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Got better tech? Now we expect more from you.

With great power comes great responsibility. Current climate hints at the availability of resources and technology leadership as indications of power. Think Elon Musk, Amazon, Meta (previously Facebook), Alphabet, Airbnb — they come under significantly greater scrunity than our mom and pop shops.

Article Source: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility by Dave Siegel. Image is from Spider-Man! (Amazing Fantasy #15, August 1962), Stan Lee, writer; Steve Ditko, penciler

My sense is that we tend to expect more social conciousness and social responsiblity out of tech giants. No, I am not defending tech giants and businesses out of their social responsibility. What I’m questioning is how much of it should be publicised. Is there a recommended percentage that’s acceptable to society? Yes, sensitive topic I’m touching on. It’s one that’s been an internal struggle for me, so I’m hoping that by writing, I may gain clarity and learn from others.

So, specifics. While I was working in Airbnb, diversity and inclusion was a big topic. It’s something the company tries really hard in especially because it believes in the community spirit. Employees (and myself) believe in belonging anywhere. It’s a tough road to walk on, and I speak only for myself. I was leading regional internal communications and I found myself walking on eggshells. You can never please everyone. You’ll always get misunderstood. One step forward, many steps back. But we keep trying. It does get demoralizing.

Sometimes I find myself freezing and having brain fog just because I worry about sensitivities and offending the people or communities I love and care for. This, in a work setting. Perhaps we are used to dealing with this at home. I like keeping my mindset separate — it helps simplify tasks and thought processes. It is about as much as I can cope with mentally and emotionally.

Source: How We Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn in Difficult Conversations: Adapting A Learning Mindset by Lindsay Braman

As a communications professional, this means a constant scrutiny of words, of what you share. I, and I speak only for myself, do not feel comfortable telling people about good deeds, or things I’m proud of. Perhaps a cultural influence. Most Singaporean business owners I met tend to avoid publicity, even the good kind. I am typically not for the idea of publicizing any work a brand does in corporate social responsibility (CSR). I understand why CSR is important and I appreciate the brand more when it shares values I believe in. At this point, I suspect the answers I am likely to get are, “it’s a fine line” or “it depends”.

Audiences are scrolling through lots of talk on brand values, what they stand for, what they’re doing. As readers, we take it with a pinch of salt. Acknowledge and move on, awaiting to read or hear about the action and the impact. To what extent do we want this? I brought this topic up as I am personally rather fatigued by what seems to be a constant parade (and charade) of brand values. Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion of just doing what matters and letting it show for itself. Which is ironic since I am a communications professional.

So such is my dilemma. I have lots more to learn and my stance on this topic might shift as I journey along. As a consumer of information though, I find my job of discerning information I read getting more and more difficult. This is a problem, especially since information is key in this age. How can I, as a communications professional, help simplify this task for readers?

It’s quite a mess in my head and thus a brain dump. A blog post is definitely not enough to do a full dump, but it’s a start.

More discussion on the topic in this Twitter thread.




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Geraldine Lee

Geraldine Lee

Media & influencer relations. B2B comms. Tech, telecoms networks, social science. Communicator by day @EricssonNetwork, erratic introvert by night.

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