INF506 – Mod 2.6 The Phantom saves the day for social media participation at work?

Sarah Dillingham’s article “The Phantom: menace or maverick? The psychology of enterprise social media participation” (2012) laid out some interesting, if not obvious, points on the psychology behind whether or not employees participate in work-related social media. What is making the 90% of people on enterprise social media lurkers? What is contributing to them not wanting to become one of the 10% active, producing members?

  • Fear of breaching policy around client confidentiality and data security
  • Fear of what is considered appropriate use
  • Fear of looking stupid when asking a question
  • Senior staff labeling social media discussions as time-wasting
  • Lack of leadership participation

Yes, yes, and yes. In my school environment I would agree with all of these points and admit that that mostly makes me part of 90% lurkers.

So what to do? Enter the Phantom (Marshall, 2012). The Phantom is a character on the social media network much like a Joe Bloggs, an anonymous avatar that trolls the discussion for questions and comments employees would be too shy to bring up to senior staff, or even eases the tension by poking fun at the CEO. The Phantom speaks up on everyone’s behalf to post questions and comments to the CEO anonymously, while also patrolling and moderating the group for rule breaking or bad form; “He tells people who post trivial comments to the whole organisation to go over to the “water cooler” group instead… he even chides the CEO if his remarks are too drab” (Marshall, 2012, para. 2).

The phantom sounds to me like a moderator, short and sweet. And any work related discussion can benefit for a moderator, even a modern day social media discussion. If participants know there is an impartial moderator, albeit a cheeky one at times, they can have faith that the peace will be kept and their voice can be heard even if they want it to be anonymous.



Reference List

Dillingham, S. (May 3, 2012). The Phantom: menace or maverick? The psychology of enterprise social media participation. Retrieved Dec 2nd, 2013 from

Marshall, S. (March 29, 2012). The Digital Jester. Retrieved Dec 2nd, 2013 from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s