There are many who see commercial companies and their PR reconnaissance staff as a bad thing for the web. Coming online and whoring various crappy products and services. Influencing bloggers by buying them a few drinks. Silencing critics by giving them a few freebies. I don’t agree. I see commercial companies joining the online space as a good thing but maybe not for them if they want to keep their comfortable status quo. The more the web is about everyone, the better. We need a realistic cross-section online like we have offline.
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter are a cult and we have the opportunity to brainwash so many companies into becoming truly open sourced in terms of IP and of attitude. Social media is infectious. Get close to it enough times and you’re a convert. A company will start blogging and Twittering and infecting itself despite all their internal rules. This social media cancer will come in and bit by bit will replace the rules based and rules drive old school attitudes with the idea that sharing is fun. All of a sudden the CEO is blogging and having conversations with other CEOs and all done in public. Customer support is done in public, metrics are shared in public. Look at the Conservatives’ website where they now share expense claims live on the web.You can even subscribe to them!
Look at how the best cults work. They are open to new members, they welcome them and nurture them while introducing their beliefs and livestyles and all of a sudden you have a convert. Then you get the convert to convert people.
So if you’re a company with bad customer service and you expect that to continue, that does not want to hear what people are saying about you and wants to dictate to the public, not have the public help run your organisation, then stay away from the web, it’ll kill you. Block Facebook, block blogs and especially block Twitter. All it takes is one person in your org to get converted and the illusionary walls you created for your fortress company will come tumbling down. Koolaid anyone?