Sites: GlobalSpec.com | GlobalSpec Electronics | CR4 | Electronics360
Login | Register
The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®


Engineering Communications

Engineering Communications is the place for conversation and discussion about communicating effectively at work.

Previous in Blog: Designing Data Dashboards   Next in Blog: Communication - a Voyage of Experience
Close

Comments Format:






Close

Subscribe to Discussion:

CR4 allows you to "subscribe" to a discussion
so that you can be notified of new comments to
the discussion via email.

Close

Rating Vote:







21 comments

Social Media: CR4 in NYC

Posted June 07, 2009 4:45 PM by Steve Melito

Last month, three CR4 bloggers took an early-morning train ride to New York City. Chris Leonard, Sharkles and Moose boarded the 5 AM train in Rensselaer for a two-hour ride along the Hudson River to New York's Penn Station. From there, the trio walked several blocks to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), the site of "Social Communications: The Case Studies, Conferences and Roundtables."

Who Cares About Social Communications?

Social communications (or "social media" as it is commonly known) is hot, hip, and disruptive. Traditionally, businesses implemented branding, product development, public relations, and customer service strategies with a top-down approach. Many still do. The Marketing Department crafts and controls the message, orchestrates and regulates customer feedback, and keeps its hand on the wheel at all times. Not so with social communications.

Thanks to Web sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube (and, yes, even CR4), your company's customers could be having a conversation about you and without you. Sometimes, their whispering can grow to a din. That's what Southwest Airlines was concerned about when a Twitterer named Beaker tweeted about how a recent flight to Philadelphia "sucked the big one".

Beaker Tweets and an Airline Listens

The first-time SWA flier complained about how his plane was late and his luggage got lost. Although Beaker didn't address his tweet (that's what you call your posts on Twitter) to Southwest, the airline monitors such social communications. The next morning, the passenger who once called US Airways "US Scareways" discovered a very public message addressed personally to him.

@Beaker Sorry to hear about your flight—weather was terrible in the NE. Hope you give us a second chance to prove that Southwest=Awesomeness.

I'm So Gonna Blog About This

So what did Beaker do with this apology? He blogged about it. More importantly, he gave the airline a second chance, thanking SWA for its "attention" while telling his own audience "we'll see how you (SWA) do on my return flight today".

Later, the Twitterer wrote about how "the flight back was great" and how his "Southwest Twitter experience wasn't just a single fire and forget incident". Upon his return to New Hampshire, Beaker found this tweet from Southwest Airlines.

@Beaker You're totally in our cyber A boarding group. Hope your flight was nothing but "awesomeness" today.

Tales Like This in Times Like These

Tales like this in times like these were a big part of the reason why three CR4 bloggers boarded that early-morning train to New York City last month. In future entries in the Engineering Communications blog, we'll share more of what we learned – and why it matters to you and your business.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Transcendia
Posts: 2972
Good Answers: 93
#1

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/07/2009 6:00 PM

For three or four years I rode that train from Penn Station to Rochester New York at least once a month.

Really what you did was take a trip together on a train and hang out with some people.

That is a good trip.

Troy could be better if CR4 had a yearly convention, with a traincar trip as you had in the schedule.

There is no substitute for personal, in person contact, in business, is my point, and why your trip to read letters, tweets, or whatever, with others in the real room, was a good trip.

__________________
You don't get wise because you got old, you get old because you were wise.
Reply Score 2 for Off Topic
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3500
Good Answers: 32
#5
In reply to #1

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 1:33 PM

Thanks for your comment, Transcendian. I like the idea of a CR4 meetup, too.

Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3259
Good Answers: 67
#11
In reply to #5

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 3:27 PM

We'd need to have European meet up too....

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 15413
Good Answers: 549
#14
In reply to #11

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/09/2009 5:24 AM

Tea and scones (and hazelnuts&catfud)

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain - possibly to become "South Scotland" or "Non-Caledonia" from September 2016. Kettle's on.
Posts: 22809
Good Answers: 589
#15
In reply to #14

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/09/2009 6:17 AM

Yummy! How about a meeting at PlbMak's?

__________________
"Did you get my e-mail?" - "The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw, 1856
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 15413
Good Answers: 549
#16
In reply to #15

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/09/2009 6:40 AM

ooooh, carrots too

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3259
Good Answers: 67
#19
In reply to #15

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/09/2009 8:49 AM

Well the kettle is permanently on there...

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3259
Good Answers: 67
#18
In reply to #14

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/09/2009 8:48 AM

Gluten free scones and herbal tea (and choc covered haselnuts and best catfud)

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Earth - I think.
Posts: 1220
Good Answers: 76
#2

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 10:42 AM

"The Marketing Department crafts and controls the message, orchestrates and regulates customer feedback"

Basically, that means they tell management exactly what they want to hear. If management holds the attitude: Tell us what our customers are saying, about how we can improve our product. Then that's what the marketing Department will do. If on the other hand, management doesn't want to hear about the problems, then they won't, because nobody wants to give them the bad news.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are only new tools for the marketing department to use, in taking the "pulse of the people". Other means have been there all along.

Can these new forms of communication be useful? Absolutely! But only if the company is already willing to listen.

P.S. Please put Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube in the CR4 dictionary!

__________________
TANSTAAFL (If you don't know what that means, Google it - yourself)
Reply
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3500
Good Answers: 32
#6
In reply to #2

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 1:34 PM

Thanks, Kilowatt0. Adding those terms to a CR4 dictionary is a good idea, too.

Reply
2
Participant

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 2
Good Answers: 1
#3

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 12:11 PM

"The Marketing Department crafts and controls the message, orchestrates and regulates customer feedback..."

