Social Networking has definitely changed the way that most of us interact with each other, for the good and bad. It is healthy to take what @JamilahCreekmur refers to as a digital detox so that you don’t become socially inept as displayed below.
Anybody who is anybody has heard of Cakeman Raven, the infamous baker who is known for his Red Velvet Cake and for servicing many celebrities in the industry for any and every occasion. People come in droves to purchase the moist delicacy that he serves in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn.
On October 8th, while on twitter I began to see tweets in my timeline referencing an article that stated that Cake Man Raven was closed and the ironic part was I was just about to purchase a Red Velvet Cake for a family members birthday. As I opened the article and read the list of upwards to 78 violations points by the Health Department, I was appalled but not so much by the violations but the way they went about informing their customers of the issue.
Passersby may not have noticed the two bright yellow Health Department signs pasted to the shop’s front doors Thursday night, which read “Notice: Closed.” That’s because two large plants obstructed the signs. More prominently displayed was a handwritten sign that read “Sorry for inconvenience, cakes sold out for today.”
Soon many people began to retweet the story found in the New York Times which goes into detail about the various violations found in the establishment and went what we social media addicts like to call viral. I understand Cakeman Raven wanted to protect his brand and reputation but this issue is public information and can be accessed with the push of a button and twitter proved how powerful viral news can become.
My first issue with Cakeman was the deception involved with the closing, yes we understand brand protection is important but you need to be honest when issues like this arise. For a local business it is important that your patrons and community trust you, loyal customers will always support you despite your pitfalls if they are true supporters they will be there through thick and thin.
Secondly why didn’t anyone address the issue, word of mouth is powerful and a trusted form of communication because especially when it comes from a trusted source such as a friend or family member. People will take the opinions and the advice of a friend or family member before anyone else especially when suggesting a local business. So addressing the issue would have quieted those inquiring minds who were not quite sure what was going on and comforted those who did.
And last who is managing your brand online, everything is happening online these days especially with the emergence of social networks and online review sites. Who is putting out the fire that is occurring on twitter, facebook, blogs, even the comments on the article in the times. Makes no difference if you have a sign saying you ran out of cakes when the whole world knows it is not true.
Many local business owners have yet to realize the importance of going online and doing research on their brand to find out what consumers are saying about their products and services. I suggest that every business conduct a buzz analysis, what is that exactly, it is research to found out the buzz about your company online. Whether good or bad it is in a businesses best interest to engage and address any issues online to show that you are paying attention to your customers thoughts and concerns or at least acknowledge them internally.
P.S. - I know that Cakeman resumed business the next day and thank you @AWarriorsSoul for the idea for this post
Recently I attended the YRB/Blac Label Event at The Gates with my friend Tamika of Cultureflyy.com and Shana, PR Specialist to support young entrepreneurs. All of us were huddled together on our perspective Blackerry’s having separate conversations but apparently it looked as if we were talking to each other. A nice gentleman came over and asked are you all talking to each other via BBM while standing right next to each other, I laughed and said no. But I could see how he would think that and we were currently the most social anti-social people in the room. He then presented us with a proposition, he asked if we could go the rest of the night without our Blackberry’s I was hesitant but I kindly obliged and took him up on his challenge. The gentleman was a funny personal banker who I enjoyed very much, it had been so long honestly since I haven’t had my phone as a distraction to me when interacting with people especially since I purchased this Blackberry. My new Blackberry keeps me organized but it is also the ultimate distraction since I can do so many task at once, which include holding a conversation while BBMing, texting, tweeting, setting an appointment, emailing, well you get the point.
Taking a breather, putting my phone away and having a real face to face interaction was definitely the highlight of my week. I love people who bring out the more outgoing side of me and help me to feel free when networking. With all of the advances in the internet and social networks, face to face social interaction seems to have become a thing of the past, I have to even check myself at times when I get caught up on my phone when I should be engaging in conversation. At times it is easier just to message someone, it is quick, painless and leaves out having to explain certain things especially due to character limitations.
Here are some signs you are a social path:
- Constantly checking your phone for updates including tweets, text, status updates, emails, etc.
- You introduce yourself as @Twitterhandle and refer to people by their handles when networking
- Talking without letting anyone else get a word in, real life conversations consist of a mutual interaction, a conversation is not a timeline or status update, might as well just talk to yourself
- You are in a group setting and all of you are on your phones and not interacting with each other
If you find yourself doing any of the things above, you are certainly a Socialpath. When establishing yourself and/or your business you definitely do not want to be viewed as socially inept when interacting. It is important that you build and maintain strong relationships when networking, a bad first impression may limit your chances of connecting with great individuals.