Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Businesses & Social Networking Sites

The internet has drastically changed how we interact with each other. I remember when only a select few were able to access the "world wide web". I remember when my parents bought their first computer in the mid 90s and I played games that were pixels. My, how things have changed. The internet has also changed how businesses interact with their customers. Before interfaces like Twitter, Facebook and Blogger, many companies were impersonal conglomerates: now they have human faces. You, the consumer can now discuss lipstick with a VP and they'll actually listen and respond to your input. To get your voice heard, you don't have to incessantly press 0 on the company phone tree to finally talk to a "live person".

But just like the fear of consumers putting too much information out there (do you really want your employer seeing those photos from Mardi Gras?), some businesses aren't putting their best foot forward on the web. I have both been encouraged to buy from companies based on their interactions on these social networking sites and have been put off. It's a delicate balance. Sure, you want the customers to see the "real you", that you are accessible to them, that you feel and think the same things that they do. But in the end, you are running a business, and ultimately the customer is picky, easily offended and even sometimes a bitch. And whether or not you or anyone likes it, it's part of being a successful business. It's part of the "yes, m'am not a problem" when someone is cursing at you from the other end and it's part of not posting about that customer on Twitter or Facebook.

Although it would be easier for these companies to avoid social networking sites, it is essential for them to be involved, so they need to be careful about their approach to this new media.
I've been thinking of posting this for quite a while but wanted to make sure this was a fair and impartial commentary. This is my first "editorial" post and I'll admit it's pretty nerve wrecking to post my opinions on here!

I'd like to thank DH for editing this for me.