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CIP – The amazing power of Social Media

Just in case you have not followed the recent saga of the demise and reinstatement of AIIM’s CIP certification, read Mark Owen’s blog here, which has a good summary of events.

I am not going to dwell on the ins and outs of AIIM’s decision, which has been analysed enough. However, there is an underlying story to the events which is significant: In case anyone had any doubts, this is one of the best showcases of the power of Social Media that I’ve seen so far: From the original decision announcement, through the members’ rebellion, to the final reversal decision, took just 7 days, and that included a weekend.

Think about this process: Within hours of the original decision announcement, the twitter feeds were buzzing! (well, the ECM twitter feeds at least, let’s not get over excited…). Amazement, scold, sarcasm, and a genuine discussion on the relative merits of CIP vs. IGP and vs. other AIIM certifications such as ECMm. A great amount of very good content. Over the next couple of days, the blogs started appearing. Most of the vocal people in our community were up in arms and made their voice heard. Even more twitter traffic, while these blogs were disseminated. People at AIIM saw and heard the response, loud and clear. A few more discussions later, a new announcement of the reinstatement of CIP (through a blog and twitter) and a lot more twitter traffic and a lot more blogs. For the most part, congratulating AIIM for being active, listening, responsive and doing the right thing.

AIIM is a community of several thousand people. There is a core of a few dozen people that have been actively involved with AIIM for a long time and, by default, they are the biggest advocates the most ferocious critics. They also happen to be prolific Social Media users, particularly on Twitter and blogs. You could argue that the statistical sample of the people that complained about CIP is not significant, compared to the overall number of AIIM members, but that would be a very short-sighted view. When you consider who these people were, the communities that they themselves represent, and the influence they exhort into the ECM community (again through the power of Social Media…), it would have been very difficult for AIIM to ignore.

On top of that, when your best advocates become critics, you tend to pay attention…

Kudos to AIIM for recognising the issue and doing something about it. Even bigger kudos to Social Media, as a platform for change. I don’t think that this kind of dramatic unfolding of events, immediate and overwhelming public response to an unpopular decision,  and finally the winning over of the disgruntled masses to a successful outcome, all in the space of one week, would have been possible in any other era or medium.

Finally, a quote from a tweet by Lisa Hoover McGreevy (@Lisah), who summed it up beautifully: “Well done, #AIIM members. And, uh, remind me to never piss you off. ;)”

Categories: ECM Tags: , , , ,
  1. December 20, 2015 at 2:47 am

    Very good analysis regarding the community, the power of social media, and the great response by AIIM. I just want to point out, though, that you say “other AIIM cerifications” when in fact there is only the CIP. The others you speak of are training certificates, which are excellent, but they are not certifications. That was the crux of the debate.

    • December 20, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Kevin, I agree with your point, and much of the discussion on Twitter centred on that very point. Technically however, the process of awarding a certificate is called a certification, so they are both certifications, which is where the confusion comes in. ECMm and the like, are “certifications of training” whereas CIP is a “certification of competency”. You could argue that CIP is more of an Accreditation, but accreditations a tend to have a more formally recognised status. And the “C” stands for Certified, which of course doesn’t help much.

      • December 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm

        It’s true, and there is no word for “certificated”, only “certified”. And earning a certification comes with a certificate. Since these words are so connected, I don’t know why we got to this point of differentiation without choosing a new word. It certainly confused me for years. So where possible, I try to be clear which type of credential I mean now. 🙂

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