You never hear the words "pope" and "change agent" in the same sentence, until this week with the election of Pope Francis. And, it really got me thinking, "Can one man really exhibit change in a huge organization like the Catholic Church?" Of course, time will tell, but there are many in the media and at the grassroots who are hopeful that change will happen.
If you think about it, all of us are really like this new pope. How? One of the toughest jobs in advocacy is trying to exhibit change from within an organization. For us Social Media Evangelists, the toughest crowd to convince about social media are our own professional colleagues - right DocForeman? I mean, it's easy to be a speaker at a national meeting where I am "preaching to the choir." A lot of social media is about being in your own echo chamber where the people you're speaking to already buy into your ideas.
The real challenge, which sometimes makes you controversial, is to talk negatively about your own tribe in an attempt to exhibit change. This happened to me earlier this week when I wrote a previous post, in which I made less than positive comments about my own community. When you tell people what they want to hear, there are lots of twitter retweets, facebook share, blog comments, and e-mail messages. With my post, there was very little of that. The echo chamber didn't like it, and the silence was deafening.
I wish all the best to the new pope as he starts his new job. The toughest job in social media (as well as any change agent) is to take on your own community and your own tribe, to reform from within. It's not pretty and usually messy. But, if done right, your vision for change will come true.