Social Media – The Dawning of a New ‘New Age’?

Got into a bit of a debate recently, as avid followers of this, the blog that not-very-many people read, will know. It was all about the possibly fatal, and definitely barking, madness of letting the general population of employees of a company post to social media sites in an unregulated and unmonitored stylee. To summarise, I’m against it, some people are for it. Apparently, Ford and Coke (well, their social media marketing types) are for it.

Anyway, the debate shifted slightly and became more about trusting your employees to be brand ambassadors and being less controlling of how they do it. Apparently, as long as your people are honest, at least slightly personable and proud of what they do, then other people – your audiences – will know. And if the company is made up of people like this, then they will know. And it will be the sort of company that they want to deal with. This put me in mind of something else I read recently, which said (I’m paraphrasing) that in future consumers (public, audiences) will not have a contract or relationship with the company or the brand – instead they will have it with the company or brand’s employees.

Is it just me, or is this hopelessly Utopian? Am I getting a whiff of hessian and patchouli here? Are people actually trying to tell me that if we’re all nice to one another, then we’ll all be happier and more successful? Am I being told – in point of fact – to ‘give peace a chance’?

It’s worrying. Am I too close to the whole social media debate, and thus seeing nuances and blowing them out of proportion or, in fact, are we seeing the dawn of a new ‘New Age’ created by social media and the fact that people, all over the world, are happily and politely interacting with complete strangers.

And because, in the main, their interaction with complete strangers is good, and informative and polite and safe, they’re lulled into thinking that a) this good, informative, polite safety extends into other walks of life (it doesn’t – West Ham v Milwall anyone?) and b) if there was more of it, and if people embraced it, then life would be better and all our problems would go away.

The rise of the cyber-hippy?

You know what John Lydon said – never trust a hippy.

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Filed under Communications Strategy, External Communications, Public Relations, Social Media

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