I clear every social media post through my immediate manager - is this normal?

The question I've chosen for today's post is one that I get in my inbox on a weekly basis, and it throws me every time. Primarily, I think, because it becomes apparent that management don't realise they're signalling something a little 'off' about their organisation.

Query: I clear every social media post through my immediate manager - is this normal?

Short answer: Absolutely, it's normal - if your manager doesn't trust you

More thoughtful answer: Is it that your manager doesn't trust you in particular? If that's the case, why did they bother to hire someone to deliberately facilitate those spaces? Why not do it themselves, instead, and cut out the middle man, i.e. you? Or do they not trust social media in general? If that's the case, why is your library using social media at all?

When you ask your staff to clear every single blog post, Facebook page update, tweet, etc. through you, what you are really saying is "I don't trust you." You're doing your staff a disservice. Seriously. You may not mean to do it, but you're killing your streams - and your staff - with conservative fear. Your staff need to be able to post and engage in a way that is meaningful and deliberately invites feedback, and they need to be able to do it free of your fear. What you've accomplished, instead, is a surefire way of making them doubt themselves, second guess everything, and to post timidly. If that wasn't your intent, I'd suggest changing that as soon as possible.

I read somewhere once, years ago, that "Libraries are dangerous." I'm not sure I believe that of NZ libraries. (And please, feel free to challenge me on that statement). My particular interest is in public libraries, so I make a point of visiting as many of them as I can wherever I travel, and everywhere I go staff always tell me - usually when I query why things are a certain way, or why they do not push for change, or question why they're reluctant to shake things up a little - "We live in a political environment." They say it as if it's something I don't already know. Sometimes, I feel like we use it as an excuse. We work for local government. Truth of the matter is we are always going to be in a political environment. We are always going to be leading up to election year.

My thought is that if a library tweet, event or philosophy can bring down a mayor, then perhaps she - or he - didn't have much of a platform to speak from in the first place. We should be dangerous. We aren't.

Trust that you hired the right person for the task, and let them be fearless.


  1. No, should NOT be normal. If you micro manage, you will get mico results...Social media is about flying, creativity connection, challenge, innovation...These need collective energy, and this is not the way to garner this, in my opinion.

  2. "If you micro manage, you will get micro results." I think that may well be the best thing I've read in the last week or so. Hands down.

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