The diminishing signal to noise ratio in procurement

The diminishing signal to noise ratio in procurement

Posted by Ian Burdon in Procurement Best Practices, Social Media 22 Jul 2014

As we enter the silly season, here’s a great idea from Ian Burdon.

I have pretty much stopped looking at my “business” Twitter feed. This isn’t because of general disaffection with social media – I also have a “civilian” Twitter account full of music and authors and beer that I keep a regular eye on. No, it is because of the endless flood of nonsense relating to procurement and e-procurement that tracks across my screen.

I understand why this has happened. There is a marketing mantra that you should issue (x) number of tweets per day or per week, without regard to whether they have any meaningful content. Also blogs and journals need to maintain a steady flow of stories to stay at the forefront of their readers’ minds. The confluence of these and other streams overflows onto the Twitter floodplain and leaves everything soggy and somewhat smelly.

And there is the rest: the incessant self-aggrandisement; the business-as-usual presented as if a disruptive triumph of innovation; and the strings of abstract nouns, opaque in their individual meaning, gibberish when strung together like a charm bracelet, that remove rather than enhance communication.

Purchasing Insight logoBut wait, there’s more: remember Monty Python’s Mr Anchovy who wanted to become a lion tamer because chartered accountancy was too dull? There are those tweets about current *Hot Topics In Procurement*, or *5 Key Things You Must Know About Supplier Metrics*, or *How Sourcing Excellence Can Help You Prevent Thermo-nuclear War and Deliver Global Racial Harmony* (I may have made at least one of those up) which make you long for the excitement of being an actuary or a loss-adjuster.

Now, you might be shouting by this point that this is, in fact, my own fault and indicative of nothing more than a failure on my part to curate a decent list of people to follow. You may well be right, although if you are, then I need to look also at my LinkedIn feed which is similarly clogged with the rotting leaves of business writing. But I suspect that it isn’t just me.

In evidence I would invite you to search #procurement and #eprocurement and graze at your leisure through what you find and work out the signal:noise ratio for yourself. I’m not claiming any superiority – I daresay I’ve perpetrated some Twitter horrors too.

So, since it is summer and therefore the traditional ‘silly season’, we invite you to submit any particularly examples of nonsense you come across in the course of the average Twitter day. Send them to @purchaseinsight with the hashtag #procurementbollocks and we’ll arrange a special award for the best contribution.

Ian Burdon can be found on twitter @IanBurdon

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