Lessons in Offline Communication Which We Bring Online

The online and the offline worlds may be different places where people or brands can communicate with other people. However, the ways in which they can communicate online which has a lot of similarities with those online, seem to be often neglected. These similarities are particularly important in building and maintaining relationships among brands and their consumers.

The seminars in social media were opportunities to learn from the personal experiences of people who are working on social or digital media. The experiences that were related to the class illustrate some lessons on the ways in which online, and offline communication are similar, and why these are important.

1. Response
In offline conversations, message by one party has to be acknowledged, and responded to by other party so as not to appear rude. Response may be verbal or non-verbal (e.g. nodding, smiling, raising a brow). It’s the same thing online. And perhaps, a response is more needed online as there are no cues which a sender of a message may look for. Based on Ms. Delcallar’s talk on FB and twitter management, posts in a brand’s page has to be acknowledged, and responded to by the admin. Some posts only need a “thank you”, while others may involve a lengthy explanation depending on the issue at hand. May the content on a brand’s page be positive or negative, goodwill must be exercised in replying.

2. Who I am vs. Who am I?

Brands, like people, have an ideal self (who I am) which it consciously tries to project, and a real self (who am I?) which is based on the public’s perception of it. The latter may or may not be congruent to the ideal self all the time.
Sometimes, how others see a brand is more important than how the brand sees itself. The former more or less reflects the truth. These serve as feedbacks on how a brand can further improve itself , and fulfill its promises to its consumers.

3. Whose comments matter?
Ms. Elaine Uy shared this lesson along with the second one. Social media is so powerful that it could send giant corporations to panic at the sight of a negative comment, or a post that is implicating a brand. However, not every negative post is a threat to the brand. And some posts only need a comment to pacify a consumer, thus, preventing them from being damaging to the brand.

In assessing whether a social media content by consumers is a threat or not, a brand must see itself as the cause. Therefore, identifying whether it has done anything wrong, and has indeed failed to satisfy its consumers.

Not every person or posts can be a threat to a brand. It is important to know who or what to be noted or ignored. Both people and brands, before jumping to the social media bandwagon, should be prepared for encountering negative comments. After all, social media can be both fun for, and harsh to them.

As a part of organizational communication, social media tells students, and practitioners that it can be both a threat, and an opportunity for organizations. The same way that we have communicated offline, there are also rules online which will be of help in making social media a valuable place for brands.


About Alyssa B
The Composer, Alyssa Batu, is a senior Organizational Communication student at the University of the Philippines Manila. “What is OrCom all about?” has been the most frequently asked [and answered] question for her since 2008. Three years have passed and she continues to discover answers to that question. Alyssa occasionally procrastinates (‘occasionally’ here is relative, btw :p ) because she either spent too much time with Detective Conan or baking.

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