This blog was created as my final project for the COM 425: Information Technology and Human Values class at The University of Tampa. My goal is to find out what interactive media gurus, online marketing experts and social media users like you think about the future social media marketing and its impact on the way we communicate. I really appreciate your input and thank you for dedicating your time to read and comment on this blog.
If most of you agree, after the project is finished, I will create a link to this blog from my personal website and Interactive Media and Online Marketing Blog. Please add yes/no at the end of your comment.
So, here are my thoughts:
The buzz around social media is elevating. Social networking sites are becoming popular targets for the companies striving to reach their customers in effective and, at the same time, seamless ways. Today, organizations have an opportunity to become their customers’ virtual friends and though leaders. And companies are readily stepping down from their corporate pedestals into the world of profiles, message boards, bulletins, YouTube videos and blogs.
In the introduction to its GIO 3.0 Report IBM writes “CEOs, like JetBlue’s® David Neelman, post videos directly to YouTube.™ General Motors® executives communicate directly to customers and other stakeholders through blogs. These days it seems as if every company, organization, and individual—be it a billion-dollar multinational, a local government, or a person with a passion—is navigating the new communications landscape and experimenting with blogs, video, and custom publishing.”
MySpace is already populated with the B-C companies’ profiles and profiles of the virtual characters that project brand images and endorse products and services. LinkedIn and Squidoo give B-B companies a chance to establish themselves as industry experts. Second Life has taken social networking even further and allowed companies to not only to connect, but to meet their potential and current customers in the cyber space, invite them to events, sell them virtual products… so on.
As a young professional getting ready to start my career in online marketing, I understand what a successful social media strategy means to a company’s bottom line. At the same time, as a Facebook and MySpace user, I feel a little uncomfortable about big companies entering the world of social networking.
When I created my Facebook profile four years ago I knew that other users were college students, professors and staff members. Three years later, Facebook decided to go for a big buck and ‘tainted’ mine and millions of other profiles with junky widgets, promotions and banners adds - something that MySpace has been long known for. Today, companies are going even further. By creating profiles on social networking sites they are winning our trust and becoming a part of the crowd.
Don’t get me wrong. Many YouTube videos, corporate profiles, sponsored blogs and more are fun and informative. The rock climbing gym that I go to has its MySpace profile, and I am happy to have it as my ‘friend’ to connect with other climbers and stay informed about upcoming trips and events.
My question is, if companies will fully embrace social media as their marketing tool, then what will be left to us, average users, to connect and communicate with each other?