Social Media Sheep

Social Media Sheep

For me, one of the great jokes of Social Media is how much more connected we are supposed to be because of it. “Markets are conversations.” “We GET it.” “The new paradigm.” “Vendor Relationship Management.”

Give me a freakin’ break.

Here’s an experiment. Call your television carrier, now. Doesn’t matter – Comcast, DirecTV, whatever. See how long it takes to speak to a person.

Now, call someone at Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIN. MySpace.

Oh, wait… you can’t.

So… even with services we deride as being shitty (television / utilities / cell phone) we can at least speak to a person.

Social Media? Not a chance in hell. And yet, we think that Web 2.0 is changing the world.

Well, in a sense it is. We are now able to be ignored at the click of a mouse – and no one cares.

The actual engagement between the Management of Social Media services and the denizens of their social networks approaches nil. @selves pointed out to me on Twitter that there is a @comcastcares account. I have also seen @JetBlue and others out there – but strangely, no accounts from Facebook, LinkedIn, or any of the other purported new media game changers.

If we want to affect change for whatever follows this iteration of the web, the clear winner will be the company or persons who realize that being human matters.

All this lip service about how great social media is belies what social media should aspire to be – a two way marketplace of ideas rather than a closed off petrie dish of exploitable user supplied content.

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4 thoughts on “Social Media Sheep

  1. David,

    Speaking as one who loathes the phone, I for one am happy with our new overloards. I’ve had to contact LinkedIn once and I post a yearly screed about them on my blog. (different from yours) Surprisingly, they answered the email within 24 hrs and they’ve even replied to my blog. Never had contact with FaceBook but to me, fb is the cotton candy of the web. Yeah, if it’s there and I’m bored I’ll play with it but I don’t use it for anything serious. So if I have a problem with it, I can walk and don’t really miss it. (but that’s jsut me)

    See you tomorrow,
    =C=

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  2. Ah… but what if you are servicing OTHER customers via their platform. Say, through a business app that starts breaking in a new way because of a platform software push. Or doesn’t show up in directory listings. Or fails because a proxy server in the ether starts sending traffic god knows where.

    So in effect, are we saying that these networks are totally unsuitable for even the most minimal expectations of reliability? A twenty-four hour turn time is unacceptable if a business app is down, or an app that someone who has paid real money for is unavailable because of platform issues. Then what?

    People are willing to pay for immediate care (chat, phone, sms) in order to do business. Until that happens, social platforms will strictly be a place for games and fluff.

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  3. Granted some services could be better served if they did have phone support. But on the other hand imagine if twitter had phone support.

    First all the newbies calling about what a tweet is and why are they following me I don’t see them out my window.

    Then there is the times when twitter goes down. And all the tweetiots start calling.

    For that they would need a support center. That requires staff, phones, helpdesk software, management and $$$. I don’t think twitter would be as popular and therefore useful if we had to directly contribute to the revenue stream.

    Looking at Twitter and IwantSandy.com they use getsatisfaction.com which for free services they do respond and leverage community knowledge. So I’m pretty satisfied.

    I’ve been at the other end of the phone. I once had a job supporting a company of 200. Before I put in a help desk person to JUST ANSWER the phone I’d spend 7 hours a day on the phone and 2 hours actually working. Most people who call just want a little TLC.

    Personally I feel that if you do have services that your business relies on it’s better to skip the beta/’free’ services and stick to the classic stuff. OR contact the company and see if they can provide a mission critical support structure just for you!

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  4. I use Social Media network sites specifically for fluff and fun, and as a way for my potential clients to get to know the real me. In the end, my clients know me, and they will eventually talk to me on the phone or via email. In the beginning though, following me on Twitter or finding my fan page on Facebook is fine. It starts the dialogue. And since it is free, my expectations are low.

    Once I am paying for something, phone support should be an option. Free? Well, you get what you pay for.

    I don’t use Twitter for work, but I did end up getting a tweet about an emergency client need – a photographer no-showed for a wedding with 300+ guests – and I was able to respond to it immediately and go and shoot the wedding, saving the day. Good thing Twitter was working that day. But you’re right – it is not reliable for the long run.

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