Friday, January 19, 2007

Managing expectations

It’s tempting to get swept up onto the social media bandwagon, but large public organizations such as ours need to evaluate all the outcomes, including managing expectations.

One of the inherent problems of social media as an interactive tool is dealing with the expectations that are created. For example, the Houston Metro blog was a well-intentioned attempt to engage the public in a conversation, but they quickly found out that what they wanted to discuss and what their key public – transit riders themselves – wanted to discuss were completely different issues.

Similarly, John Edwards has demonstrated that he’s cognizant of social media by engaging the public through blogs and YouTube, and the blogosphere has been generally receptive to his approach. However, this post demonstrates that in doing so, he may have set the standard too high and has set a level of expectation that might be unreasonable, or even unattainable.