Reputations at Risk
The power of social media has been a popular medium for organizations to communicate their ideas to a global audience. As our generation has shifted our attention to the use of social media, many organizations have modified their business strategies to this trend. Twitter and Facebook has emerged as the two leading social media websites and platforms for conducting “next-generation” business. While organizations have the opportunity to encourage openness and build their image, they must also be aware of the potential for risking their reputation. As David Woodward, author of “Reputations at Risk” notes, social media is two-way communication built “on the foundation of immediacy and ubiquity, social media has evolved into a radicalized moral compass, capable of destroying a brand’s reputation in seconds” (Woodward, 2010).
The advantages of two-way communication allows for organizations to express transparency, involve its consumer base, and spread information quickly and efficiently. But conversely, an organization must be aware of the consequences of any two-way conversation, especially when incorporating social media. The speed in which information is shared worldwide is instantaneous. Anyone can now express their opinion about an organization with their 255 words Facebook status or 140 words Twitter post. Negative public opinion is inevitable, and if an organization does not address these issues properly, then it could become detrimental to their image. An organization must strategically define their online presence and have clear objectives on how to incorporate this medium when conducting business. As the article stated, social media has forced change to traditional corporate behavior. No longer can an organization spend millions of dollars to convince people to think otherwise. Woodward goes on to explain, “If you spend enough money you can [convince] people that you are whatever it is that you want to be. Social media kills that assumption, because reputations can no longer be bought. People will call you on it” (Woodward, 2010). Organizations must now keep an open mind when sharing information with the online community. They must learn to approach certain situations with sensitivity and also understand permanency of anything they might post online. Woodward goes on to explain how “we’re still wired to think of gossip as something that spreads quietly behind the scenes, and relatively slowly. But we’re already in a world where it’s all completely public, there are few repercussions to the person spreading it, and it is easily searchable. It’s no wonder people freak out” (Woodward, 2010).
It may seem like a scary world for any organization, but they can adapt by accepting criticism and responding positively. They can build marketing campaigns and involve their consumers; thus empowering them and giving everyone a voice. They can build online communities which allow both dissatisfied and satisfied customers to share their views. “These customers will be your most powerful advocate because they are the most credible” (Woodward, 2010), as Woodward defines. Communication through social media is no longer a trend or fad. It is time for any organization to incorporate this medium to ensure success.
Although this article illustrates how implementing social media can have both advantages and disadvantages for an organization, I recall reading a CNN article on how social media can have similar effect on one’s career. As all of us are using Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress to build our academic and career portfolios, we must be well aware of the type of information we wish to share. Tweeting about job dissatisfaction, internal conflicts, or salaries issues may not be wise. Posting “how bored you are at work” on Facebook may lead to your dismissal. Similar to Woodward’s article we can definitely make social media work. We must exercise common sense and several etiquette tips as defined by the CNN article (Link below).
Think Before you Tweet, Ponder Before you Post!
Whose side would you take? Kimberly or Her Ex-Boss?
Feel free to leave me any comments and share your thoughts below.
Woodward, Initials. (2010). Reputation at risk.Director.co.uk, Retrieved from http://bit.ly/ltO95I