How social media shifts the nature of professionalism

Bob McKee, the chief executive of CILIP - Chartered Institute of Library and information Professionals - got a roasting from Phil Bradley on a post “From the chief executive’s desk” which started:

There’s some twittering at present about whether CILIP has (or should have) any “official” presence on various lists or micro blog sites.
The simple answer, of course, is no. In terms of “official” activity, cyber life is just like real like - if it happens in a CILIP-sanctioned space, it’s official; if it happens down the pub or in someone else’s space, it isn’t.

Bob was critised for this tone, and for failing to recognise that organisations can no longer sit within their online walled garden. Phil wrote:

You cannot own the space any more and by not participating you're not stopping the conversations taking place, you're not stopping people making up their own minds, you're simply not involved or engaged. Moreover - just how insulting do you want to become? What gives you the right to tell people that their views don't matter?

The exchanges produced a lot of comments, including a plea from Louise Tucker that CILIP provide an open forum, using a Web 2.0 tool, 

... to enable debate (amongst members and non-members) about what kind of support and representation that we would like from CILIP please? In other words, provide us with the opportunity to give our "wish list" as Phil Bradley has done?

I think this could benefit CILIP and its audience because it offers a chance to:

* promote to members and non-members what CILIP is already doing and plans to do that we may have missed or that we would benefit from being reminded about.  For example I had completely missed the fact that your Blog exists, I only know about it now because of reference to it on Phil Bradley’s Blog, and I’m a CILIP member who’s subscribed to a CILIP mailing list, RSS feed and I read the Update and Gazette magazines);

* provide CILIP with ideas of things it could do in future that would encourage greater engagement with members and non-members;

* potentially provide CILIP with offers of assistance and collaboration to work on existing ideas and implement and new ones.

In a follow-up post Bob says he will talk to trustees and colleagues about that idea, and then observes:

A number of the comments posted have moved from issues around social media to issues around the future for CILIP and our profession. So let me return to my comment that CILIP (like many organisations) is conflicted between authority and community – or (to put it in a way which chimes more with this discussion) between systems and conversations. This is also where my other comment (about social networking changing the dynamic of institutionalised professionalism) comes in – a comment which perhaps helps to explain why there’s so much emotionality (to put it politely) in some of the comments posted (particularly on Phil’s blog) after the initial response from Phil.
Bob then goes on to analyse this conflict between authority and community and "why I think the discussion about using social media is also a discussion about the future for professionalism". He says:
...professional bodies, like CILIP, have to respond to the new dynamics, not only by engaging with social media but also by finding ways to foster interaction between the unofficial and convivial conversations of social media and the formal systems which make up the “official channels”.
And adds:
Engaging with social media in the ways suggested by Phil and other commentators will help CILIP continue on the journey away from the traditional elitist/protectionist form of professionalism and towards a modernised (collaborative, conversational, convivial) professionalism fit for purpose in the modern world. A collaborative CILIP built around conversation not instruction - modelling a collaborative professionalism which redefines our role and value for the information age -  Yes, let’s try that!
Comments on the post are broadly welcoming.