communities in the social media

Does the Availability and Use of Social Media on the Internet Really Provide Businesses With New and Different Useful Information?


            Social media is the collective interaction among people or groups of people where they make, share or exchange ideas via the internet, a system of interconnected computer networks that links billions of devices world widely. It is a fundamental way in which people communicate which has proved to positively or negatively affect commerce hence perceived to be a world changer in the field of business (Milliken, 2010).

Although traditionally people used the internet to expend content, in the present individuals are utilizing platforms in the internet such as social networking to create, modify and discuss issues related to trade.  Owing to the fact that many have turned their attention to the so-called media conduits, social media enabled by the internet has profoundly affected unconstructively individuals, businesses and the society in reputation though generally promoted the in connectivity, immediacy and in the dissemination of feedback.

            The social media platform can have influence in a firm’s reputation, sales or survival either positively or negatively and in most cases depressing some in status. The tremendous exposure of social media in the present popular press today, dictates that the world is in a new communication landscape. This drives me to take my stance in the question and repudiate that the availability of social media in the internet actually grants businesses with new and different information if portrayed positively. With the increase in the use of social media, it appears that corporate communication has been reflectively democratized.

            The social media and more so people who are constantly face-booking, tweeting, creating and sharing blogs as well as those who are sharing movies and photos via the media platform have taken the superb work, which previously was done by individuals in the field of marketing and public relations. For example, When the United airlines broke a guitar belonging to Dave Carroll in 2008; it likely seemed that it was not the first guitar broken in the course of the airlines operation. However, it was probably the first time an owner of such an instrument recorded a song about the experience.  The video afterwards portrayed the airline in an unfavorable manner despite the fact that it was viewed millions times across the world.  Following the songs popularization by through declaring as the YouTube’s best video, it led to a brand and public relations crisis for the Airline.

            “United Breaks Guitars” documents the unbelievable viral influence of social media, scrutinizing the reach and impact of an intelligent client objection video created by Canadian artiste Dave Carroll. Carroll produced the music video when his attempts to regain the worth of his guitar are shelved for over a year by United Airlines (Carroll, 2010).

            This happened after the story was cheered up by millions of passengers on the global fraternity who clearly understood the challenges of dealing with an airline internal failures. Popularization of the video by the discussion in the CNNs television by Wolf Blitzer  made the situation worse for United airline public relation’s department raising its doubts in midst of millions of clients in its market (Carroll, 2009). This case supports the perception of the Internet as a rebellious means, in best at attacking than at defending a business character. As Patch’s manager is interviewed, it comes clear that social medial poses many risks in terms of information, obstructing businesses success (Garfield, 2010).

            Consequently, up to the present an internet search for the word ‘United’ returns Carrols damaging YouTube video link at the top of the search results.  This is a high-profile example which shows how poorly- prepared firms can face the ruthless thrash of the social media conversing about them. Similarly, it is comprehensible that a simple devastating blog or tweet about a product can slay the product or consequently damage a company’s name or share of price. The only secret for success in every business in the future is ensuring good customer relations and not necessarily, how they use or react to social media (Carroll, 2010).

             Carroll reiterates that, the old- fashioned system of businesses of getting it right most of the times no longer works. Firms must attempt to do their best always, and have a recovery or crisis plan to make it up when they mess up in their operations. The United’s breaks guitar incident is obviously a great example of how social media can damage a business’ reputation.

Consequently, the dynamic and real time engagements brought about the social media changes the landscape for any management team. For managers, a cavernous understanding of this decisive change is critical since it substantially determines a brands performance due to the speeded up link to information for clients. Firms need to be attentive to consumer related stories generated via the internet, to ensure brands succeed in the market.

            Milliken (2009)  mentions that not only has Dave Carrols video watched by millions of people but also Carroll was interviewed by over 300 times in the media. It is apparent that in the present world, social media is not only an advertising tool but also a medium of knowing what your customers want. Carroll (2010) states that when online communities strive to talk negatively about a firms’ products or services, it is the firms’ responsibility to put efforts in taking part in the dialogue. This will finally lead to an agreeable resolution, rescue the Firms name from the hands of millions of followers of the social media, and send the message that a company values its customers’ views hence want to retain its business.

            The penalty for failing to respond to social media stories  is also now all the greater, because rather than today’s news disappearing into tomorrow’s fish and chip paper, negative stories hang around online and accessible for years to come. When you go to YouTube and search for “United Airlines” what regularly comes up at the top of the search results, more than two years on is Dave Carroll’s United Breaks Guitars video. This damages United’s image to its potential clients.

Although businesses have long been aware of the need to engage in the digital space, controlling what is said about their brands, goods, services and the entire business in general is proving hard-hitting.  A business’s reputation is based on its outside image hence a good reputation brings trust and confidence to any customer. The image of a business is essential for its success and it is the key that will determine its prosperity and profitability. An excellent reputation captures good sale increases along with confidence from clientele. However, a bad reputation can lead to a decrease in customers’ buoyancy, hence provoking a reduction in profits and sales (Milliken, 2010).

            Today, with the use of the Internet, rumors, gossip, bad opinions and spread very quickly. It is of utmost importance to keep a high quality profile to please the public. Social media may cause considerable reputational risk to organisations, but shielding the reputation of a business may be intricate. It is important that every organization have to put in place internal measures to facilitate a timely and speedy response when facing a reputational hit or crisis (Owyang, 2010)..

            In her HBS article, Hanna (2010) articulates that, modules tended to divide sharply on whether United’s rejoinder was exceptionally good or could have been better. The alacrity and uniformity of the company’s response won commends.  Nevertheless, according to Hanna (2010) students did not concur on whether United should have used the confrontation to make an affirmative avowal on customer service, or should have kept a low outline and waited for concentration to subside. Even though United was light years ahead of other companies as far as their social media, response the results may have been worse if they did not reply as quickly as they did via social media. Dealing with negative online content about a firm should be the first priority for any business. This should involves attempting to control general contends in the social media and managing what is said about a brand besides allocating time and resources required to robust the online reputation clients require

            In conclusion, it is outlined in the interview that Communities in the social media platforms deserve and should use them to pass their comments about brands and wide-ranging firms’ performance.  This will present people in the business field an extra challenge on how to do ‘it’ better. Garified finds out that social network could not survive without advertising. Even though advertisements from firms helps manage the platforms, social medial plays a major role in ensuring success of business, hence a need to maintain an excellent reputation via the social networks is crucial.


Carroll, D. (2009) United Breaks Guitars. Music video posted to Youtube.

Hanna, J. (2010) HBS Cases: United Breaks Guitars. Working Knowledge: Harvard Business   School. November 29.

Milliken, J. (2010) Brands and Social Media Participation; United Breaks Guitars. Coreographytv. Retrieved September 19, 2011, from

Owyang, J. (2010) Social Media, Crisis & Reputation Management. Coreographytv.


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