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January 26, 2011


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Pamela Cargill

I am torn on this one because I believe that I was sacked for my insistence on promoting the company I worked for using new media strategies while the C-levels wanted direct mail and expensive PR tactics. The person who took my place ended up implementing the very tools, but not strategies, that I had argued for. In the end, social media outlets are tools, not strategies themselves. A lot of marketers are missing this important fact and just using Twitter or Facecbook as another method of releasing PR, not as a tool for engaging and delighting potential and past customers.

As for personal use of social media during work; smokers take frequent breaks... how is that any different from checking one's twitter feed once an hour?

Johnny Russo

Love this David.

I left a job for these exact reasons. Archaic enterprise who did not want to listen. Banned Twitter, as they did not think it was useful. Told us their strategy was working. Then 3 months after I left, they laid off 30 employees. They wanted employees who did what they were told, not employees who wanted to help.

Excellent post David.

David Meerman Scott

Pamela and Johnny -- Thanks! Keep the faith.


Thanks for the inspiration; you make great points about making changes in business. It's crazy to think that businesses still refuse to accept Social Media as legitimate communication tools. Amazingly enough it is like that with any new type of thinking, there are still so many companies that think they have all the answers and nobody else could possibly have a good idea, or a better way of doing things. I'm trying to build my own Inbound Marketing Firm, and I'm also an Inventor working on bringing some new products to the retail market. Crazy enough companies, especially large corporations are not quick to accept any type of new thinking. This is going to happen, and those that choose to approach their business and life with an open mind, and look clearly at the benefits new thinking provides will succeed. The rest will be left fighting to catch up. I'm all for becoming a change agent!

David Meerman Scott

Good luck with it Keith!

Chris Stone

David, this post is so timely it scares the crap out of me.

Living and owning a business in a small town (much like Gambier, OH in terms of size), I've found that, while I can't live with the status quo, everyone around me seems to be happier than a pig in slop with the way things have always been. And that's frustrating.

Thanks for writing this article. I plan to share it with many folks to hopefully be a catalyst for conversations.

David Meerman Scott

Glad that it helped Chris!


The path to becoming a change agent is full of risk. There's a lot of "asking forgiveness rather than permission" and it takes time to establish a reputation in this field. Therefore, it is wise to assess your comfort level with the risk (what's the worst case? will you survive losing your job? can you afford to strike out on your own?) before forging ahead (forgive the expression) balls to the wall.

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these days, you really need to always be ahead of your competition, and in order to achieve that, you have to take think outside the box and most the time you have to take risks and that is like embracing change.

Anne Sorensen

Hi David .. thanks for this. Perhaps we could adapt something Tom Peters said recently: "restate your major thesis 50 times in 50 ways in 50 minutes to up the odds of communication". He was talking about public presentations - but in advocating change, we could submit the business case with the evidence - in 50 different ways - on an ongoing basis. It takes a lot of energy though to change a mindset and culture.

I heard someone comment recently that if these companies don't adapt, they're going to have a tough time attracting younger staff in future.

Finally - as much as what you went through in 2002 would have been frustrating and unpleasant - the new door that opened - gave us all your great marketing books, and provided inspiration to many of us trying to make our way as solopreneurs.

Thanks so much David!


My biggest hesitation is stepping out and risking something, not sure if it my reputation or security, but I feel like something is holding me back from being that agent of change. I know to see change and success there is certain risks involved, hopefully more encouragement will get me there!

Mark Harai

Hi David - thanks for the inspiration today!

It takes courage to be an agent of change - and as you pointed out, it can be risky. If you're OK being lost in the crowd and mediocrity, so be it - there will always be sheep.

However, if you desire to be awesome, remarkable, or amazing - the only road that leads to this is being an agent of change ;)

Cheers to that David!

Steven Herron

As being one whose motto is "I don't know what I am not supposed to do" I am constantly amazed when I see people locked into behaviors that limit their, of their company's, success. I wrote about it after seeing a video post about a guy dancing on a hill all by himself. Within a short time, the man was joined by an entire mob. He was the change agent, which I refer to as an instigator. I have since changed my title to "Chief Instigator." I have included the link to my blog which has the video in it.

David Meerman Scott

Some great discussion here. Thanks.

