I've been swamped of late and have had very little time to write outside of work. One of the projects I'm working on right now is related to online communities and how to encourage activity, engagement and growth. There has been a lot of conversation online about social media/online communities and how brands should go down this road, if at all.
The interesting insight I've gathered is that social media/communities require brands to let go. Valeria has an interesting post on why it's difficult for Corporations to play in the social media game. Her conclusion is that so many people have to touch a corporate communications piece that it lacks a critical component: voice and opinion. What makes a community successful is that they own the space and can express their true and honest opinions.
That being said, I think if the right person, and corporation, come together and clearly look to establish an environment that fosters social media, interesting things can happen. Jeremiah Owyang of Forresters, has laid down plenty of material for getting the right social media manager on board and driving the program.
The business climate is ripe for innovation and reaching out using social media. The economic downturn will foster creative interactions as well as innovative solutions to problems. Things are not safe right now so there is nothing to lose by experimenting. That includes individuals and corporations.
I'm looking forward to experimenting, how about you?