Get Online and Get Funky

The challenge for marketers in using social media, as we have said before, is that their message can be co-opted by consumers.  An abhorrent thought for most marketers who have not yet figured out how to stay on top of the conversation and make it work to their advantage.  One of the reasons that they may fear negativity is because of what a new report refers to as “cyberdisinhibition”.  This is a snazzy way of saying what you already know – that people tend to unleash their most negative thoughts in the most negative way on a machine that can’t talk back. Euro RSCG Worldwide prepared a whitepaper in November, “Social Life and Social Media”, and most of what’s in the paper is no news to any of us.  But the online empowerment of ordinary humans is a truism that should give marketers some pause.  “Exactly one-fifth of respondents in the Euro RSCG Worldwide survey had lashed out about or at companies or their brands thanks to the anonymity of some electronic media. Almost half (48.7 percent) had met new people, and almost one-third (31.5 percent) had felt empowered to do something they had been wanting to do….The more interactions happen online, with no direct offline contact, the more likely they are to tilt toward extreme behavior. It’s important to blend both online and offline elements.”  And here’s the key take-away: As a marketer you create a piece of the conversation but remember that the interaction is really between people – the brand can become a part of that interaction, but if it seems purposeful, it will fail.

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