Is Social Networking Useless?

social networkLast Thursday, Bob Bly asked his readers
whether they agreed with Kent Lewis, President of Anvil Media that social media is not an effective marketing tool. Mr. Lewis, who was interviewed by DM News, (3/2/09, p.10) stated that he saw social media networks as personal collaboration tools, rather than an information or research source. Commenting on this, Bly said that he’d tried Twitter and found it mostly a bunch of useless gab.

I agree that Twitter (and Facebook and etc.) can certainly be a giant waste of time, but there are opportunities there as well.

For example,

  • an airline sending tweets to passengers that their flight is delayed
  • a popular restaurant announcing that there are a few reservations available for that night (first tweet back, first served)
  • reporters tweeting queries to a service that broadcasts their queries (HARO)
  • a cable company using Twitter to communicate with customers having problems (and get them fixed)
  • a friend used it to get sponsors for a project
  • Tribes, which has not only connected people all over the world, but produced two e-books (group), inspired several more, plus blogs, and collaboration on real-world projects

What do you think? Waste of time? Or useful tool? Chime in!

Photo: luc legay

3 thoughts on “Is Social Networking Useless?

  1. I like your ideas. I agree with Bob Bly and Kent Lewis that for the most part, social networking, especially Twitter are mostly social, which means useless to certain types of people, but fact that lawyers, doctors, and congresspeople use Twitter religiously, the fad has a stronghold on those with power–it isn’t much different than the corporate crackberry addicts. Useful, maybe not. Used extensively, yes.

  2. For what it’s worth, I do see tremendous value in social media as a marketing tool. We practice it, preach it and live it. What I see limited value in, is social media advertising, primarily due to the lack of available inventory, passive context and general non-commercial culture of Web 2.0 communities. I want to make sure the DM News interview wasn’t misrepresented in this post, thanks.

  3. Kent, I do agree that it has value as a connection and communication tool. Like any other tool, it has to be used properly, so that those connections are meaningful. Nobody wants to “friend” Tide detergent, but frustrated cable customers do jump at the opportunity to have someone from Comcast respond to their problems on Twitter.

    Thanks for commenting and for the clarification.

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