Villing & Company

Social Media: Hype or Hindrance?

All those who are sick and tired of all the hype about social media, raise your hands!

That’s how I was tempted to start this posting. Like many of you, we feel like social media is a roadrunner and we’re Wile E. Coyote. And, despite all the webinars and white papers from the self-proclaimed experts, solving the social media puzzle is as frustrating as ever. There’s no ACME brand mail order house to call for off-the-shelf solutions.

So, yes, I’ve grown a bit weary with the process. But that doesn’t mean the end game isn’t worthwhile. It just needs some perspective.

I caught a glimpse of this perspective yesterday with a piece of research that showed up in my email inbox. It presented some contrasting findings among corporate executives about social media.

Consider these numbers:

  • 81% of marketing, management and HR executives believe social media can enhance relationships with customers/clients
  • 81% agree it can build brand reputation
  • 70% plan to increase their use of social media

Now contrast those numbers with these:

  • 51% fear social media could be detrimental to employee productivity
  • 49% assert that using social media could damage company reputation

And perhaps most telling of all:

  • Only 13% have included social media in their organizations’ crisis communications plans

As Shakespeare said (or was it Wile E. Coyote?) “Therein lies the rub.”

Stated simply, you can’t separate the light and dark sides of social media. One of the strengths of the Internet era is its inherent democratization. Engagement isn’t a one-way street. People have opinions and they feel a new sense of empowerment to share those opinions – for good or evil, depending on one’s perspective.

Organizations have to realize that once they begin playing in the social media sandbox, they no longer have control over their playmates. There are sheeps and wolves and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even a few roadrunners and coyotes.

Filed Under: social media

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