Social Media Battle Royale

Is it just me or are we living in incredibly divisive times?

Upon reading this week’s Advertising Age story – “Forget Twitter” – I was reminded of the old Ken-L Ration commercials:

My dog’s faster than your dog,
My dog’s bigger than yours.

My dog’s better ’cause he gets Ken-L Ration,

My dog’s better than yours.

Does Ad Age and/or Abbey Klaassen really believe that we should just forget about Twitter and Facebook now that a couple of corporate executives have figured out that online product reviews are nifty channels of communication? Apparently they do.

According to the story, “for all the ink spilled on the importance of Twitter and Facebook as feedback and customer-service channels, there’s another social-media tool marketers are increasingly finding useful, not just as an online-shopping tool but as an internal, culturally changing consumer-criticism channel: the humble product review.”

Sheesh, that’s high praise for a tool that has been around for more than a century. Ad Age does know that product reviews are not a new idea, right? Well, maybe not.

Regardless, was it necessary for Ad Age and/or Abbey Klaassen to throw the formidable tag team of Twitter and Facebook under the bus just to shower praise on Product Reviews? According to the story, the problem is that Twitter “conversation” and Facebook “chatter” are interesting and important, but not structured.

So, if I tweet my network that Key Bank sucks because they place a 24-hour hold on my deposits, but process my debits in real time, that is not something you can wrap your arms around? Or how about this: If I tweet a link to a product review on Amazon, allowing even more people to see it, does it not have tangible value? Or if I update my Facebook wall about the great time I had at The Melting Pot in Raleigh, NC, will it not resonate?

In point of fact, isn’t any channel of communication that allows organizations to learn more about their constituents (internal and external) important? What about the incoming phone call to customer service? What about the quiet e-mail or the fax or the letter or the business reply card? Aren’t they all important?

As the Ad Age article clearly explains, product reviews are easy to find, easy to read and easy to interpret (they are “structured” and “transparent”). In short, they are the low lying fruit. But I think it is naive and foolish to so readily dismiss other channels of social media simply because they present a challenge. And let’s not ignore the traditional channels; they remain robust and vital sources of insider information.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.