He provided an interesting view on how people identify for or against certain policies and worldviews, how bad humans are at accessing risks, and illustrated how it was possible to for someone to move from a position of 'this is new and different' to 'It will kill me' in less than ten steps.
He discussed how this type of powerful fear can dramatically influence how willing people are to consider new ideas, accept change or adopt new approaches, as well as how it distorts risk management processes, greatly exaggerating the risks of the 'new and different' and underrating the risks of the 'tried and true'.
One of his points was that the resistance to the use of social media may be due to a fear of death.
Here's an example of how a typical thought process for a senior official in a government agency might go...
- Social media channels are new and different
- I don't understand these channels well enough to understand the risks and pitfalls
- As I don't understand the risks and pitfalls, I could make mistakes, or allow mistakes to be made
- Mistakes could embarrass or diminish the reputation of the agency or the Minister
- If the agency or Minister are negatively impacted by use of social media in my area, I will be held responsible
- If I am held responsible for a social media mistake I will lose the respect of my manager and confidence of my agency and Minister
- If I lose the respect and confidence of my manager, agency and Minister, I could lose my job
- If I lose my job I could lose my house, family and friends
- If I am left homeless and friendless, I am likely to die.
- Therefore, if I use or allow the use of social media channels I am likely to die.
What do you think - is this a far-fetched or realistic explanation for fear of social media?
And what is really at the root of this fear?
By the way - I also presented at the forum (not on as dramatic a topic) and you can see my presentation on Slideshare here.