Tuesday, May 5, 2009

First Time Caller: Social Media Squawkback

I had an interesting conversation yesterday and it's really got me thinking
I was presenting some social media options as part of a communications plan and explaining the importance of social media tools for media monitoring.

"You now have a feedback loop on your communication channels that you need to manage. Social media monitoring. Important."

Very experienced media relations exec and former journo then floored me.
"Isn't it like talkback radio though. You don't really care what some random caller says. You're only worried about the main commentators."

My immediate response was 'of course you care'. The power of the individual, referrals and trust and involvement and tribal influencers. How do you truly measure the effectiveness of your communications without listening to the feedback?

Her response was disturbingly logical

"When I was media manager for [large sports team], people would parrot stuff at you off two or three commentators. A couple of sports jocks set the agenda. Why bother with the rest?"

It's the clutter argument. And it's a good one

I've often thought of microblogging, like Twitter, as being very "talkback radio". Each username has their own little media platform and they talk, and talk, and talk.
There's not a lot of "long time listener" going on and everyone's got something to say.
  1. Are you more worried about what the host says or about what the callers say?
  2. How does this translate in social media?
  3. Is the host and caller metaphor accurate or is the communication flow different?

My small brain is still processing and I don't know the answer
The resource requirement for running a CIA style social media phone tapping operation would be massive and surely outweigh any benefit. Maybe just pick off the loudest drum bangers and get alongside them. Ignore the background static. Turn 'comment moderation' on and polish up the rest?

Love to hear your thoughts on this callers-talk to me now--hello?