The Social Media Sharks

Where social media reigns supreme

Social Networking’s Dark Side Exposed?! I Think Not.

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Joseph Hughes and Chris Boudreaux write an article for Business Weekly entitled Defeating the Dark Side of Social Networking and provide commentary on the Dark Side of Social Networking. Hughes is a senior executive with Accenture’s Customer Service and Support Business and Boudreaux is a senior manager with Accenture’s Strategy business unit.

The title of the article in combination with statements such as “Repeat buying is usually driven by positive customer service, not price, Accenture’s (ACN) research shows,” baffles me. This seems to clash.

New social media is providing a stronger relationship between the business, especially customer service, and the user/consumer. Don’t fight the system Big Business–play your part and recognize the utility and opportunity social networks offer. We all want the same thing and can be a collaborative effort.

Their overall message is directed toward businesses and how to manage and make social networks advantageous. In doing so, Hughes and Boudreaux suggest to change a company’s business model, such as creating new units to, as I took it, cope with the evolution of social media.

The framing of Social Networking on the Internet as dark is limiting and not only espouses a negative perspective on new social media but, furthermore, supports the traditional and “older” mediums of Big Media and Big Business.

While they mention that “companies can’t rein in the conversations happening on social networks” and “the control is pretty much gone” (which is true) they also seem make claims that what everyone else would view as positive conversation–using fellow Internet users as a measurement of quality, credibility and recommendation of a brand, for instance–in a recusant light. It’s counter-intuitive.

The article suggests “many companies are being victimized rather than capitalizing” which they make note is due to their slow reaction time and ill-equipped nature to react to negative comments which affect their brand. This is also true. But this is not new media’s fault. It is the fault of the company.

The Internet and new social media entertains the dawn of a new era in which information is free flowing, vast, far-reaching and [mostly] accurate. People seek what they desire and it is given to them—for the most part. So why cast such a hallowed shade, especially in the title and tone, in favor of Big Business and Big Media?

New technology creates new niches and markets to explore in which pre-existing companies must either adapt or die—it’s [practically] that simple. A brand’s image heavily based on the conversations of peer-to-peer and consumer-to-consumer relationships is a strength—people trust it more often than any other source for a reason. Companies do not want to hear that, though; less control in directing their image is not favorable for companies.

It’s not dark if its mutually beneficial.

Perhaps I’m beating the straw man with a stick; However, as Dan Gillmor’s We The Media staple phrase goes, “Grassroots Journalism, By The People, For The People.” That is what we are all about—this includes using social networking Web sites and their uses to “level the playing field” between consumers and producers. As the 33rd United States President Harry S. Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

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Written by socialmediashark

April 6, 2010 at 11:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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