Chris Brogan had a recent post about whether or not every conversation needs to be touched. Of course touching or engaging in every conversation that occurs across the Internet would be virtually impossible and a full-time job.
But how about when the conversation is no longer touched by the person/company that created it? It could be because they just don't have the time to engage in the conversation or that they just chose not to.
When the two-way conversation ends, is that an indication that social media doesn't scale? When I asked this question on Twitter, I received some interesting insights. Some folks thought it's okay not to respond to every comment (and I'll expand this to it's okay to not engage every conversation) and some thought that companies are already showing evidence of scaling. But the most interesting perspective, and one I hadn't thought of, came from Russ Somers. His thought was that social media scales like a party. As in you can't dance with everyone at the party, but you can throw such a great party that everyone dances with each other.
Sticking with this analogy, I'll ask how long does just being able to throw a great party last? When do the guests get tired of dancing with each other because their host can't or won't dance with them? What happens when a guest feels slighted, do they move on to the next party where the host does dance with everyone?
Analogies aside, what does this mean for businesses? If they are enticed to join the on-line conversation (social) via Web 2.0 tools (media), what happens when they can no longer provide that two-way conversation...the reason behind why they got involved in the first place?
Chris has another recent post that equates social media to café-shaped conversations as in conversations aren't suppose to scale because they are meant bite-sized.
After mulling this over for the last four days, here's the conclusion that I came to. Let me know if you agree or disagree.
Two-way conversations are not scalable. Once they reach the tipping point, two-way conversations revert back to one-way conversations (or the community conversing amongst themselves). At this point, Web 2.0 tools join the arsenal of traditional marketing tools (such as direct marketing, e-mail marketing, PR, advertising, etc.) to continue mass, one-way communication efforts.
If you agree, how can companies manage small-scale two-way conversations in such a way that they do not alienate the people that are trying to have a conversation with them?
If you disagree, how is social media scalable? Is it only a matter of building out a social media department that handles responding to blog posts or community managers to handle on-line requests?
[Image: Archives of Ontario]
Link to original post