The Psychology of Business in Social Media: A Thesis on Fitting a Square Peg into a Round Hole – Part 2

Posted: June 5, 2010 in Uncategorized


Synopsis: Corporations and social media go together like BP and environmental protection. My goal is to shine a light on obstacles encountered by corporations when entering a social media jungle. By understanding these obstacles, some corporations may be able to nurture a social-media-friendly disposition and reap the benefits; but only if they are willing to fundamentally alter the way they think about doing business.

Part 2: Would You Mind Changing Everything About You?

Robert Hare, a University of British Columbia psychology professor and a consultant to the FBI, compares the profile of the contemporary profitable business corporation to that of a clinically-diagnosed psychopath.

Mr. Hare established parallels between corporate legal misbehavior (malfeasance) and the DSM-IV’s symptoms of psychopathy, i.e.

  • Callous disregard for the feelings of other people
  • The incapacity to maintain human relationships
  • Reckless disregard for the safety of others
  • Deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit)
  • The incapacity to experience guilt
  • And the failure to conform to social norms and respect for the law.


Corporation’s psychological profile is that of a psychopath.

All of this was brilliantly presented in a 2003 documentary entitled The Corporation (highly recommended).

I am sorry corporations, but the cat is out of the bag.

If you are to take advantages of no-cost, viral groundswell in your favor, all you have to do is change everything about you.

Jump over to youtube and take a look at most highly rated videos. As a rule, these videos are NOT selling anything. Conversely, corporations try to pay great sums for this kind of press, but always with low or no success.

The landscape is changing. Long gone are the days when TV had only few channels and buying your way into the hearts and minds of public was as easy as a great commercial and deep pockets to pay for the prime time slot.

You can’t have the cream when the crop and the cream are the same. ~ Andrew Bird

Now, there are billions of channels and the entry cost is non-existent.

Yes, the internet has largely delivered on its promise of equality and democracy. Now both the cream and the crop can rise to the top based on their own merits; and not on the size of the cream’s bank account.

But…Social Media experts are here to help corporations “game” the system….poorly.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just change?

The ONLY way a corporation can maximize its effectiveness in Social Media is to stop being a psychopath…ahhh, I mean stop being a corporation.

It might sound cynical to say that corporations are animated (a la Frankenstein) by profits but it would be naïve to claim anything else.

CxO’s responsibility is to generate profits for the shareholders. This is the unwritten but implied mission statement of every single corporation.

This simply will not do in Social Media.

If a corporation is to succeed in the world that will exist in 10 years, it will have to be animated by universally beneficial purpose and betterment of all people, the planet and the universe.  And NOT by profits.

Profits will flow from the purpose and will be a pleasant side-effect.

Ultimately, my dear corporation, you don’t have a choice in this matter.

I know that going beyond a quarterly projection is a foreign concept to you. And I know that the period from 10 to 100 years from now is not something you are likely to comprehend, but the way things are going there will be nothing left to plunder; so changing everything about yourself is really a matter of your own survival.

I’ll tell you more about it in the next post.

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