Yesterday, I heard a great story about friends and enemies. The story was about how it’s much more difficult to make a friend than an enemy. An enemy can be made in a matter of moments, but often our friendships took months or years to create. As you look to social media, this also an issue… you or your business can do something as simple as posting a bad tweet and the Internet will erupt in hatred. Enemies galore.
At the same time, your strategy to provide consumers with a medium for feedback and providing value to them may take months, or even years, before a consumer appreciates the value and authority from your social media efforts. In fact, your efforts may never develop into a friendship online as you hope.
It’s much more difficult to make a friend than an enemy.
The story wasn’t about being online… it was actually from a biblical passage. I’m not saying that to promote any ideology, just to point out that this problem didn’t start with social media. The problem is with human behavior, not with any social medium. Social media simply offers a public forum where we see these issues brought to the spotlight.
As I watch the Interwebs attack more celebrities, politicians and companies, I actually wonder what effective social media strategies will look like in the future. The self-proclaimed gurus preach transparency and demand that the people, leaders and companies we follow be available online… and then we bash them over the head when they make a mistake. Will the benefits continue to outweigh the costs?
Well… in life we also make enemies easily… but it doesn’t stop us from investing the time to make and keep great friendships alive. It may be easier to make an enemy than a friend, but the benefits of a friendship far outweigh any risk of creating an enemy.