We’re still sifting through the wash from the recent panel discussion about Online Social Networking, presented by Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition. (Riger’s Jamie Jacobs and Pete Cronk participated.)

Previous RigerJabber blogposts on the event have dwelt on what the panelists said. But some important things were said by audience members, to be sure.

One attendee, representing a financial institution, described how much effort and investment went into creating online social networking channels for her organization.

Only to have things evolve, she moaned, to where her boss has directed that all these be shut down. It seems, for example,  the comments from Facebook page visitors had included not just the good and the bad, but the ugly, too. Really ugly. And the ugly seemed to provoke a lot of spiraling heat really fast, like an accelerant at a fire. With the result that a deluge of negativity and misinformation flowed on the page, and out of the institution’s control, for the most part, she felt.

The panelists emphasized that Facebook and most other OSNW tools do have controls, allowing the page administrator to delete posts deemed out-of-bounds. This, of course, requires time, attention and some know-how. Without that human intervention, you risk the kind of headache she had described.

Further, panelists advised her, the astute page administrator can “turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse,” addressing the legitimate concerns of the page’s visitors and winning a skirmish here and there in the public’s perception of the institution. Again, though, lots of time, attention — and judgment —  required to bring this off. But it’s in the nature of the beast when it comes to the two-way nature of the social networking tools so popular today, the panel members emphasized.

Additionally, the beleaguered audience member said, her organization’s information technology people became alarmed that the wave of Facebook visits, coming as a good portion did from disgruntled individuals, potentially constituted a security threat to their IT network. One other audience member, from a local information technology resources company, stressed that there are many types of protection against such vulnerability, and offered his services to the administrator.

Hey, that kind of help is what old-time, in-the-flesh, elbow-rubbing networking is all about!

Be sure to follow STOC on Facebook.

Also see “Which networking tool suits you?” , “How much time can you afford to spend on Online Social Networking?” and “What’s ‘personal’ and what’s ‘business’ in OSNW?” , elsewhere in this blog. And, periodically re-visit RigerJabber for more “take-aways” from the STOC panel discussion, appearing in coming weeks.

Which social media tool is right for your business? For a brief overview of the OSNW toolbox, (authored by Riger’s Jamie Jacobs), see below for “From Tweets to Blogs: Social Media Strategizing for Your Business.”


Peter Cronk, Managing Partner