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Transparency and the rise of the new spin doctors December 18, 2009

Posted by optimalrisk in Business, IT, relationships.
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Social media is introducing ‘forced transparency’ into the corporate world. Corporations are not always poised to deal with the speed of social media when it comes to incidents and complaints.  More and more companies are hiring social media ‘experts’. While some companies are seizing this opportunity to engage consumers, others are cringing in the corner wondering if they will be caught.  Whistleblowers, insiders, investigative journalists, and hidden cameras have been around for years.  However, the speed at which we can get information from these “primary” sources has not been experienced until recently.  Deep down, we know that many companies try to maintain ethical business practices while chasing their bottom line, but there some companies (in some instances, whole industries) that would be ‘misunderstood’ by the public if their inner workings were brought to life.  In come . . . the New Spin Doctors!

To be fair, there have always been marketing and communications professionals who make sure that the company is looking good, but this new breed has to develop new tactics.  The “press release” and “official statements” are slow ways to respond to an issue.  It is slow because they depend on traditional conduits like press conferences and media outlets.  Social media is about relationships.  If Bob and Sally are friends AND Sally and Jamie (and doesn’t know Bob) are friends, all it takes is for Bob to tell Sally something.  If it is interesting enough to share, then Jamie will soon know as well.  If Bob has a bad experience with Company X, it only takes hours before hundreds know (depending on network size). Also, the people in Bob’s network are less likely to believe the company when they respond after the fact.  The reverse is also true.  If Bob sends a message to the network praising or exonerating the company, then that bodes well for the company.  At best, it is now easier for an individual’s network to cause concern for a company.

I predict that the “New Spin Doctors” will have some adjustment time, but will soon create systems that make it hard for reputations to be damaged by a video of 2 stupid employee making ‘gross’ with the food.  Let me know if you can dream up or know ways that these spin doctors will let the company come out on top.

The top 4 reasons I use Twitter June 23, 2009

Posted by optimalrisk in Business, IT, Marketing.
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I’ve contracted something (not Swine Flu / H1N1) . . . The Twitter Bug!

I’ve succumbed to its promises of up-to-date, wall-to-wall information, low commitment time, and cool points (that also comes with a toaster).  That’s not why I’ve kept tweeting. Here are my top 4 reasons I use twitter.

I feel cool.
In the span of social media phenomena, it is hugely popular and relatively young.  I can quickly establish or re-invent my online persona.  I’ve been on Facebook and Myspace for years.  When paired with Twitter, it can make you look like you were cool all along.

It helps promote my other social media profiles.
There is a high cross-over of my buddies on my various social media platforms. When I’m on Twitter, I read the tweet and go to the link, if there is one.  I come back to the list and do it again.  When someone reads my tweet, they can only do a couple of things:  Re-tweet, direct message, reply or go to a link.  There are no games to play or photos to sort.

It makes me a better communicator
There’s a saying that goes “The key to good communication is brevity”.  It makes me think about how I can say something in 140 characters.

It makes me more productive
Some people believe that all these social media platforms are a big waste of time.  They usually are referring to when people play games or share American Idol videos.   I don’t tweet lies, so I have to do something cool enough to tweet about. By ‘trying’ to tweet daily, I am putting out quality information for my tweeps. Also, if you aren’t putting out enough or high quality tweets, people will unfollow you.  (I’ve learned the hard way)