The Parable of the Bagel

Once upon a time there was a guy. Let’s call him Lee, because that was his name.

Lee was attending a great conference in San Francisco, where he learned a lot about using Social Media for Internal Communications.

On the third day of the conference, when he arrived for breakfast he found that:

  • The continental breakfast table had bagels.
  • The continential breakfast table had cream cheese.
  • But there were no knives to spread the cream cheese.

Did Lee go hungry? Did he eat a dry bagel?


Lee thought creatively.


He used a spoon — not for its intended purpose, but to meet his need.

(And even better, he got someone else to do the work while he videotaped.)

The Parable of the Bagle has two major applications:

  1. You’re better off if you can pick the right tool for the job. Even though the bagel was pre-sliced, it would have split more nicely with a knife.
  2. Consider the social media tools you have, and how they can be used creatively to meet your needs. The spoon wasn’t intended as a cream-cheese spreading device, but it does a fine job of it. Likewise, Twitter and Facebook and blogs and other social media tools may have had purposes and applications envisioned by their developers, but what you need to do is see what capabilities the tools have, and how they might meet a need for you.

Twitter might just be a way to quickly activate a disaster response-team. A secret Facebook group might enable you to manage collaboration among external vendors without giving them access behind your corporate firewall.

Think creatively.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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