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We can be our own worst enemies

A blog is usually entertaining, informative and interactive; all three of which I want this printed equivalent to be – with your help. I have a list of things that interest me, confuse me or just get up my nose, but I also want to know what’s exercising your mind at the moment. Email me with your thoughts and I’ll see if we can tackle some of them.

The first subject I want to look at – mainly because we are considering ourselves and I keep getting bombarded with emails telling me to embrace it – is social media. Quite frankly I am in at least two minds about the whole thing.

For companies thinking of getting into the likes of Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, it is very tempting to look at them as an extension of the website, or even a website lite, but they do a completely different job and are infinitely more dangerous.

I used to think the most dangerous thing about social media was what other people could post on your wall – people with a grudge, unscrupulous rivals and so on, but recent events show it is we ourselves that can be the greatest danger.

The real power of social media comes when your musings are picked up and re-tweeted or re-posted to the point where your thoughts are transmitted around the world in a matter of minutes.

The danger is that their gossipy nature and informality lulls you into a sense that you are just having a chat with a few mates, so the temptation is always there to relax your self-censorship.

I have read a number of comments in the social media where people have obviously forgotten that their ad hoc thoughts can be read by anyone on the planet. The police and the press have both realised this and have made good use of it over the past few months.

So, while social media can bring a whole new dimension to a company’s marketing, we have to remember that there is no real difference between tweeting or posting and issuing a press release. We, like other companies, go through strict proofreading and approvals procedures before issuing a press release, but few people would dream of going through the same process for a tweet; the very immediacy and informality cry out against it.

However, the fact is that, while posts and tweets can be deleted, what has been said cannot be unsaid. The post will have already been e-mailed or texted to some followers almost instantaneously.

We all need to be mindful of the impact and speed of postings, so don’t get caught out. In cyberspace, everyone can hear you scream.

Julian Brunnock is sales and marketing director for FG Eurofred, the UK face of Fujitsu. Email Julian at julian.brunnock@fgeurofred.co.uk.

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