Organizations and individuals alike are considering, debating, even mocking social media, as was evident on 630CHED‘s Lesley Primeau show tonight.
Why would anyone put their brand at risk when the common perception by an outsider like Primeau is that the social web is a complete waste of time? I wish I could say that the majority of people out there understand social media, with the clear exception of Edmonton talk show host Lesley Primeau. However, if I was to say that I’d be in serious error, (not the first time). The fact remains that Primeau and those like her are still the majority, although many continue to open their minds to the possibilities.
At the heart of many social media discussions I’ve had with business people is the issue of “self-preservation.” With that in mind, an interesting example of this took place tonight. Some of the local Edmonton Twitter community, myself included rallied around and defended our passion for the use of said micro-blogging platform and that of other social media. Some of this rallying was in direct support of Edmonton’s social media community spokespeople @mastermaq and @britl and the fact that they were put on the defensive by Primeau. “Companies don’t pay people to forward their social agenda, you can’t tell me they’re actually working,” said Primeau during a flurry of generally negative opinions regarding the use of social media and Twitter.
It’s pretty clear from my tweets that I didn’t agree with everything Primeau said on the show. In one instance, I also mentioned that I would have preferred that Mack and Brittney respect and reward those who kindly responded to their pleas for online reaction by mentioning said people by Twitter handle. Kind of a little thing but I just thought that would have been a cool touch. That’s the great thing about Canada, everyone can have an opinion and social media enables me to express it. Just a reminder to everyone, including myself – one should always remember that “we are what we share.”
Sharing information and thoughts within the social web can lead to simple cooperation, it can also lead to the organization of individuals into collectives, groups, tribes, communities. Tonight Primeau united some of the Edmonton Twitter community into a micro-tribe as a direct result of her lack of social media understanding. This effect can be a positive one and it can also be negative. People online can organize into “mobs” and attack. I wouldn’t say that happened tonight, however, that certainly happened recently with MLA Doug Elniski.
In fact, some might say this blog post and my opinions expressed on Twitter this evening could be categorized as overtly negative. Even my friend @gadgetgreg on one occasion calmly asked me to “be nice!” (Sorry Greg, Primeau just got me all riled up.)
My study of the social web over the last five years has taught me several things and one is that there’s almost always someone who’s going to be offended for some reason at some time about some thing. Some appreciate @mastermaq for his claims that he doesn’t care about other’s opinions regarding what he says online, which tonight oddly enough opened the door to a Primeau comment regarding narcism that was a follow-up to a caller comment regarding the use of Twitter. When asked by Primeau if he regretted anything he’s said online, he responded. “about the only thing would be spelling mistakes.”
I’ve always said you have to be brave to enter the social web and @mastermaq and @britl are certainly that. Not only for representing the Edmonton social media community as spokespeople and experts to Primeau’s audience but also for defending the position of all of us who have immersed ourselves into various online communities and eco-systems for business or pleasure. An activity that Primeau clearly sees little to no value in.