Social Computing – The Next Big Thing? Or Lost Opportunity?

Social computing is taking the world by storm. Everywhere you turn there's either some advertisement on TV or poster touting a company’s Facebook or Twitter page. Organizations use social networking sites to connect with consumers that haven’t been done before. The Internet is more social. The average user spends the majority of their time on Facebook, web forums, and chat rooms. Rarely, does anyone boot up their PC just to draft an email or document. It's all about finding connections and keeping in touch with loved ones. Yet, can companies gain ROI from social computing endeavors? It's it really essential for companies to dedicate a Social Media person to be the social media cheerleader for the company? I wish I had the answer to those questions. From my experience, social media is not a full time job at least not in my current position. I only attribute approximate 10% of my daily/weekly activities to social media activities. Could I do more in this arena? Yes! However, companies have to be willing to do more than just have a presence in this space. You have to not only listen to chatter but engage people as well. You can be afraid that someone will say something negative about your company but those negative things are already being said whether it's on your Facebook page or not. For instance, Clamcase, the maker of the Bluetooth keyboard case for the iPad, learned firsthand the importance of engaging fans on Facebook after the launch of their first iPad keyboard case last year. Due to numerous issues with distribution, delivery, and faulty units, fans took to their Facebook page in disappointment. Customers wanted answers and Clamcase wasn’t any information to consumers. The amount of negative threads became so overwhelming that ClamClase removed all discussion threads from their Facebook page Clamcase reinstated the discussion threads two weeks later) In revolt, several members started up their own Facebook page to discuss the unresolved issues with Clamcase. Clamcase has since requested Facebook to pull down the fictitious Clamcase page. The moral of the story ladies and gents – no matter how you decide to live in this space you must take the good with the bad. There's always an opportunity to fix something that may be broken (Support). Social computing offers companies another channel or opportunity to provide customer support. Why not take advantage of it! 


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