Social media: a solution in search of a problem

Look, I’m as enthusiastic about social media as the next geek.

But c’mon.

Deloitte US jumps on IBM’s bandwagon and holds a video competition where employees are asked “to make short videos that answered the question “What’s your Deloitte?”.

Ernst & Young, not to be outdone, decides to – hey – hold a video competition which invites students to “conceive, shoot and submit videos by Dec. 1, the best of which will be posted to the company’s Facebook page and used in next year’s campus recruiting campaign.”  and – woohoo – the top prize is the chance to go on a business trip with the CEO (read the press release here).

There are supposed to the smartest companies in the world. Is that really the best they can do? No disrespect to the winners, who are no doubt clever and creative, but is it just me, or is this all just a bit… ephemeral? 

Let’s back up a minute here.

Back in June my boss Pete got a kicking live on stage at Simply Communicate’s Social Media and Engagement conference, for showing a (damn good, by the way) straightforward corporate video which did a serious business job. Nooo – too old fashioned, not 2.0 enough. The lovely Marc Wright opines:

The question is – where does the glossy video fit in the new media landscape?  Currently the advertising world of commercials is uncertain whether to embrace the world of user-generated content or just give them the keys to the agency. What does the arrival of social media inside organisations mean for the corporate video industry?

Well, six months later it seems that social media inside organisation means a singular lack of nerve. Where is the innovation? Where is the unlocking of knowledge to actually benefit the business?

Social media, and user generated video offers a better way to get into people’s heads than ever before.

The problem, as I riposted to Marc back in June is this: we as communicators need to find a way to use it for something.

Social media as we know it now is, perhaps, a foretaste of a revolution up there with Gutenberg. Personally, I want to use it for something more significant, more useful, more quantifiable than PR puffing. While my Big Client UGC thing s-l-o-w-l-y gets off the ground, I’m looking for a client with the nerve to surf the wave. A client with experience and opinion and knowledge and energy trapped on the frontline, deep in the silo. A client who trusts their employees. A client willing to bet a very small amount of £££ on something with the biggest potential in the world.

 Sound like you?


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