Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Up in the Air about social media

As part of the #noworkallowed weekend, I finally managed to see "Up In the Air". The movie, for me, lived up to all the hype and lived up to its expectations.

So George Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham, the traditionalist, is being cornered by new media and its  Jenny-come-lately advocate, Anne Kendricks' character, Natalie Keener. In an effort to make the business leaner and meaner, Natalie has suggested doing what they do via the internet. The problem is, they fire people for a living. Can you imagine, walking into a room, and being told you were being separated from the company you have given 20 years of your life to, riddled with all the anxiety and other emotions which come with professional uncertainty, in the middle of an economic downturn, via a pc monitor?

Anyone can build a Twitter following, or a Facebook page or what have you. There are some companies who have thousands of people following them via social media, yet there is no real engagement. It's all about being out there, selling a product or a service, watching the numbers grow, hopefully convert all these people to sales. The last bit is the crux of the matter, isn't it? A great looking page and great looking content will be for nothing if the human element is missing. I think the "social" part of social media often gets forgotten, especially when social media teams have to convince management, who are not always on the social media bandwagon, of the relevance of these new media strategies to their bottom line. But in my estimation, the bottom line has to involve the customers and not just their statistical data but the personalities, the ideas, unique perspectives and innovation behind the dollar signs that we are brainwashed to see in corporate life. Especially since marketing cannot win without the whole team on board and the whole team involves the organisation and its customers. The tools should be conduits for engagement, interaction, listening, exchanging and all those action words that are a part of who we are.

Additionally, the technologies cannot override human interaction, so while video conferences with employees may be cost efficient and time efficient for some executives, where is that feeling of real engagement with those who help drive your mission and vision? And though I can easily tweet questions to a service rep online, I am still always going to crave that interaction with the person on the other side of the monitor. Especially when you tweet a question and no response is forthcoming.

The movie also raised some other issues related to love and relationships, but this is not that kinda blog. :-)


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