Who is Protecting Who From What?

October 5, 2009

It is interesting to note how blogs can be used as a device to maintain outreach and connection with businesses to consumers and consumers to businesses. There was a point in time when it was really hard to get in touch with the company for anything from a simple question to a complaint. Actually, it is still really hard to get in contact with a representative to fulfill needs as simple as a request (Imagine the look on someone’s face when you give them the customer service number to complain instead of just dealing with the situation). That simple need is part of that reputation boost that companies need when deciding to engage in social media. Another aspect to note is that if a company has fault in their actions, communication within the company has to be open to fix the problem.  A lot of corporations are using blogs to provide a platform for transparency. That also means that sometimes a company fails at getting the right message out but uses communication tools and technology to address the problem and how they can fix it.

The video above provides a simple example on how effective a corporate blog can be in recapturing the image of a company and how fast a message will spread when attended to. Ed Terpening is the VP of Social Media for Wells Fargo, and he mentions that blogs are a way to provide their part of the story especially when things go wrong. Wells Fargo felt that some of their information was misleading in their AP report so they quickly posted a response on their blog. In other words, humanizing social media.

When Situations Get Rough:

A company must also be aware of complacent matters that can really affect the company with too much given information. According to Corporate Blogs and ‘Tweets’ Must Keep SEC in Mind by Cari Tuna, there lingers the question about whether blogs and tweet information run up against SEC regulations. If it does, bloggers could potentially skew the tone of voice on blogs and tweets, which interferes with transparent attitudes that consumers look for. The example of Richard Brewer Hay tweeting updates on Silicon Valley Technology’s conference poses a fear and problem because he was advised to use disclaimers to “tune” down his informative voice. Even companies like Intel Corp. are opting out of use of blogs and tweets to avoid that problem.

In the end, Tuna’s article stresses the point that companies should implement a social media policy that allows them to act within those boundaries of conduct. Going back to the video above, Terpening mentions how Wells Fargo have what they call “community guidelines” to moderate comments to keep the message in check. It’s also another way to avoid spam.

Terpening also mentions that there is information for consumers to attend to customer service matters because personal information shouldn’t be posted on a public blog. It goes to show that not all information should be posted about a company but it shouldn’t be scripted to sound like a press release. SEC Regulations are in standing for the benefits of protection.

The Media Blogs Association:

This is how you know social media is dedicated to providing the real deal. When organizations are erected to be a safety outlet for trouble to keep a check and balance. In short, the Media Blogs Association provides legal assistance to the community of bloggers that deal with legal matters. Their mission as a non-profit group is to protect citizen journalism by promoting, protecting and educating members. In Summary, there are always going to be guidelines with addressing information. It’s just a matter of how a company goes about addressing issues without sounding robotic.

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5 Responses to “Who is Protecting Who From What?”

  1. Jenn Shunfenthal said

    I think that it is great that companies are responding to crisis with blogs and communicating directly with the public. I can see how there might be difficulty to write a blog post with personality but without allowing too much personal information into the post. A blog should be something people can relate to and have a conversation about but once it sounds too much like a company’s answering machine or a broken record, the blog can’t be a tool to use. I wonder how CEOs and the people blogging for the company decide what is too personal to use and what personal anecdotes work or don’t work for posts. It would be interesting to see if consumers like more personal posts or ones that sound strictly professional.

    • Angeline Vo said

      I think when companies think too much about sounding “scripted” it’s when people can tell. There are many ways to add personality to things. I guess if some higher authority says to tune it down a little, you think, “what did I do wrong?” Thanks for your comment.

  2. Lauren Babbage said

    I am a big fan of texting, Facebook, e-mail, etc, but I do sometimes wonder how my tone is coming across…and that’s only to my friends! I sometimes wonder how “tone” effects the business world with all this new media. I have even gotten some e-mail from employers who I know are the nicest people, but their e-mail just seem short and almost rude. Now, knowing these people personally I don’t think twice about it but if I didn’t know them or if I were another corporation or business person, I think I would be a little taken back by it. I think that tone is really important in our message today and people don’t take enough time to go over that with their employees.

    • Angeline Vo said

      I think that’s why teachers tell us to make sure we address emails as formally as if writing a formal letter of intent. Also, remember when we did our group project on the paper on social media. I had a lot of trouble adjusting to tone because I didn’t really know you guys well enough yet so I didn’t know your tone of voice and how your personality worked. Not going to lie, our group is a great group. Thanks for your comment.

  3. […] Social Media Purgatory 2) What Businesses Have to do to Listen… 3) Who is Corporate Blogging? 4) Who is Protecting Who from What? 5) Where do Blogs fit into the World? 6) Where Charities Create a Voice to Meet their Mission 7) […]

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