Strategies to Overcome Dark Side of Social Media for Organizational Sustainability

Strategies to Overcome Dark Side of Social Media for Organizational Sustainability

Jitender Sharma (Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJVCSN.2016010104
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Social media has provided the organizations a massive platform to reach masses and is considered as a highly effective tool for organizations to connect and promote their brands and messages all over the world with huge potential to attract clientele with virtually no or very low investment. It has given organizations a collaborative innovation medium also where shared wisdom can help organizations bringing out innovation in their products and services. Social media reach can result in the spread of positive sentiment about the organization's products or services very fast to large number of people. However social media is a double edge sword. If it has potential to help boosting an organization's business, it can also result in propagating negative image and that too at a very fast speed and to very large user segment. A single negative comment on organization's blog or profile, or a complaint by some customer about organization's product or services on social media may cause a negative and long lasting impact on an organization's and/or a brand's reputation. Hence, social media can make or tarnish an organization's sustainability. Organizations need to be on high alert always. Staying away from social media is not a solution as you are not aloof in the virtual world of social media. Anyone can put anything on the media and information spread is so fast that no one can control the same. Though organizations can be benefitted immensely from use of social media, there are chances that either your internal dissatisfied employees or your customers or even your competitors can spoil your image by putting wrong or unwanted information on social media. Either competitors may hire specialized hackers or individual hackers may hack an organization's media campaign and convey totally opposite message to tarnish the organization's brand image and blackmail. Organizations need to keep a hawk eye on such brand assassins and their social activity and take counter measures very fast so as to defeat such wrongdoers. To succeed in the highly technologically advanced environment, organizations need to make use of social media for their own advantages. They need to conquer dark side of social media by remaining vigilant all the times and adopt such strategies that not only counter malicious intentions of wrong-doers but proved to be effective marketing strategies to effectively promote organizations' interests. This paper is an attempt to understand role of social media in making or tarnishing an organization's image and evolve out strategies to help the organizations conquering dark side of social media.
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Emergence Of Social Media

Social media may be defined as technology-facilitated dialogue among individuals or groups. User is the king of this media and has become both producer and consumer of contents on social media.

From the early days of late 1970s when public messaging started in its crude form with creation of Usenet and later development of Weblog or blogs, social media has deeply penetrated in society. With Web 2.0 technologies, blogs writing also became a two-way communication rather than monotonous uploading of contents by the blog writer alone. Blogging was followed by micro-blogging sites like Twitter. In 2004 Facebook the social networking site was first time launched by Mark Zuckerberg. As per data available till August 2015, Facebook had 1.8 billion monthly active users and no wonder by this time this number might have crossed 2 billion. There is hundreds of social networking sites available like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, YouTube, WhatsApp, Orkut, My Space, Flicker, Instagram etc. meant for different purposes but with common aim of sharing information to each other. A detailed list is available on Wikipedia.

Emergence of social media has helped connecting and sharing information among individual users. Businesses and organizations have also found these platforms highly attractive where they could connect with billions of users for advertising their products or to share their messages at a very less cost. It is a new but effective medium for advertising, marketing and branding. Most popular among these sites are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and WhatsApp according to share of active users’ base and hence are popular among organizations due to their sheer reach among users. Organizations find them the best medium for electronic world of mouth publicity and also act a mass media platform for their advertising.

Facebook, the online social media website, as mentioned above has crossed 1.8 billion monthly active users at the end of second quarter of 2015 world over. Similarly, the micro blogging site Twitter had 304 million monthly active users at the end of second quarter on 2015. This number is fast rising. These figures show reach of advertising on social media. The young generation is largest users’ segment of social media. For businesses that constitutes most attractive potential customer segment.

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