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TECHNOLOGY
Gold Medal Whining
Posted by David Rosenbaum | CFO.com | US
August 6, 2012 2:59 PM ET
The Olympic Games have already produced some great entertainment. The first week ended with Andy Murray, a Brit (actually, a Scot, but the English can't be choosey about their sporting heroes), finally beating Roger Federer. On Sunday, Usain Bolt cemented his claim as the world's fastest human, winning the 100-meter dash. If you like tales of people overcoming towering odds, you have Oscar Pistorius competing on prosthetic legs. And if you're a U-S-A.-chanting fan, I give you Michael Phelps. But a significant slice of the good feelings generated by the Olympics is being twisted by Twitter as a massive storm of whining — magnified by technology ? has created an Olympics of complaint in which participants compete for tin medals of negativity. Check out Monday morning's tweets on #nbcfail: "It's a shame @nbcolympics won't be held accountable for stealing the magic of the Olympics." "Serena Williams coming up on #NBCSN. Time to change the channel. No interest in watching that arrogant diva." ?Images of Mars arrive faster than Olympics from London.? The last is a common complaint about NBC showing events on tape delay. Presumably, this fan wanted to watch Bolt run at 5 a.m. ET. The athletes are also competing for medals in whining. A Swiss athlete slurred South Koreans. A Greek athlete attacked Africans. American soccer goalie Hope Solo tweeted that Brandi Chastain, who scored the goal that gave the U.S. the 1999 FIFA Women?s World Cup, didn?t know much about soccer. Negative sentiment overwhelms positive. A 2011 Wharton School study looking at 7,000 New York Times articles discovered that an article that aroused anger (as opposed to satisfaction) increased its chances of appearing on the most e-mailed list by 34%. More recently, an article from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology reported that social media creates ?an exponential increase in bad news,? and suggested that this is a problem for companies struggling to protect their brands against tsunamis of negativity. In the past, only journalists could produce bad news. Now, anyone can do it. And everyone does. Which, if you believe Sturgeon?s law (90% of everything is crap), means that the world?s psyche is being crammed with new and enormously large quantities of the stuff. And yet, it?s hard for CFOs to opt out of the social technology game, even though (by Sturgeon?s law) they will be investing to analyze inputs that will be largely worthless. According to the Gartner 2012 ?Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies? report, social analytics is still approaching the ?Peak of Inflated Expectations,? and hasn?t yet dipped into the ?Trough of Disillusionment.? But even though 90% of the tweets and blogs one encounters are crap, social technologies do, in fact, have a real ROI. A recent McKinsey Global Institute study suggests that the deployment of social tech could ?contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value? across a wide swath of businesses, primarily by improving ?collaboration and communication within and across enterprises." This is social media as a knowledge management solution, and that value add has been saluted by CFOs. If collaboration and communication can be enhanced by social media, I'm all for it. We need more of both. But businesses banking on using social media inputs to create or tweak products for consumers are, I believe, chasing a fantasy. If you sift through crap, any gold you find will be fool's
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