Sunday, November 22, 2009

Social Media in the Land of Oz

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends make a difficult and perilous trek to see the great and all-powerful Wizard. At the end of their journey, they find that the power they sought resided within themselves and that the Wizard wasn't really all that or a bag of chips.

How often have you contacted a company and thought, "Who on earth is handling their customer support?" or worse, "Is there anyone in charge of this at all?"

The truth is, for many companies, there is no one at all behind the contact curtain. Or the great and almighty Wizard is probably an intern.

As a customer, we'd like to think that a company's Social Media is being handled by their best and most powerful Wizards. After all, every company spends money and time telling you that *you* are their most important resource. What would the Wizard be, if Dorothy and the others hadn't bothered trying to see him? The truth was that the Wizard was a rather inadequate man, with less resources than the average Munchkin.

Then there is Dorothy. Although her goal is to get the hell out of Oz, along the way she makes a number of friends and allies. She does this by talking with them, telling them her story and her goal. She's totally real and human. Logically, you'd think the denizens of Oz would be a little offended at someone who so clearly wanted to be somewhere else but, like most of us, they start pulling for the little guy and support Dorothy.

Big companies look like the Wizard to us. They have giant towers and loud voices that bellow over broadcast media, telling us how great and beneficent they are.

But it's Dorothy who uses Social Media - not the Wizard - and, as a result, she's the one who leads the way.

Think this is a ridiculous parable? Just for fun, replace Dorothy in this post with "Apple" and see what happens in your head.
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