Ultimately, brands need to have a role in society. The best way to have a role in society is to understand how people are talking about things in real
time.” – Jean-Philippe Maheu, chief digital officer at Ogilvy
How can companies contribute to society – by giving interesting products, by giving back to communities and by innovating, among other ways – if they do not listen to the society they are giving to?
Maheu touches on a very crucial aspect of social media, and one that is sometimes omitted in social media discussions: the fact that social media allows for real-time information to be channeled. Often, when people talk of social media and the power it has, they tend to refer to the large number of people it can reach across geographical boundaries.
One of the core aspects of social media is that, indeed, it can give a voice to anyone connected to the Internet, regardless of his or her geographical location. While that is true and very important, it is not the end of the story.
Social media channels content that is made in real-time as well, i.e., there is no separation between the time someone thought and said something on social media, and the time it was actually published on social media. Both are fused, thus whatever is voiced on the Internet today is also voiced instantly.
This real-time information has the power to change our society substantially – if listened to. As per Maheu argues, brands need to listen to real-time content on social media platforms – whether positive or negative – and turn this into constructive feedback to serve society in the best way possible.
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