In managing social media for our organisations, we invest so much of our own personalities and often, at this stage of social media development, where it's not truly embedded in many organisations, a change of personnel can mean a total halt to social media activities.
Two recent examples I've spotted are Testway Housing and Housing Plus Group. Testway was the first ever housing association on Twitter and used to be on of my favourite examples. It tweeted several times a day with useful, often funny, information and news. It had worked hard to build genuine relationships with its thousand plus followers.
Then on 6 July 2011, its twitter personality changed: it started tweeting much less frequently and then between August - October, it only tweeted twice and hasn't tweeted at all this month. I'm aware they've had a change of personnel in their communications team and it may be that they're reconsidering their approach to social media overall and twitter specifically. But to the outside world, it would look a bit odd and like the account has been half-abandoned.
With Housing Plus, it has been on Twitter for a shorter time (since 21 January 2010) than Testway but has still built up a good 300 followers. It had been tweeting regularly but its last one was on 19 August this year. I know their communications team has had a reorganisation (one of whom, Christine Howles, will soon be joining my comms team at Wolverhampton Homes). It's a shame their hard work building the community will have been damaged by stopping so abruptly without explanation.
Some organisations have embedded it brilliantly. For example, Walsall Council. Dan Slee, one of their communications officers, does an awesome job managing their multiple social media presences. But from what I've read of the organisation, and its other employees that I know who are on social media, if Dan was to leave, their presence would continue. That is the level of embedded-ness that communications teams should be looking to establish - that social media bigger is than one person, that the organisation truly gets it and that the external reputation management is what guides them to make a seamless transition.