Posts Tagged ‘social’

OK, the explosion of social media is not something that can be ignored either by its users and, now (finally) by the media and (possibly unfortunately) businesses.

to post or not to post?

to post or not to post?

That businesses are making more and more use of the opportunities offered by social media optimisation is little surprise. That businesses, and therefore potential employers, are now getting up to speed on the once fun-only social sites and tools  is affecting the way they’re used on a personal level is now becoming increasingly evident.

I’ve now been in two companies where, during quieter moments, candidates have been looked up on facebook to see what “they’re really like.” A well documented practice that has led to people either blocking all but their friends from viewing and (I’ve known several people do this already) close their accounts entirely because they feel social sites (and their online lives) are up for interrogation from companies.

This morning I read an account of how a brief twitter exchange could cost you your job, I apologise for forgetting the source but I’m sure it can be easily found. It goes like this, someone got offered a job and posted up the following tweet:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Unfortunately, social-savvy Cisco were following the candidate and replied with a brisk: 

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Of course, this is only one example of what I’m sure are many “oops, I really shouldn’t have posted that there,” but the  presence of companies and their reps on twitter is only going to increase. Given that estimates now place some 6 million users (myself included) clocking up something like 55 million views a month, twitter has been propelled to the third biggest social media site and has forced the biggest (Facebook) to sit up and take notice – there’s surely been countless articles on the new app. 

But, as more companies join the tweet flow and social medial fun, is it now limiting the freedom with which users once operated and, accordingly, removing the original elements – and fun – that attracted so many users to them in the first place?

Ok, so I appreciate that a lot of the world’s media attention is focused on the tragic plane crash in New York right now but one of the stories of note over here in my mind right now is this one: the 13 year old boy that became a father after knocking up his fifteen year old girlfriend.

Though at the time of conception they were only 12 and 14 years old respectively. Now what get’s me about this is that the current focus of the story is that the police aren’t going to prosecute…. Who?! Who would they be prosecuting exactly if they were going to? The boy for statutory rape? The girl for being a bloody idiot? The pair of them? The should be bloody well prosecuting and they should be prosecuting the parents for letting this happen!

I know that it’s not the 1950s but what kind of parents let their 12 and 14 year old kids become sexually active?! Am I the only one who thinks this is nuts?!!

What’s more nuts is that I’m actually in agreement with the government on this one: Iain Duncan Smith stated that “I don’t know about these particular families but too many dysfunctional families in Britain today have children growing up where anything goes.”

Damn bloody right it does! What the hell?!

What does the father have to say for himself? “I didn’t know what it would be like to be a dad. I will be good, though, and care for it.” Of course you didn’t! You’re 13! How are you going to care for it when you’re not old enough to care for yourself?!

Of course The Sun seem to think it’s a bloody miracle and made the pair of them front-page stars:

thesun

Am I the only one rubbing my eyes and staring in disbelief at all this??!! Where has all the common sense gone from the world…

For the last week or so I’ve been hard at work on a site dealing with International Removals. The idea has been to get some nice fat ranking results and use social to squirt some link juice on the “moving to..” pages. Working in the Social Media environment I’m all too aware of the facts regarding the user stats for Facebook yet, having also been using the site on a personal level long before a professional one, I was also aware of  how much of that whopping statistic is likely to be useless.

A short scurry showed how much I’d under-estimated the useless quota . Surely all those lovely groups would be a good way to garner information on what people want to know about moving to another country? Instead, it proved to be yet another lesson in the own-going education that this job is providing.

fbmarketLet’s look at the results for one search that were typical of what I found. The only difference being the destination: Moving To Canada. I, naively was hoping to find a few people trying to find out what they would need for their immigration dreams.

No. Try page after page of the displayed image. This is one of the very few screen shots available that didn’t involve racist, sexist, offensive and otherwise unusable images.

Whilst this manages to serve as an example of how fickle a certain nation can be – without wanting to offend any readers – it’s more an example of how little use Facebook can be for garnering market information. Not because of the type of group or search term, merely due to the lack of substance in the response.

Even looking at the image reveals that while these groups had thousands of members each, they’re all shedding images. Which means that not only is the potential market not likely to follow up on their statement, they’re actually retracting it.

There’s also the sheer proliferation of these groups. In theory there need only be half a dozen. Instead, rather than join an existing group that shared their feelings, they created their own. As is their right, don’t get me wrong. But if this principal were applied in the area these groups are dedicated there would be hundreds of political parties and not one of them would get anywhere.

THAT'S not ecommerce

THAT'S not ecommerce

While the idea of trusting market research has never been a sound one, the motivation in using social networking sites was to gain an insight into what the target demographic was feeling. However, with the ease of creation and user-control of such sites that makes these sites so successful and attractive, also makes them irrelevant from an information gathering point of view. Not only that, but the sheer amount of such groups and trolls puts it worryingly close to the domain inhabited by early network-sites (anyone remember Bolt?) and about as much use as the spam-covered Google Groups.

Of course, the lack of being used from a marketing point of view makes Facebook users happier. Creating a pool of target demographic information isn’t its goal. It’s there as a social interaction site etc and etc. However, if there is no intelligent qualitative market research available from it, how long before businesses stop paying attention? If they’re getting nothing from it by way of usable information are they really going to sponsor it with advertising cash? Especially when, as a user, I know how very little banner ads get looked at let alone clicked on.

I wasn’t even looking for an appropriate place to throw up an advert, nor was I looking to grab traffic or send people to the sites I’ve been working on. I simply wanted to know what they wanted to know. Marketing agencies and professionals (and I’m no exception) often suggest that Facebook, Myspace etc is a barely-touched pool of customer data just waiting to be tapped.  Problem is that if I were to use the information I gathered  I’d be building sites that provided information as to which political figures were in office in another country as information on Moving to Canada.

So with the sheer wealth of user-orientated sites and forums out there, where can accurate consumer information be found without having to wade through pages of the above? Or can it? I’m not talking about haranguing with questions and surveys either, just simple, “what do our customers want?” And, if there is no way for companies to hear the social-buzz on their product or industry, will they start looking to place their advertising and marketing budgets elsewhere and how long will the sites last then? Will the user-orientated, no businesses element that started these sites become their downfall?