The Web is a marvelous tool and social media platforms have played a huge role in the democratization of data. However, unbridled access to information and to distribution channels is not without practical risks or costs.
The anonymous nature of the Web and of social media creates a vehicle for pushing out information - and disinformation - about technology products and services. The transient nature of posts and the use of algorithm-based targeting schemes may enable unscrupulous forces to spread falsehoods or "alt-facts" intended to promote or discourage adoption of a particular product or service -- mostly without any consequence to the poster. Vendors are rightly concerned about reputational harm accruing to posts by a competitor or its hired hitmen, troll farms and others.
We have also seen an increase in the number of pretenders on the Web, vendors or service providers misrepresenting themselves as experts in areas where they possess no credible capabilities or experience. Witness the huge increase in self-styled disaster recovery experts and DR as a Service providers, many of whom could not recover themselves from a paper sack.
Ideally, consumers would be able to differentiate, to separate the grain from the chaff. But, this is becoming increasingly difficult to do given the fast pace of posting and the ephemeral nature of information in most social media platforms.
Even the old media companies are playing the game. They promote a sponsored white paper from a vendor as though it were news, using provocative headlines as "click bait" that have nothing to do with the content of the paper or article! The headlines are seen, even in passing, by consumers, leaving erroneous impressions that help to shape poorly advised decisions.
Still, leveraged judiciously, social media can be used to foster fact-based opinions and to establish brand recognition or thought leadership for products or vendors who are seeking to solve real issues or to address real challenges.
Toigo Partners seeks to be part of the solution to the challenges of the social media data deluge by structuring campaigns, whether to promote our own perspectives or the products/services of our vendor clients, that leverage creativity and humor as well as fact-based content. We want to filter out some of the noise, sometimes diffusing disinformation campaigns by asking simple questions at the right moment. And we want to mainstream important information that is being overlooked by the media or by the vendor community in their sometimes myopic focus on their own revenue streams.
We hope you will help improve our efforts by offering your views and criticisms to help us police up ours. Maybe we can make the digital democracy work for all of us.