Jacquie McCarnan

Social Media Strategist, Social media marketer, canadian, enviro, Social Media Canada

This conversation is closed.

Can Social Media make companies accountable for their actions? (think United Breaks Guitars)

Everyday we see ad campaigns touting what company A or company B is doing for the environment or how much they give to children's hospital but how often is that lip-service? How many times have you been in a restaurant that has a great campaign about their environmental initiatives only to watch them toss out tons of garbage? I hope to use Social Media to draw attention to the issues that affect us in our daily lives and make us stand up and say "hey, that's not right! You said you recycle but you forgot to tell your staff!" Idealistic? Perhaps but what if....?

Closing Statement from Jacquie McCarnan

Hey all,
Thanks so much for your great comments! I don't seem to get alerts when this conversation is commented on, have to figure that out somehow. Otherwise I would have been more heavily engaged in this conversation. I'm on it now though.
Kevin, I've been trying to get some attention for a serious issue here in Canada. We have a company called Tim Hortons. Every year they have their Roll up the Rim to Win contest where billions of paper cups are used to encourage people to win prizes. For many years Tim's has been wrapped on the fingers for their lack of sustainability and responsibility. This year, right after the Roll up the Rim contest, they put out a Sustainability and Responsibility Report. It was complete crap and filled with corporate rhetoric. I've been trying to get people engaged in the conversation but it's tough without a hook. I've managed to attract some attention but not nearly what I'd hoped for. Not that I'd give up but I think the power is there in Social Media, we all just have to work out how to best utilize it and figure out how our voices can be taken seriously.
Perhaps a whistlerblower page? hmmm, maybe I'll get on that tomorrow ;)

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    May 3 2011: There is a great website in Australia called Fairwear. The link is http://www.fairwear.org.au
    It contains some interesting information - maybe some of this material could be sent to other social media sites.
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      May 3 2011: Great contribution Kevin! Thanks!
      Got any more insight that you want to share?
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    May 3 2011: Consumers hold all the power, but there is rarely an incentive binding enough to take advantage of this.

    Imagine if everybody with a cell phone refused to pay their bill until the phone companies halved or quartered their charges. I would love to see how that would be resolved.

    Considering that the tax-payer pretty much saved the world from total economic meltdown, we're a pretty complacent bunch and I doubt the ridiculous amounts of social nitpicking sites will remedy that.
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    May 2 2011: Jacquie, I noticed an article the other day that said that Levi's has posted all of their fashions on Facebook and they've placed 'like' buttons next to everything in their catalogue.
    I am reporting this to build on your topic. If we as consumers took these tactics to heart and used a 'don't like' button we could probably have quite an impact on companies especially if it was in conjunction with Facebook or Twitter.
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      May 2 2011: I agree Debra. As a way to take a stand against offensive clothing items, or marketing for new products/services, abstaining from engaging with their digital properties could be an eye opening experience for companies and customers.
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        May 2 2011: Hello Corvida! Could you tell me a little bit more about your suggestion. I am a bit older than you are and use the web extensively but not as much social media. Can you update me on the actions I should be taking?
        Thanks!
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    Apr 27 2011: Thanks so much for your comment Debra. I'm hoping that regular consumers can use SM to work things the other direction. i.e. Can we get Canadian coffee giant, Tim Horton's, to stop using paper cups or, at least, start offering people the opportunity to recycle those cups?
    Or, can we use social media and viral marketing to insist that corporations who tout their social responsibility actually do it?
    I'm a bit of an idealist, I realize, but I really hope to see change initiated by the consumer.
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      Apr 27 2011: My response was a bit misleading. I agree with you that social media is a great tool that can be harnessed for social good. Companies are a bit afraid of what might happen if we were to get ahold of our potential unity as consumers. I noticed last vist to Tim Hortons that they are offering a 10 cent reduction if you bring your own cup and that they are having a community clean up day- have you been active already?
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      Apr 30 2011: There should be more of an interest in this topic. There have been quite a few examples where social media has been used to criticise a company because of their bad service or something similar - take Vodafone for example. However it would be interesting to see many users of social media platforms take aim at companies that are neglecting their corporate social responsibility or point out the anomalies between what they do and what they say. Sydney, Australia
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    Apr 26 2011: I did love that Youtube video and I thought it was a creative use of social media after a company was unresponsive. Companies have to begin to pay attention to the potential for social media which is very well trusted (far more than advertising) because it is considered less biased. Companies liike Levi Straus are actively trying to cultivate social media connections and especially are using Facebook to market.