Dec 8 2009   8:21PM GMT

“Social Media” and Business

Arian Eigen Heald Arian Eigen Heald Profile: Arian Eigen Heald

My sister-in-law asked me yesterday about getting her company on Twitter and other social media sites like Facebook. She said that they would need to disable blocking functions in the office firewall to make it work.

She also said that their IT department was very much against the idea, and she wanted some information to reassure them. Let’s hear it for the IT department!

Starting from today’s post on describing social media as a “playground for cybercriminals,” a quick Google search will give you 16 million or so sites that are considering the issues (or trying to sell you something, as usual).

It seems that businesses have a common mis-perception about social media (it IS easier than saying Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Friending and MySpace, but I really don’t like the phrase “social media.” It’s just a little too “marketing…”)

Business doesn’t yet understand that “attention” does not translate into “interest.” Social media is very transitory, and attention shifts constantly to the next new thing. I don’t really want to hear what a business is thinking four times or so a day. (Does a business think?) I’m not sure, actually, that writing a blog, as many businesses do, is a fab idea, either. People write blogs, not company presidents. But that’s just me.

The other issue, at least on Twitter, is trying to build up the “fan” base. Companies are pushing their employees to become “fans,” but that means that the company can see the Twitter profiles of their employees. This has already resulted in company policy changes for employees, telling them to behave themselves on Twitter (or other places). This turns an employee fun toy into a business process, and nobody I’ve talked to that is on Twitter likes it, not at all.

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