Social Media – Love it? Hate it? Inquiring minds want to know

This is my first “official” blog post for my social media class. I have only attended one class so far. My professor is the same one who taught my Crisis Communications class I took last semester and I recognize many of my classmates from last semester.It is nice to have so much familiarity at the beginning of the semester.

In this class we are going to be learning about the applicability of social media in a corporate setting. We will be examining the use of social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (among so many others) and how corporations can use these new mediums as a vehicle to reach their customers and employees. We live in a whole new world now and the “old school” days of typed memos and meetings really have taken an entirely new meaning. Corporations hire consultants that work from home, Skype in to work and host meetings virtually in all sorts of ways. Skype is one of the video tools that a person can use to have a virtual conversation on screen with one another via a computer. I only know this because Oprah uses it a lot.

All of the content in this class really fits me like a glove. I am a Facebook addict. It seems that I am concerned more these days about the status updates than I really care to admit. I know I am not alone. As a new blogger I find myself opening Twitter accounts, setting up RSS feeds (that means whatever I post on my blog automatically posts to twitter, facebook and LinkedIn in a vain attempt to make me feel like someone is actually reading these things) and doing all sorts of things that were foreign to me just a year ago.

So I guess the big question here how does Corporate USA use these tools for their own gain? How are each of us as their consumers and employees affected by them? Is it good or bad?

I really look forward to your opinions as we go along – so please don’t be shy.

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13 Comments

Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind

13 responses to “Social Media – Love it? Hate it? Inquiring minds want to know

  1. Melissa

    I first of all love the Skype and Oprah references. She does love Skype. I say, if this technology is available…use it!
    Ok, so I am amazed at the growing number of corporations that offer the opportunity to fan them, Facebook them, Digg them and so on. Why I am even a fan of my local birding shop. She’s new to the whole Facebook thing and I’m sure she’s seen growth. Corporate USA certainly takes full advantage and keeps us all informed on great deals that we might have otherwise missed if we weren’t “LinkedIn”…. This social media era has taken Sunday paper flyers to another level. I must admit I thought it was great when I got a text from Red Box with my code for a free Monday night rental.
    I think you will get a vast mix of good or bad feelings. I think it may even go beyond an age issue. I know some wonderful people in the over 60 crowd who have hoppen on the Facebook bandwagon…my MIL is one of them. Her eBay sales have slightly increased.
    I find it hard myself to come up with a downside. Well, my kids may differ since there are more frequent occasions when they are asking me “are you done yet?”. They sure didn’t mind when they ate pizza last night because I got a little caught up in “research”.

  2. Corporate America by and large has a hard time with social media. That’s because the content takes on a life of its own, and Company X can’t control it and spin it.

    The reason social media works is because it gives Company X an informal, friendly visage. It seems off the cuff and genuine. Try to massage and manage it too hard, and it becomes another corporate suit.

    If a company is going to benefit from social media, it has to get over the fear factor of not being able to control its message after it’s posted. It also has to interact with its followers in a genuine way, not just making product and sale announcements.

    For the most part, I think it’s smaller and mom-and-pop businesses that succeed at and benefit from social media.

    • Hello Justin. Welcome to my blog. Thank you for commenting! Your points are excellent. In fact many of these points were made by my professor in class earlier this week. You comments are perceptive and well received. It really does boil down to a control issue. I must say that we do get turned off when the messaging becomes too corporate and therefore seems less sincere. As for your comments about mom and pop businesses, it is quite ironic. If you look at my response to Melissa above, we discuss the very same issue. Great minds think alike they say. Many companies such as Wal-Mart see themselves as being on the cutting edge of corporate media and in touch with their employees and customers. Do you think that they really are?

      • Thanks for the post. You have a really good discussion here.

        I can’t speak to Wal-Mart specifically. But Southwest Airlines is a big company that is on the cutting edge and does seem in-touch. So it is possible, but a large organization has to have a swashbuckling, Han Solo-like spirit to make it happen. They have to be okay with falling on their face at first – or even now and again. Most are truly not that fearless.

        The above comment about the birding shop is right on. You want to show your support, and you feel an emotional connection to someone you see face-to-face regularly. It’s hard to do that with larger companies.

      • What a great discussion! You guys are making me feel as creatively charged as I feel after I leave a classroom. Wade, I think you are right – the public always had a say in what they felt about a company LONG before social media was around. “Word of mouth” was (and still is) an essential part of all business promotion. Justin I also agree with you that now opinions and thoughts spread like wild fire through these social media outlets. You say that most are not truly that fearless. That statement intrigues me, because inherently I want to agree. It is going to be my quest this semester to find one that is. With so many corporations out there using social media, I don’t know where to begin. Stay tuned.

    • Justin… I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about “control.” I wonder, though, how much control corporations truly had even before social media.

      • Wade, control has always been a concern for corporate comm. It’s just that there are so many more fast & easy channels for people to gripe about corporations with a real audience. And so many people can run with a company’s message and derail it in those same forums. It’s easier for the smaller companies to be okay with that.

  3. With my agency we used the technology more to research people–whether they were clients, companies or folks we were considering hiring. Social media accounts can contain lots of gems.

    • Hello and welcome to my blog. This is an excellent point about an effective use of social media. What social media did your agency use? LinkedIn is a recruiter’s right hand when it comes to finding good talent and researching the resumes of clients. In this way an HR professional can use social media to learn things about a perspective employee that they may not otherwise have known. Perhaps we may not consider a candidate for a Human Resources Assistant Position if we saw that her facebook page promoted racial discrimination. Clearly an HR Candidate must exemplify the corporate values. We could also argue that using social media in this way may be a better hire – a better worker who is retainable. Thank you for your feedback!

  4. Melissa, you sure are right we have so many technological outlets right now that it is hard to tear ourselves away. I am sure my son doesn’t appreciate the times that I am on the computer either. You make a great point about the example of your birding shop. The Mom and Pop stores that were on every corner are either vacant or have been long since modified into something else. I believe though that people crave the feel of a Mom and Pop relationship and social media can help with that. How often have you gone to Home Depot or Wal-Mart to become frustrated because the associates just simply do not wish to help you. When you go to a privately owned hardware store, they will fall over themselves to help you. Social media lets these small businesses get in touch with their customers in a meaningful way. Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. fencingclassics

    For business purposes, social media offer a strange hybrid of semi-stratified prospect pool and traditional email/client list. Just spongier. In my experience, the Social media following of a product or service has no direct correlation with sales — which, after all it’s said and done, are the penultimate reason to expend time, resources, and money on these media in the first place.

    But they certainly offer up plenty of new testing possibilities: We’re currently trying to build a following for an “indie” publisher’s novels on Facebook… through good, olf-fashioned serialization. Jury’s still out if this is worth the effort though: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lazarus-Smile-The-Serial/114394735246148?ref=search&sid=588187553.771960652..1

    • Thank you for the reply and welcome to my blog! This is such an interesting concept that you have introduced us to. Am I correct in understanding that you are trying to publish a series of suspense novels through social media only? Now that is really cool. You are able to get feedback on your work as you write it. Are you the author of this or simply following it? Do you know if they are writing as they go or is it pre-written and sent out to facebook in increments? I wonder because the audience could impact the plot if it was being written as earlier portions were published. Please tell us more. To your earlier point, this would be quite revolutionary if it caught on. You are right – this WOULD be an effective use of social media. Imagine reading novels from a social media source. My mind can barely conceive it. The author has direct relations with the audience – like story telling at a camp fire. It would certainly take out all of the middle men – agents, editors, publishers, etc. I find this fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Pingback: 2010 in review | No Adult Left Behind

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