In Stephen R. Covey’s book “The 8th Habit” he explains how current managers use industrial age managing tactics:
Because many positions of authority do not see the true worth and potential of their people and do not possess a complete, accurate understanding of human nature, they manage people as they do things. This lack of understanding also prevents them from tapping into the highest motivations, talents and genius of people. What happens when you treat people like things today? It insults and alienates them, depersonalizes work and creates low-trust, unionized, litigious cultures.
So how does this apply to social media? The same thoughts can be moved to how followers (aka customers) feel about social media. If your company uses managing of media based on it being a ‘thing’ then your customers (current and potential) will be insulted and alienated. Pretending that its anything less than an organic culture is depersonalizing the people who use it and can harm the feel/brand of your company.
Any business using social media must see past the ‘thing’ of it and get into the personal of it and only then will you see the potential that social media can bring.