The recent scandal with BetaPunch got me thinking about something I take for granted. When I use social media as Fox Box I try my best to be friendly and personal – when I deal with a company I like them to treat me like a person, not a number.

It seems so blatantly obvious to me but the very idea seems to be alien to most companies. They might be perfectly friendly in person but put them in front of a Twitter client and they turn all “professional”.

I use the term “professional” because it’s what I think of when it comes to the tone of writing. Press releases are often written like this for no reason other than tradition (or if there is a better reason it’s unknown to me). Really though it’s cold, uninteresting, and frankly condescending.

After all, the person writing it is human just like the person reading it. Somewhere along the line though the person/s writing seem to lose sight of the fact that humans are social animals and like to interact. It becomes less about creating an understanding and more about being as impersonal as possible.

The question I find myself asking is “What are they trying to achieve?”

After all when companies post these things they’re trying to communicate and generate a positive impression. They’re not posting because they’re bored, they’re posting because it furthers their goals.

(This is true of organisations too, not just companies, but I don’t feel like digging up some examples of those right now.)

A few companies are getting it though but change is slow. I don’t actually like O2 but even I thaw reading how they handled a bit of a crisis six months ago.

Customer (@24vend_Ltd): "@O2 had to travel to Italy to get signal -- desperate times!!!"

O2 response: "You can come back now. We're back in business :)"

I would imagine that by the time companies start to understand that the digital world changes things they’ll be playing catch up on something else.

My only problem with social media is that I don’t post enough. I was hoping my colleague would be able to pick up the slack on that but I think she’s going to be moving on to bigger and better things soon. Anyone want to handle social media stuff for me? The pay isn’t good but the work is hard!

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