Many companies have been reluctant to embrace true social networking where ordinary folks have a chance to ask questions and make comments. In our experience the reasons are:
- legal, because companies are worried that employees may post something inappropriate; and
- fear of being overwhelmed, because even existing media comment opportunities can frequently attract hundreds of comments.
GallonDaily, and many social networking gurus, believe these concerns are somewhat overblown. The vast majority of citizens are sensible and will only use social networking sites to pass on real comments and ask sensible questions. Companies can take simple measures to reduce legal liability risks associated with answers posted on their social networking sites. Simple moderation of comments can eliminate inappropriate comments from the few users that are seeking to create mayhem.
It seems that multinational Walmart has come to the same conclusions as GallonDaily. A new Walmart sustainability social networking site, The Green Room, provides ordinary people with an opportunity to engage in conversation with the Company about sustainability issues and topics, and vice versa. GallonDaily is impressed, though we will be watching closely to see how this experiment unfolds.
The Walmart Sustainability Green Room can be found at http://www.walmartgreenroom.com/about/
Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment, GallonDaily’s parent, offers similar services to other companies interested in setting up a sustainability-based social networking site. CIBE has no connection with Walmart’s The Green Room.