work.

But Mark is right – Canadians welding power at the moment both corporately and in government are not leading or even fast following.

Our SVP working for a big American brand is not really the problem.  95% of the Canadian economy is driven by small business that has difficulty adopting to radical change like we have witnessed since broadband over took slower connections in 2004. That is the bigger issue.

How about a government tax break aimed at helping these businesses adapt and scale to the global opportunity instead of encouraging me to use my own money to paint my house?