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March 16, 2020

The Online Conversation Imperative

Wilfried Rijsemus

A new reality. None the western world has ever seen. Locked down in your house and wait for the storm to pass by while your work has to continue. Everybody's work!

I told you so

For years I have been working on building online communities. I'm not a fan of telling other people "I told you so" and I certainly won't start now. What did happen is that all that work I have been doing organizing trusted conversations with big strategies and programs all of a sudden were dressed down to the essentials of my work: People rely on trusted conversations! Especially in a time of need. Every colleague of mine was having his/her screen open waiting for the communication to come in. They did not look in their inbox but on our internal community which has grown from a 'nice to have' to a 'mission critical' instrument to quickly share the right information. The same goes for our customers and partners who we had decided to serve out to the same platform. We always decided that we would include our customers and partners into our conversations, effectively BEING a community instead of RUNNING one.

I found telling myself "I told you so!". All these plannings, evolutionary thinking, vistas, design choices, concepts etc. converged into one event: The corona crisis. Even for the guy who came up with the idea, this event was a revelation and has strengthened my idea that if you do not have your online conversation organized, employees, customers and partners somehow will remember this and will rate you lower on their future decisions.

After Corona

So, here we are. History has these defining moments that people refer to. "Before WWII", "After 9/11". It doesn't take a rocket genius to figure out that the new phrase soon will be "After Corona" and that implies that some things will change forever and won't return to before. One of them is your online conversation. And, no, I won't remind you of this article in the future.

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