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Blog Monitoring – who is watching who?

August 7, 2007

watching.gif  Social media – blogs, forums are great ways to share ideas, share information, have a discussion, or organize people around a common goal or interest.   It can be likened to a window to the world.

Now, let’s put a reflective coating on one side to make it one-way glass.  There, you have monitoring and analysis of social media.      Suppose you could know what people are saying about you?  Would you choose to know?    Searching for online posts or discussion about you, whether “you” are an individual or an organization of any kind, is using the internet as a one way mirror.   You can see them, but they can’t see you.  

How will you use this?

Strategy 1: – Secretly, subtly amending your approach while continuing to observe the ensuing reactions in the audience.  Keep your agenda to yourself.  This approach requires patience, and relatively long lead times.  You must be willing to let stand, whatever is said.

Strategy 2: – Remove the one-way coating and begin interacting with the relevant discussions wherever you find them.    But engaging the audience changes the discussion in many ways.  By showing up, you just blew your cover.  Now, people know your watching, listening.  Imagine having a conversation with a friend about someone else, and as soon as you mentioned their name, they appeared, and knew everything you just said.  

Obviously, that would be quite a surprise, until it isn’t.  The more common social media becomes, the more it becomes a channel like picking up the phone or sending an email.    So, if every time you are mentioned, you show up, people begin to expect it.  They begin to use blogs and forum posts as a way to signal for attention, instead of using traditional methods.   And why not?   While expense challenges are eroding the quality of primary systems, like call centers that respond to phone and email, companies are beginning to invest in social media relations.  

Avatars and screen names provide temporary anonymity for individuals, and provide a one way glass capability from the other direction.  The ability to post with impunity, a particular point of view.    A blogger, or forum member may be tempted to add dimension, and credibility to their posts, by embedding verbatim copies of email or other documents exchanged with parties they are posting about.   However, doing so, removes the one way effect, and virtually unmasks the blog or forum member.  The parties they are writing about, may now be able to follow the trail of privileged information and connect the dots.

These factors suggest a strategy is required for all those operating within the sphere of social media.   Consider the likely consequences of the activities of today upon the aspirations of tomorow.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2007 12:48 am

    In the end it all leads to transparency; both ways. It forces companies to be better at taking care of their customers; on the other hand need to be more honest; else the noise level will grow too much and everyone (users and companies) will stop paying attention.

    In the end you can always simplify to some basics:
    -People like honest conversations
    -People like to feel they are being listened to
    -People like their problems taken care of.

    The rest is just communication “channels”, and appropriate use of them; which is not simple at all, but it would take a comment too long to post here.

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