Digital Social Darwinism

Tomorrow, October 28, will mark the 6th anniversary of Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of Facemash, the invention that became the site with 300 million monthly users called Facebook.  At yesterday’s panel at McGraw-Hill in New York, co-authors Paul Argenti and Courtney Barnes (Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communication), hosted a discussion playfully entitled “Social Darwinism.”  Like the intrepid socio-nauts they are, the panelists swore fealty to the importance of social media and their transformative powers but to this observer there was a just barely discernable air of anxiety in the room.  Is there an ROI for corporations using social/digital media?  What sort of resource allocation is appropriate?  What kind of conversation should corporations be having online now that “relationships” have replaced “communication?”

At least in the case of Facebook, corporations seem to have decided to bypass the conversation.  An August 2009 survey of Fortune 100 companies by Burson-Marsteller revealed that almost three quarters of these companies (71 percent) have no official Facebook page or their page is inactive. 

Some have argued that this makes sense, that with a few notable exceptions (Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Nike), most companies will not find the right “communities of interest” on Facebook.  Others believe that the right professional connection can’t be forged on Facebook because Facebook members are psychologically and emotionally in the kitchen wearing pajamas.

We think there’s a Willie Sutton problem here (300 million is a lot of people) but we also think corporations haven’t developed a model for having a truly valuable social media conversation.  More on this tomorrow.

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One Response to “Digital Social Darwinism”

  1. Digital Social Darwinism « Disturbing Conventions - Burson-Marsteller Watch Says:

    […] Read the whole article […]

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