I’m watching with interest today a post written my my friend Danny Brown yesterday about a fake Twitter site. You can go read the post, and the comments if you like (WARNING: some of the comments contain some off-colour language).
This isn’t a post about the fake Twitter site, and it’s not a post about the silly comments it generated from the fake-Twitter site creators and their friends. This is a post about you.
In his post, Danny asks a very pertinent question – what if suddenly, someone took over your personal or professional brand (or your client’s) and started posing on social networks, saying all the wrong things, treating people badly or spreading untruths about you and your brand?
Think about it. You’ve worked for months, maybe a year or more, on creating a “social media” marketing strategy for your client. (Forget that you shoudn’t be creating marketing strategies focused on only social media, but that’s another post.) Then one day, a few Google searches reveal that someone is trying to damage you or your client through a fake ID, or a fake site. As Danny points out in his post, it would be pretty easy to do with the kind of thing the fake Twitter site was doing (it’s since been shut down, but that’s another story too).
The smart marketers are building contingency and damage control plans into their media strategies to counteract these kinds of threats. I’m not too worried about them. But the whole idea’s got me thinking on an even larger scale.
Forget impostors. What if suddenly, Twitter was gone? Or Facebook? Ning? WordPress? Sure, it’s unlikely these tools will just disappear. But what if?
Companies, agencies and individuals are putting thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and a ton of blood, sweat and tears into building their marketing strategies around a bunch of free tools, created by a bunch of people they don’t know. What strikes me is that people put all their faith into the tools without a second thought, but when it comes to each other, it’s about building trust and relationships over the long term. Shouldn’t we be subjecting the social media tools we’re using to the same kind of scrutiny to which we subject each other?
Why do we have so much faith that these tools are even going to be around next week, let alone next year? Who is to say that they don’t crumple under their own weight, get eaten up by some giant corporation, or simply, that something better comes along? All of these things are happening now – yet people still continue to focus all their efforts around the tools.
So what’s the solution? How do we stop relying so much on these tools and get on to the real work? Well, the good news is you don’t have to hire some fancy consultant to figure it out, because I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Social media is not about the tools.