Cultural Heritage

A UKOLN Blog for the Cultural Heritage sector (now archived)

What Are They Saying About Your Organisation?

Posted by Brian Kelly on March 4th, 2009

Tweets about CILIPWhat are your customers saying about your organisation? How would you find out? Gathering such market intelligence is likely to be in the remit, I would imagine, of information professionals. The type of person who might be a member of CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

So I would hope that those who actually work for CILIP have been keeping an eye on the ‘twitterverse’ over the past few days, after a blog post by Phil Bradley, in response to a post by CILIP CEO Bob Mackee, generated much discussions and airing of views, not only on the topic of the blog posts (whether CILIP should make use of services such as Twitter), but also on the relevance of CILIP itself.  Such a lively debate has been taking place that it was picked up by the Social Reporter.

Yesterday Bob MacKee responded to the furore in a post entitled “Yes, let’s try that!” in which he explained that his inital post was “was intended to provoke debate, not to dismiss the value of social media“. If that was the intention, then he clearly succeeded! And in citing the comments “You’re “angry” with CILIP, “ashamed” of CILIP, “embarrassed” by CILIP, “disillusioned” with CILIP”  it would appear that he has picked up on the feedback – although whether these are just the comments left on the original blog post by the CILIP members who are permitted to leave comments on the CILIP blog or reflect the comments made outside “officially-sanctioned CILIP spaces” is unclear.

How CILIP as an organisation will respond to the debate is a matter for CILIP and members of CILIP. And how, and indeed whether, CILIP as an organisation makes use of social media is another interesting question. But let’s not forget that social media can (and indeed is) be used by organisations to listened to what there users are saying about them. I personally have had a couple of positive experiences when providers of Web services have spotted my blog posts and responded (such as a comment from Dipity’s Product Manager following a blog post on problems I’d experienced with the Dipity timeline service. I am also please that Bath’s bus station now use Twitter and have a blog, which proved particularly useful during the recent heavy snowfalls around Bath. But when, I wonder, does listening to one’s customers turn into eavesdropping?  An interesting ethical debate – which I would hope that CILIP’s information professionals will engage in.

One Response to “What Are They Saying About Your Organisation?”

  1. Lisa Price Says:

    It’s been fascinating to see this play out. I think your question about listening/eavesdropping is interesting. Up until recent months Twitter has been the web’s backchannel. As awareness of it has grown, more people are opening up multi-accounts for private/public conversations on Twitter – enabling them to say things without their company, prospective employers, or other potentially interested parties, being able to see them.
    This has implications for the richness and disruptive ability that we know Twitter offers today.
    My Twitter account has been private for over a year – it means I can participate more fully in conversations with people I know and trust, but I can’t be truly involved in all that Twitter has to offer – for example, communicating with organisations who don’t follow me (our local bus station customer service) and there’s not much point in using hashtags since I won’t show up on the public timeline.
    I think this whole area is central to the future development of Twitter as a channel – and look forward to seeing more debate around it.