On non-professionalism

David’s blog post reminded me that I have been banging on to a lot of people about some vague idea which I’ve been calling ‘non-professionalism’.

Basically, non-professionalism is the culture required to work effectively on the social web.

If you are professional, then there is a danger that you will be perceived as formal, stuffy and no fun to be around. People don’t engage on a particularly meaningful basis if you appear too polished.

But unprofessionalism is a bad thing, too. You don’t want to appear like you don’t care, or that you simply aren’t very good. People won’t want to help you because it doesn’t appear that you want to help yourself out all that much.

But there is a grey area in between these two stances, where you can be effective, yet informal and engaging too. So, your communications get the message across, but in a human way that people can respond to and build a relationship with, for example.

This, for me, is non-professionalism. It’s vital for any organisation that wants to succeed in using Twitter, blogs or online communities, be they forums or social networks.