I think that the point here is that a company or marketing department no longer controls their brand.. Some might argue that this has always been the case. But, with the advent of social media it has become more true than ever that your brand is what your customers say it is. And, whether you like it or not, they are saying it.

As a marketer, or upper level manager, you can choose to ignore it, but it isn't going to go away. The better and smarter alternative is to embrace it as Southwest Airlines (and many others) have. Become part of the conversation and part of the solution.

Everyone makes mistakes. It is how you handle them and learn from them that will set you apart in the eyes of the consumer. Ignoring a problem rarely makes it any better.

Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3500
Good Answers: 32
#7
In reply to #3

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 1:42 PM

Welcome to CR4, Morgan_Moran. Glad to have you with us.

With regard to your comment about making mistakes and learning from them, Domino's Pizza probably learned a lesson or two about "crisis management" and social media. The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article dates April 15, 2009.

"When two Domino's Pizza employees filmed a prank in the restaurant's kitchen, they decided to post it online. In a few days, thanks to the power of social media, they ended up with felony charges, more than a million disgusted viewers, and a major company facing a public relations crisis."

One of the ways in which Domino's responded was by joining Twitter and actively tweeting.

Reply
Participant

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 2
Good Answers: 1
#9
In reply to #7

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 1:56 PM

Good point. The Domino's example also shows that businesses may have lost some control of the brand messages that are being sent from other areas within the organization.

Thankfully they had enough insight to respond via the same channels to reduce the impact.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: "Dancing over the abyss."
Posts: 4900
Good Answers: 240
#20
In reply to #3

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/09/2009 11:31 PM

Good answer! Ditto's Moose- Welcome to CR4, Morgan Moran.

It is the customer that owns the brand. The company is the "steward of the Brand" no more, no less. They may think they own the brand, but ultimately it is the customers decision and granting of top of mind that "is the brand determinant."

The current global crisis shows this to be true- it is demand, not supply that is critical. With no demand, the products built up don't sel;l, and price falls and falls and still don't sell.

The "brand" is the incarnation of demand in the mind of the consumer.

milo

__________________
People say between two opposed opinions the truth lies in the middle. Not at all! Between them lies the problem, what is unseeable,eternally active life, contemplated in repose. Goethe
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - HAM Radio - New Member United Kingdom - Big Ben - New Member Fans of Old Computers - Altair 8800 - New Member Canada - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 3576
Good Answers: 95
#4

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 1:01 PM

twitter et al can be a direct path to a management that cuts to the chase at once.

If management engages the twitter, etc., they can do a far better job of sensing the pulse of their clients than conventional surveys.

If they try and pee on them from on high, they will gain a new appreciation for their power, as they will be swamped by bad results.

SW did the right thing and from that will spread good stuff. Now how do these systems combat trolls?

__________________
Per Ardua Ad Astra
Reply
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3500
Good Answers: 32
#8
In reply to #4

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 1:45 PM

If management engages the twitter, etc., they can do a far better job of sensing the pulse of their clients than conventional surveys.

Thanks for your comment, aurizon! Hopefully, part of doing a "better job" involves sensing that pulse more quickly, too. After all, time is money.

Reply
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3500
Good Answers: 32
#10

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 2:09 PM

FYI - CR4 has a growing presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube.

So please join us on these Web sites! The links below take you where you need to go.

CR4news on Facebook

CR4news on Twitter

The CR4 Group on LinkedIn

CR4news on YouTube

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Mallorca, Spain
Posts: 556
Good Answers: 14
#12

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 4:48 PM

Big business may be able to detect and counter adverse publicity but what chance does a small business have in this area? The small Co. can respond with as much force a multinational in these channels but it's ability to detect these problems are much more limited. The anonymity of these sites means a malicious poster could cause a lot of damage with no effective recourse for the victim.

The potential for problems seem enormous.

Chas

__________________
En la casa del herrero, cuchillos de palo!
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#13

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/08/2009 8:47 PM

Hi Moose and everybody.

Sorry for my skepticism, but could this be a setup? I mean a fake.

You know, things like that happen these days..., at least in my area.

Mishka

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1733
Good Answers: 23
#17

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/09/2009 7:54 AM

Feed back from the customer or complaint from the customer is very important, as it helps to modify your products or services. I am narrating my personal experience on this subject.

One of our large customer was Tata Motors, Jamshedpur, India.We had sold them many Chain Electric Hoists which were mfd. by us with German know how. We were in regular communications with Tatas regarding performance of our Hoists. In few months they gave us many suggestions regarding modifications of the some of the components to suit Indian conditions.we implemented their suggestions and this helped us in improving our quality and successful marketing of our product.

Suresh Sharma.

__________________
"Engineers should not look for jobs but should create jobs for others" by Dr.Radhakrishnan Ex President of India during my college graduation day
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Western Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 766
Good Answers: 9
#21

Re: Social Media: CR4 in NYC

06/14/2009 7:14 PM

Drove the upper portion of some of that last year during My Albany gig, so beautiful.

The next time you take the train, take some pix and describe the serenity and soulful aspect of that venture.

Someday, I will do it myself just for the pleasure.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 21 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (1); aurizon (1); capblanc (1); Del the cat (2); English Rose (3); Kilowatt0 (1); Milo (1); Morgan_Moran (2); PWSlack (1); qaqcpipeman (1); Steve Melito (5); suresh sharma (1); Transcendian (1)

Previous in Blog: Designing Data Dashboards   Next in Blog: Communication - a Voyage of Experience
You might be interested in: Time of Flight Optical Sensors, Specialty Communications Infrastructure Services, Fieldbus Communications Computer Boards