Anne - While it was unpleasant at the time, I am glad I was fired in 2002.

I actually think complacency is the riskiest behavior of all. Change keeps us going forward,

Anne Sorensen

... and it's much more interesting! :)

Mark Nickerosn

Hey David,

Just got back from the Marketing Sherpa Email Conference - Good Stuff! Thanks!

Especially after seeing some of the cool stuff going on, I came back to my desk with this quandary staring me in the face. I work at a behemoth, so I am left with 2 options and I am working it now.

Thanks for the perspective!

Sean Carpenter

David - A great post. I'd hate to think that I or my fellow team members would ever be "looked down upon" for researching a new way of doing things regardless of where that research was taking place - Twitter, Facebook, library, bookstore, local restaurant, etc. I agree that we must break away from the status quo to find new levels of success and even new levels of risk. Thanks for challenging us to go beyond our borders.

Stephen Eugene Adams

David, Being an employer myself, I struggle with employee use of social media during the business day. Yes, we have sales and marketing personnel that this is an important part of their activities. I have other employees that should not be spending a lot of time in this area during the day. We all struggle with employee use of their cell phones, computers, and yes, the company phone in conducting personal business during the day. So, what I'm saying is that some rules on restricted activity are not bad in themselves. Almost all businesses need to be involved in the social media environment, just not all employees.

David Meerman Scott

Stephen, I hear you. But I think what we are talking about here is trust. If you trust employees, you should not monitor the length of their lunch hour, when they arrive in the morning, how many coffee or cigarette breaks they take and whatnot.

And the difference is that social media can be a tool for all people to communicate. That customer service rep who spends so much time on Twitter? She just might be communicating with customers.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts..



I work for a company which uses a commodity. This commodity is a food stuff which is then produced into other food stuffs. The raw 'product' comes in and the employees handle it. The computer system the company uses is Microsoft based. After a little poking about online I discovered that the cost of using Microsoft based computing is outrageous. I've been using Debian and Ubuntu Linux for roughly two years now. I'm not yet a guru, though competent enough to realize you can do whatever you need for the company via Linux. And Linux for the most part eliminates a lot of overhead cost as it runs Free Software or Open Source. I discussed perhaps switching over with one of the apparent big bosses a little. As it stands he doubts the company would be moved to switch as it would require in his words, "a dynamite presentation" to convince them of the benefits. Currently, I'm not prepared for giving such presentation. I would eventually prefer getting Linux Professional Institute level One system's administrator certifications and possibly some business education. But it does cause a boggle for me. They keep me listed as a seasonal worker. I work full time hours but get no full time benefits. They offer educational help but I'm not sure of staying on with them after their treatment and seeing their attitude for about a year now. So, I duck and cover, keeping my 'back to it' literally. Right now, folks are happy to merely have a job. I would love to be an agent of change but the risk involved concerns family. You just don't place work before family. I don't see my current employment as a career. Careers are now non-existent. It's a job that helps pay bills, nothing more or less.

David Meerman Scott

Ben - You've written an an interesting comment here. Maybe you should work in your company's marketing department. You've obviously plugged into social networks.


Thanks for firming my beliefs. Life is all about change. We need to stand up for good and not so things which life offers. Ducking the problems, denying them leads to no where. Lets accept the change and be part of the change.

I recently realised (and pardon for using s and not z, as that's the way we spell it in India) this two months back and since than I started taking social media seriously. And here I am visiting your blog and which I must say offers great value. Well done. I am surly going to follow you.

Peter Tennis

And you've definitely hit a nerve. Thanks for being transparent. So, David, what's the end of the story? We know what happened to you after you were sacked, but what happened to the company in terms of eventual adoption of the methods or technologies that you wanted to leverage?

David Meerman Scott

Peter -- You tell me. Thomson Corporation is one of the biggest information companies in the world. Do you see them around?

experiential marketing

Being a Change agent is difficult because it not only affects you but other people dear to you as well. The best thing that you could do is make sure that your ideas will benefit the company and people around you.

project planners

There's always a risk when you try to become a change agent and voice out your opinions, what really matters in the end though is that at least you tried to share the ideas that you have in mind and didn't play the role of a total pushover.

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