The Pew Research finding that the reaction to an event on Twitter is often very different to actual public opinion isn’t a big surprise is it? It seems to me that spending any time on your chosen social media channel – and specifically Twitter – makes that fact self evident.
It’s one of the great things about social media, anyone has a voice, and also one of the drawbacks of social media, anyone has a voice.
From a marketing perspective social media often resembles a big virtual medicine show. Along with news, humor and sane views there’s a universe of self-styled gurus peddling their miracle cure to your personal or organizational ills. It’s easy to spot.
Whether it’s the wizard who offers advice on how social media will drive organizational change for example in HR, even though they’ve never worked in HR; or the endless Monday morning quarterbacking on other people’s work, when the quarterbacks often have absolutely no experience of dealing with the issue they’re dissecting or no insight into the specific issues the company is dealing with.
These people are better known for words than deeds. In Ireland there’s a great old adage that captures this: ‘show us your medals’.
So this week when I read about two such ‘thought leaders’ leaving one social media tool or another for a multitude of reasons which included things like ‘doesn’t match my personal values’ I sighed.
In a good way.
Social Media companies, on the whole, are in business to make money or get a juicy exit. That’s how the capitalist system works. Most of you are not willing to pay for it (look at the limited success of app.net with 11,000 backers) up front, so these channels will make their money through advertising and the advertising is based on, surprise, surprise what you do and say on social media. There are privacy concerns of course, and most of the sites have to be up front on privacy and how you can retain yours, but you know what? Nobody seems to care a lot.
So normal people use these social tools, as tools. They find information, share information, connect with people, keep up with breaking news and issues. It’s not rocket science. It’s social media.
The findings from Pew Research point that marketers would be well advised to focus on understanding who and where their audience is, and spend less time worrying about the hot air.