Recently I overheard a conversation while I was at a dinner, and during the course of the meal the conversation managed to cover both the uses and liabilities of social media. The over-dependence on social media in this particular case had caused hard feelings amongst friends. This "why"was being discussed in length by my table partners. The lament was that some had been invited to a party, and some hadn’t.
It turned out that their friend had only used Facebook’s “Events” to notify everyone. He had not calculated that some were not daily Facebook users, and if they were, that they didn’t check the notifications.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was a woman who admitted she usually didn’t know where her daughter was. And in order to keep track of the girl her mother would call the girl’s aunt. The reason the woman’s sister was in the “know” was because she kept an eye on Facebook and Twitter, since she had children of her own.
The woman’s excuse was, “I don't pay much attention to Facebook.”
It all comes down to social media being a communication tool.
And with all tools there are times when it needs to be used in concert with other tools. When having a party, or a meeting, it needs to be kept in mind that not everyone is going to be checking their social media. Invitations and announcements also need to be put out in either paper form, or email; along with social media reminders.
Yet, on the other hand, social media is a powerful tool. There shouldn’t be a disdain for it just because it’s “just” social media. This holds particularly true for parents. Parents need to stay aware of popular trends in social media, and know how their children are communicating. It has been noted that with a teenager a “tweet” is rarely ever left unread.
This time around I am going to focus on public opinion and communication. Letter writing has always played a huge role in the spread of public opinion, with an example of this being during the heydays of immigration. In A True Picture of Emmigration, by Rebecca Burlend, the author told how her husband listened for news of letters coming from America. Then he would go and hear what was said of conditions in the U.S.. Nor can the power of the coffee and chocolates houses be forgotten - as those gathering places were where politics and popular opinion were vehemently discussed.
Jumping ahead to today, and particularly to the oft-bemoaned fact that everyone has their nose in their smart phones and tablets. And while I will admit that I too bemoan this on occasion it also cannot be ignored. Or, it might be better to say, "It is risky to ignore."
The forums for public opinion have changed, and become lightening fast....
......Pictures of a restraurant dinner on Facebook are usually sent with a comment.....
......Bored people, waiting in line, having nothing better than to Tweet their status......
Basically opinions of businesses and services fly with the speed of thought.
And businesses can only ignore this at their risk.
If you don't "hear" what is being said then you cannot highlight the praise, or show solid customer service, if there was a problem. Nor can a business afford to focus on just one "window" into the thoughts of their customers, because their clients may use a Tweet one day, or a FB post the next. Or they may be on a tablet, and writing a longer review on Google Plus.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.