The discussion seems to come up at different companies whether they should blog, use Twitter, build a Facebook app and so on. I thought I’d express my views on it.
Generally, I don’t think it’s a good thing. Why? Simple – because it’s very seldom genuine. All these companies see the popularity of different ways of social networking and immediately start thinking:
How can we make money out of this?
Well, to begin with, perhaps not everything is primarily about making money. If you have nothing to say, and no burning ambition to share certain things in your company’s name, just don’t. Really.
Just like Paul Boag mentions in #5 in his great article You Are Wasting Money On Social Networking, it’s really good that companies acknowledge social networking, but that doesn’t mean it has to be done in the name of your company.
Overall, I think it also comes down to authenticity. With a corporate blog, almost all of them are restricted from completely free speech by their managers, CEOs and corporate lawyers. Every step, every word has to be carefully considered, usually resulting in some bland and lukewarm postings.
Take a fantastic person like Molly. Her writings are so truly genuine and personal, and, most important of all, true and honest! By acting that way, she might’ve crossed some lines for some, but at the same time it convinces you that she won’t fake or hide her opinions, but instead becomes completely trustworthy person and human being.
Look at the wonderful Freedom, Justice and a Disturbingly Gaping Ass ! It is a thoroughly entertaining piece, but also a great example of a number of different Internet social phenomenon that anyone should study. Would you see that in a company blog? I think not.
Individuals, not companies
Don’t get me wrong, I love when people want to share through blogs, Twitter etc, I just have a hard time with it being forced and pushed out. If it’s not fueled by a 100% interest and the need to do it, the result will never become good.
Therefore, all people who personally want to use any sort of social networking to build your personal brand, discuss your expertise or just briefly mention that you’re currently taking a shit, go crazy!
But if you plan on doing it on a company’s behalf, very few get past the point of soulless and non-personal. So really, consider if that’s truly what you want.
What’s your view on corporate social networking?