An excerpt from a Crowdsourced book on Social Tech which I’m contributing to.  The book is called Enterprise Social Technologies.. Chapter 7// Step Six – Integration with Sales.  (Btw, I understand that the author is now “getting some of the chapters back from the crowd and they are REALLY good… This book is going to rock.”)

The question then becomes, What is the corporate voice?  What best captures the spirit and essence of the organization?  Some companies use Meme’s like the Geico gecko.  Some use the CEO, like Zappos.  Others take a more traditional, albeit more Social, marketing and PR voice (e.g. Dell, H&M, Whole Foods, JetBlue).  Sadly, many more are silent, apparently either paralyzed like deer in the mesmerizing headlight of a thundering train, or worse, suffering from that nasty corporate disease with symptoms like arrogance, stubbornness, complacency, and greed – with a little fear.  Or both.

The problem with the health insurance industry

To be sure – I’m not perfect (too much debt, not enough savings, and battle daily a family curse of judgmental-ism (not that I’m making excuses).  MY SOLE OBJECTIVE with the following content is to perhaps give industry folks a wake-up call.  I will be curious on your take, so please don’t lurk and then Comment elsewhere….

It seems clear that the world is starting to see through our collective BS.  We can’t hide behind corporate-speak any longer.  “Oh, we’re a very conservative industry, filled with angry regulators.  We can’t do all that Social stuff….”  We must engage, become transparent, be humble, confess the issues mentioned above, and turn toward a more transparent culture.  If we don’t, it’s just a matter of time before the social Web takes us to task and potentially ruins us.  As I’ve heard many times before, we can either deal with our ‘sins’ privately in a proactive manner… Or we will be forced to deal with them publicly in a reactive situation.  The choice is ours.

Matter of fact, I’ll go a step further with the possibly bold statement that might create the firestorm.  This all might have just happened. The thought has occurred to me, and I might be out in left field, that the reason the health insurance industry just took what might possibly be a death-blow (at least on the major medical side of the business…lot of opportunity elsewhere)… might just be… because they did not have a voice, did not manage their online reputations either collectively or individually, and were thus were a sitting duck in a deadly world of viral information, gross misunderstanding of a very technical industry, and heated debate on two extremely sensitive subjects – health and money.

Think about it… With a few exceptions, many health insurance companies were (and still are) relatively ‘silent’ online wrt Healthcare Reform.  At best, they issued long and boring White Papers or Press Releases, often too late to have maximum impact, often watered-down with a lot of marketing/legal/compliance corporate speak, and often with little to no Social aspects to them – no Video, no ShareThis, no Comments, etc..  Thus, like McCain in the election, they appeared symptomatic as described above in blue to the public and were stomped on by an aggressive and hostile Social Media machine.  The public in turn did not engage with enough heat on their representatives to change their minds.  Although many will say, “The problem is that the Feds didn’t LISTEN to the public.  THEY were the ones that were arrogant and greedy – arrogant in that ‘We know better’ and greedy for power.”   True – I agree.  But perhaps if the insurance companies had been more transparent to begin with, the whole CF would not have started or might have been defused before it cost many their jobs and in some cases, their companies?  In the final analysis, we’re trying to solve a problem that has been created by lack of information in the hands of the consumer – how much do health-related services and drugs cost, how can I shop around, what are the financial impacts of my personal choices, etc.  If we had had good transparency instead of what is perceived as the silent treatment…

I dunno – like I said, I might be out in left field.  Am I?  Please Comment below.

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So, on a lighter note, I got to shoot my first MLS game a couple weeks ago.  Major League Soccer, YT on the sidelines doin’ my thing!!!!… Hilarious really.

See all the pics here. (Short-cuts to highlights in color at the top.)

There were a couple US World Cup Team Players on the field!  Too Cool!