19:11 PM

The Fleeting Value Of Social Media Monitoring


There are a lot of PR practitioners and social media monitoring companies spending a lot of time warning corporations that they need to monitor the online world for negative conversations about their brands.

Last week I addressed the current fashion and passion for the real-time web: The Real-Time Web - Blink And You Missed It - SiliconValleyWatcher

I made a point that there might not be much value in the monitoring of real-time online conversations about brands because if those conversations take place in real-time, they are done and dusted by the time a corporation decides to become involved. I asked how many people review their real-time streams of content on Facebook or Twitter? Which means if something nasty was said the likelihood is that very few people saw it -- only those that happened to be looking at their streams at that particular time would have seen it.

Yesterday, Mark Cuban published an interesting post on Blog Maverick in a similar vein, questioning the damage from negative online comments or posts about a person, or a company. He asked: Who Cares What People Write ?

He gave excellent advice:

When you see things written about a person, place or thing you care about, whether its positive or negative, take a very deep breath before thinking that the story means anything to anyone but you.

As a journalist I always believed that others often over-reacted to “bad” press. After all, it quickly became yesterday’s fishwrap and last week's fading memory.

Yet I've seen very large corporations getting their underwear in a twist because someone somewhere said something "bad" about their CEO or their products. Without assessing much of anything about the source.

In March 2005, I published: If a Blogger blogs in the Blogosphere . . . does anybody blog it? It addressed similar themes and predicted that there would be even fewer people paying attention to bloggers in the future.

Building a personal blogging brand and cultivating a key readership within such an increasingly noisy media landscape will become increasingly difficult for individuals. We will see consolidation as blogs become group blogs and then become fully-fledged online news magazines.

Four years on, there seems to be ever more people with a vested interest in trying to scare corporations about how unattended online conversations about their brands can blow up into PR disasters. It's true, they can, but it's rare, and as Mark Cuban points out, usually only if it came from an online media personality.

Clearly, there are conversations that have to be monitored and dealt with: either by ignoring or responding. But there seems to be few people within corporations with the ability to distinguish between appropriate action and reaction.