A colleague of mine forwaded me a very thoughtful article about Social Applications from the MIT Sloan Management Review. I have been trying to explain to people for a very long time the power of social networking sites, blogs, and user-contributed media. Apparently, people are starting to catch on.
Here's a great example of the negative power these tools wield over your business:
To understand the dramatic implications of this shift, consider what happened in 2006 when Brian Finkelstein, a law student, was having trouble with the cable modem in his home. A repairman from Comcast Cable Communications Inc. arrived to fix the problem, but when the technician had to call into the home office for a key piece of information, he was put on hold for so long that he fell asleep on Finkelstein's couch. Outraged and frustrated, Finkelstein made a video of the sleeping technician and posted it on YouTube. The clip became a hit, with more than one million viewings, and to this day the image continues to undermine Comcast's attempts to improve its reputation for customer service.
Another example that pops to mind is Apple and the fallout from the YouTube video: "dirty little secret." For the longest time, iPod's came with irreplacable batteries that only lasted 15 months. To replace the battery, you had to send your device back to Apple and pay a huge fee (almost the same as the iPod cost originally) to "refurbish" it. After this video aired and went viral, however, Apple drastically lowered the refurbishing price and struggled to restore consumer confidence in its products.