Social Media Criticism

26Mar10

I am feeling burned by a combination of poor customer service and Web 2.0 technology. I signed up for a workshop with one of my professional associations. This group has dived into Web 2.0 in a big way, as I registered online for the workshop and paid with PayPal. Or so I thought, as the group took my $20 fee but did not inform me that the workshop was postponed. I had a valid e-mail attached to the PayPal account and, to my knowledge, neither the registrar nor the treasurer tried to contact me. I only found out about the postponement when I e-mailed the day of the event to say I could not make it. Otherwise, I would have showed up at the venue and found no one there.

I am not mad about the money, but I am angry and disappointed at the breakdown in communication, and the lack of customer service. There was no apology about “cashing my cheque” without delivering the goods. I will think twice about whether I am attending another event now. This group has a Facebook page which included details of the event. Was I supposed to confirm via that route? Not everyone has a Facebook account, and I use mine very sparingly. Also, many organizations disallow Facebook (or any other form of social media) access from work computers.

I liked what Jordan Furlong said about creating FB fan pages, and some commercial sites have been successful. However, I really feel that an ineffective, poor use of Web 2.0 for marketing a nonprofit group’s event is more detrimental to the cause than beneficial. I read with great interest about social media being criticized as diluting relationships (The Social Media Bubble at Harvard Business Review). I especially liked the March 23 comment of Thatwoman_Soho (fifth down the page).

We are navigating unchartered waters with social media. As with all things, some thought and planning into how to use them effectively goes a long way to genuinely engaging people so they become fans, instead of creating the disgruntled or even alienated groups.

~ Brenda

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