Chicago morning radio host DreX (ClearChannel’s Kiss 103.5 FM) said this morning that he’s not using his MySpace page/email anymore because “MySpace is such a mess”. Are real businesses finally realizing this? Is there hope for the human race?
While I go somewhat hot/cold on the DreX’s show on 103.5 (I like to you know, listen to music on the radio and stuff), I was amazed when I flipped over this morning just in time to hear him dissing (did I use that word correctly?) the hugely overvalued social networking site. His complaint centered around the “five thousand other Drexes” that suddenly appeared after he put up his page, and that listeners would send email to one of the fake Drexes and the fake Drexes would reply. The horror!
This doesn’t really surprise me. While I worked for Kevin Trudeau, I found several Kevin-pretenders who were seriously talking to people like they really were him. The pages disappeared after we had legal contact MySpace, but it was mind boggling how many people really seemed to think they were having a conversation with KT. No offense intended to the unwashed masses, but do you REALLY think Kevin has the time or inclination to bother with MySpace? No.
So you might be thinking, why is this such a problem? Any pub is good pub, etc. Eh, not so much.
The problem for businesses and individuals with public personas is that in our wonderfully litigious society, anything someone POSING as you says could get you sued. While the lawsuit might (and probably will) ultimately be dismissed because you can prove you did not actually make the statements or give the advice in question, it’s still going to cost money and potentially damage your reputation to be in the situation in the first place — and what if you can’t categorically prove it wasn’t you? What if the incendiary comments/correspondence causes a firestorm in the blogosphere? Once it’s on the Internet, it’s pretty much there forever.
Personally, I hate MySpace. I hate the horrible little web pages the 13 year old kids put up. I hate the way they can’t spell or punctuate their sentences. So I won’t shed a tear if real businesses give up on their pipe dreams of making mad money off of it because it’s the next big thing.
However, if you ARE going to dip your toe into that cesspool, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Do vanity searches for yourself, your business and your products — daily. If you find someone posing as you, you need to have your attorney contact MySpace and get the page yanked.
- Know they enemy. Snoop around forums and groups that are frequented by your target demographic, and by the people that hate you.
- Address customer service complaints as soon as you find them, and bend over backwards to make it right with the complainer. If they’re loud enough about their kvetching that you found it on MySpace, you need to make them happy so they at the very least they shut up and in the best case scenario they become one of your cheerleaders.
- Answer Your Email! If you’re putting yourself/business/product out there, make sure you actually check the mailbox comments go to and reply to them. People will quickly decide they’ve got better things to spend their time on if they feel like their questions (or adoration) is going into a black hole.
- If you’re going to do it, do it right. It takes a time investment and it takes dedication, but if you’re going to get into these social networking sites and use them effectively, seriously USE them. It is not going to do you any good to set up a page and then never go back. You must, must, must cultivate your following, keep your info useful and fresh, and you must interact with your clients/fans/etc. The interaction is the WHOLE point of the concept, and if you’re not dedicated to it, you’ll either tick off your audience or they’ll just decide you’re not worth their time and move on.