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May 27, 2009


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With this new digital age, even how the dialog is said needs to be understood and translated, prior to engagement. 30 years ago, we boomers, enjoyed knowing that being "bad", was really a good thing. Now, in the digital age listening carefully is even more important so that the real message is lost or misunderstood.


As someone who has spent a lot of time doing online monitoring, I am a firm believer in knowing the marketetplace before making decisions (and there are companies who totally get it). Hopefully there will be more people like you coming up in the workplace to influence more online monitoring (though I do think that brand jacking makes for an amusing story).


I definitely agree with you. Another thing that I have heard is happening is some government agencies are monitoring the social sites to see if their employees are posting sensitive data. All in all I think companies would benefit from reading what folks are saying about them.

lisa m

I agree with Alex, but I think part of the problem is that companies are already spending their money in the wrong places (in terms of marketing). I recently saw a breakdown of which mediums companies are spending their ad dollars on vs. how much time consumers spend with each medium. The comparisons are shockingly out of whack. Companies continue to pour a highly disproportionate amount of ad dollars into TV, when they should be pouring more money into internet advertising. Given how much time consumers spend there, companies would probably see a larger ROI if they gave a larger slice of the ad money pie to the internet. When money is tight, I would be a little more careful with where I'm putting it.

lisa m

It's been a tough sell, but I think companies are finally starting to believe in the power that social media has on their brand. The viral nature of the internet makes things spread like wildfire, and the internet does not care if the content is good or bad for your company, or even true at all (as in the case of brand-jacking). Like you said, the conversations are going on whether they like it or not. They can choose to get involved, or hear about it after its too late.

Alex Porter


The reason that we see companies not monitor is simply cost. 9/10 companies we work with are tightening budgets and unfortunately unless the $$ spent can be translated into a postitive ROI the decision makers are stamping it with a big NO and that is that.

Hopefully as the coffers open up more and more companies will monitor the online conversations and then take action on the information.

Denise C

Your chicken story reminds me of the Saturday Night skits involving Emily Litella. Each week, Emily would misunderstand a news item on 'Weekend Update' and would come on the show and angrily denounce it. One week she went on and on about 'Why do you not want to see violins on TV?' When told the story was referring to 'violence' on TV, she responded with her trademark: 'Never mind.' For companies not wanting to have to issue a 'Never mind' press release, monitoring is an essential first step.

Megan McQ


I couldn't have said it better myself!

That's exactly what we're trying to tell companies:

The conversation is out there. They can decide to participate in it or not, but the fact remains that the conversation has already begun regardless.

Great comment.


I agree that companies should have a stronger online presence. It is and easy, efficient, and relatively inexpensive medium for them to market themselves to their customers. But more importantly, they are already part of the internet community whether they want to be or not. Customers constantly talk about products, spread rumors about the direction a company is taking (regardless of whether those rumors have legitimate basis), or just bitch about some error that was probably out of the company's control anyway. They're out on the web already - the question is what companies decide to do about it.

Megan McQ

Hey Tina,

Thanks for your comment! You make a good point. Marketers and PR professionals would never recommend that a company disguise their identity in online activity such as posting a review of a product. One of the primary elements of any online activity is that the company is completely transparent online.

If a company were to hide their identity, it would definitely be dishonest.When it is discovered, the dishonest actions will tarnish the reputation of the company indefinitely.

Online monitoring is meant to keep a company abreast of what conversations are taking place about a company from its various stakeholders on various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc.). Simply put, monitoring is just knowing what's being said online, not adding to the conversation at all. Per the Exxon Mobile example, a monitoring system would have probably uncovered the brand-jacker and the company would have been able to proactively contact the individual instead of reacting to the situation.


I'm curious to hear your opinions on companies (disguised as patrons) that leave reviews of their products and/or services on websites like Yelp or Amazon. Do you see that as online monitoring or something more dishonest? Being in the loop is all well and good, but as a regular-old-consumer the practice hinders my decision making.

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