17 July 2012
Jade Wilson, Senior Account Executive

Social Media; Accuracy versus speed

Social media

When it comes to communication our lives are being led in the fast lane.

If you post a status update on Facebook it’s live in seconds; if you want to buy a song you can download it in minutes; photos on a digital camera can be seen as soon as they’ve been snapped; holiday tickets can be printed as soon as they’ve been bought and you can even get links to websites by simply getting your mobile phone to scan a code.

Ways of communicating are advancing and continue to move forward in a speedy fashion. If you want to speak with people now you can do it almost instantly via text message, email, Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging or Skype, to name just a few.

With a shift in technology, not only can we communicate at the touch of a button, but on the move and at any time of day.

In times of crisis, businesses can send out a message straight away using social media channels to communicate with their customers or send an email internally to let their staff know what is happening. And there is the added luxury of being able to update these continually throughout the day. There is now less of a need to rely on print media to convey a message because businesses can post updates on their own communication networks quicker than they can rely on a weekly local newspaper to print the story.

It’s now all about speed and how quickly you can get your message out but at what point, if any, does speed outweigh the fundamental principle of ensuring communication is appropriate in both its message and tone? And more importantly, is accurate?

In my view, it doesn’t. It is always vital to think about the best way to connect with your audience, the tone of your communication and, some would argue most importantly, that what you are writing makes perfect sense. It is all too easy to write a quick message on Facebook and forget the fundamentals of the English language by forgetting spelling, grammar and punctuation.

When it comes to businesses and customer messaging, reputation is always key. If a company posts a message that is full of mistakes and inaccuracies, the customer will immediately attach a negative connotation, which will ultimately damage a brand. Equally, the speed of a post in response to a situation has an impact that must be considered carefully.

There should be no difference when posting a status to customers on Facebook than when sending an email to them. Both need to be well constructed, with correct use of grammar and punctuation and with no spelling errors. In any form of communication, it is the person who will read it who will have that lasting impression.

Mistakes and inaccuracies have the ability to undermine the content. Communication may be changing but standards shouldn’t slip. Whatever form of communication you pick, it is still vital to make sure the message and style of delivery is thought out, no matter how quickly the communication has to get to the audience.

So next time you want to get a quick message out via a social media channel, slow down and think about what you write. Whether it’s a long and wordy email or a short and snappy 140-word status update, nothing should be sacrificed for accuracy.


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