Several decades ago, there was a very effective advertising campaign by Wendy's, a fast food restaurant. In order to raise attention to their competitive advantage of having more substantial burger offerings, Wendy's commercials featured an elderly lady who would admonish other burgers with the cry,
"WHERE'S THE BEEF?"
This very popular ad and catch-phrase was common enough to be adopted by political candidates as a way to dismissively insult the views of their opponents, while emphasizing the merits of their particular platform.
In this context, "BEEF" is a euphemism for substance and legitimacy of content and message.
How does this relate back to Social Networking? When I consider the three sites I most commonly use (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook), I find that when they enhance and support existing relationships and programs, the value substantially increases. However, if people expect that these sites will serve as replacements or proxies for personal, face-to-face networking, that is a very daunting challenge.
Starting with Twitter, there is an excellent "day-in-the-life" example of how ASQ effectively uses Twitter to engage and manage its community of followers, and communicate pertinent information.
This is a very positive instance, and one that reinforces the value of my ASQ Membership. While it may duplicate the function of the site at ASQ Communities, the advantage of Twitter is that once I am logged in, I can continue to receive updates passively, and share with members of the greater Quality community who may not be ASQ members.
One way LinkedIn expands from Twitter is by providing users with the ability to join specific Groups. These LinkedIn Groups can be effective forums for communication and exchange, and effectively reinforces existing networks, while incrementally building new ones. As mentioned above, the "Beef" comes when internet acquaintances are transformed into real-life contacts at ASQ conferences, workshops, or events.
There is a downside to commentary within the LinkedIn Groups in that without an active moderator, some of the discussions can degenerate or diverge into irrelevant topics, rants, or sales promotions. The Group is only as viable as the group manager.
Facebook is too broad for me to comment on overall. With respect to ASQ, I think that their "Facebook page" includes the appropriate announcement, hyperlinks, and stock images to prompt commentary and responses.
These examples work because the existing substance supporting the social networks include:
- An existing portfolio of substantial purposes, content, and value
- A defined communication plan
- Consistent branding and messaging
- Combination of vibrant images and crisp, concise expressions
- Facilitated and moderated commentary
From this common starting point, Quality Professional can effectively engage and collaborate to everyone's mutual gain. By replicating the successful community approach adopted by ASQ, individual users of Social Networking will showcase,
THERE'S THE BEEF !!!