Brands are not using social media to spy

By Charlotte | 

07 Jun 10 | 

Category: Uncategorized

Privacy on social networks is increasingly of concern as Facebook changes its policies again and again and again

Your tweets on Twitter are public unless you choose to hide them

Conversations on blogs are referenced by Google and other search engines on a regular basis

YouTube has become the second largest search engine online

Time Magazine recently wrote about how Facebook is redefining privacy

Since mid-April we’ve known that the US Library of Congress will be archiving all public tweets

How, then, did the MailOnline post an article accusing brands that monitor the web of spying on their customers?

We joked just last week about the French coming to London and following everything you say, but we are fairly certain that everyone reading knew that the comment was tongue-in-cheek. Synthesio’s first listening service, Consumer, was launched in June of 2006, and we have been increasingly adding new features and customization possibilites since then to allow our clients to monitor the web in coordination with their digital strategies, desires to know more about their online reputation, crisis monitoring, digital campaigns, etc.

While we cannot comment on the practices of other social media monitoring firms, Synthesio only collects information that is already publicly available. These conversations are available to anyone willing to search for them. Our technology simply provides a more accessible manner of surveying online word-of-mouth and categorizing it into user-friendly reports and dashboards that can be used by any number of departments.

An Etailing survey of 117 companies published in September 2009 showed that customer reviews are the most effective social tactic for driving sales, followed by question-and-answer features and a Facebook fan page where companies post information. Why wouldn’t a company want to listen to what their customers are saying online?

We’ve seen positive examples of social media monitoring being used for:

  • customer service
  • product innovation
  • safer products (crises alerts due to faulty products)
  • customer engagement
  • etc.

What is especially interesting is that the article in question points out, itself, positive feedback that certain brands have had because they are listening to conversations online.

Internet users should be wary of information that they decide to share online, but equating online monitoring to Big Brother is a bit outdated, don’t you think?

In any case, check out Alex Brown’s reponse (part of  the customer experience team at Virgin Media) to MailOnline and leave us your thoughts and reactions below.

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