When they’re not putting out customer service fires and generating memes, social media monitors everywhere are thoughtfully reading through our comments on their pages. It turns out that we’re hilarious, said panelists at Business Insider‘s Social Media ROI conference in New York City, and sometimes we’re even helpful.
Case in point: controversy ensued when environmentally friendly Seventh Generation partnered with Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax on a new line of diapers with cartoon characters at the top. Although the story of a boy’s quest to find a real tree in an artificial city has a strong message about sustainability, not all Seventh Generation customers made the connection.
Customers expressed their disappointment in the company, said Seventh Generation CMO Joey Bergstein, by writing comments on Facebook and other forums that said something to the effect of, “I buy Seventh Generation diapers because I don’t want stupid cartoon characters all over my kids’ ass.”
In this case, the crowd took care of itself. Other Facebook users jumped to Seventh Generation’s defense, fighting for the cartoon characters with a passion that no carefully-worded response on a corporate blog post could never hope to achieve. “For us,” said Bergstein, “the conversation was fantastic.”
LinkedIn, in contrast, is not the place to complain about cartoon characters on diapers. But professionals do use the site to answer industry-specific questions that the internet company headquartered in Mountain View, CA couldn’t even begin to address on its own, like the perils of getting tortilla chips from Canada through customs.
While it’s not true that people leave all personal business — like shopping on Amazon — at home, “In terms of work and personal identity separation, it’s totally true,” said LinkedIn executive editor Dan Roth. “People on LinkedIn don’t talk about their home life. They don’t share baby pictures. They don’t share pictures at all, actually.”
The women’s community on LinkedIn might share advice on work/life balance or other issues that women face in the workplace, but “Whenever they talk about home,” said Roth, “it’s always from a professional perspective.”