Is it time to think hard over moderating social networking sites?

Is it time to think hard over moderating social networking sites?

Article by Engage Brands

Millions are hopping onto the social networking bandwagon to stay connected with their friends and family members. Many use these platforms to share their personal experiences/thoughts about issues surrounding them. And when one talks of people ‘sharing their personal experiences/thoughts’ through the various social networks, it is to suggest that users are probably going to share probably everything under the sun, sometimes even stuff which should be best left in the privacy domain. It could be anything; someone voicing his frustration at workplace and abusing his boss on a social network or it could even a player lashing out at the selector/coach after being dropped from the team on sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter among others.Craze for social networking is enormous but with it also comes the lurking danger of stuff, which should remain in the private domain having the possibility of popping out into public domain causing personal or professional damage to an individual’s life.Similarly for brands and businesses, social media platforms are a great marketing vehicle to promote their products/services. But wouldn’t brands and businesses be wary of any reputational damage being caused to them through negative (especially if it’s not constructive criticism) or abusive comments about themselves on social networking sites.One wonders whether time has come when owners of social networking sites really need to think hard about opting for moderation of user updates/comments. The basic understanding one is trying to have is that unmoderated user updates/comments shouldn’t have a damaging effect on an individual or brand.If you really want to see what kind of damage it can have on an individual when unmoderated comments gets posted on social networks, take this scenario: Oregon coach Chip Kelly recently booted receiver Jamere Holland from the football team after Holland appeared to challenge his coach with an expletive-filled racist post on his Facebook page. Holland was somehow mistakenly taken to believe that Kiko Alonso had been axed from the team after Alonso was recently cited by Eugene police for driving under the influence of intoxicants and Holland wrote how he disagreed with the decision.Holland’s post grabbed immediate attention including that of his coach Chip Kelly, who dumped him stating that Holland had violated team rules. The irony of the incident was that his teammate Alonso continued to be in the team while Holland was given the chop. This incident clearly throws significant light on how users should exercise caution about what they want to post on social networking sites.It’s fair enough to suggest that moderation of social networking sites can go a long way in ensuring no abusive, offensive comments surface on these sites and cause reputational damage to an individual or a brand, but whether owners of social networks opt for moderation is something that remains to be seen. But definitely, moderation of social networks will stand everyone in good stead!

About the Author

Engage Brands is a leading provider of outsourced Moderation of User Generated Content, Social Media Optimization, and Digital Community Management. We work hand-in-hand with our clients to safeguard their brands and users, serving as their eyes and ears in branded online communities.

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