Bridging Two Worlds

A conversation about online media and what it means to your organization

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Posted by B2W on September 5, 2008

DELLA Post

Cineplex has just launched a social networking site at mycineplex.com that allows moviegoers to check the reviews of average people — other moviegoers. Marke Andrews wrote a good overview of this site in yesterday’s Vancouver Sun.

 These kind of reviews are becoming very important in the decision-making process. According to The State of The News Media 2008 report which is an annual report based on American stats*, eight out of 10 people, 17 years old and up say that the Internet has become a critical source of information.  We are going online more and more to research where to go, where to eat, what movie to see, what camera or computer to buy.

Traditionally, most reviews were written by experts – specialists in the field, people who made a living reviewing restaurants, hotels, books or movies.  These reviews appeared in mainstream media, in books and on websites. I know I have bought more than one Fodor’s Guide when I was planning any kind of a special vacation.

 There are still expert reviews out there, but the average person has also found a voice in this arena. An individual can respond or add to an expert’s review or they can write their own online.  I know that I check restaurant reviews before I make a reservation and I check travel reviews before I book a flight. I love the reviews that are written by people like you and me.  I trust them. There is a connection that happens when you find someone like-minded, even if it is on a travel review site. There is a trust factor that comes from the review being authentic and “real” – if sometimes a bit raw. Reviews by real people are transparent, we get to share their experience – the good, the bad and the ugly.

 This is a growing trend and I began thinking about what it means in the context of business. What impact would this kind of citizen review process have on your organization?  Are people out there right now – in the “real” world or online – reviewing your organization’s services or products or perhaps they are looking at your role in the community? It’s an interesting thought. And since many reviews are based on personal opinion, perception and other bias, what would happen if there was a bad review – justified or not?

Citizen reviews are a growing influence and I think it’s something worth thinking about. Would your organization get two thumbs up?

 *We’re working on finding more Canadian stats, if anyone has suggestions on where to look – we’d love the advice!

 

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