Entitlement and the Culture of Social Media

By November 4, 2010Social Media

I’d like to tell you that social media is all about butterflies and rainbows but you probably already know that’s not true.

A great feature of social media has been the advocacy action – the grassroots community building initiatives that have toppled the bad and uplifted the good.

Stories of these incidents are of a sort that (wait for it) go viral.

It’s become a custom amongst the social media set, when confrunted with truly terrible customer service to Tweet, post on Facebook and publish blog content chronicling dastardly customer service deeds.


It’s true; we have come to expect that businesses — particularly larger brands, are at least listening online. We hope (and I believe, have a right to expect) that brands are responding to their own accounts. If you’re contacting a brand to complain on the brand’s Facebook page or with an @ reply message on Twitter, they should contact you to see how they can help.


I’m concerned about this — I’m concerned that maybe we’re an overly entitled generation, demanding superior customer service not just from big brands but all the way down to small Mom and Pop shops that may not have the resources to respond to all vehicles of  communication.

Now, should these companies be setting up Twitter accounts or Facebook pages if they’re just going to ignore or abandon them? Should they have an 800 number if no one is ever going to answer it? Probably not.

What do you think? Have customer satisfaction stories in which social media plays a role made us more demanding? Is that fair?


  • Amen. Given there are 106 million twitter accounts (and counting), I would think we would give companies a break if they can’t respond to every single mention of them (especially if they are a major brand). I, too, am concerned that we are grooming a new generation of attention seekers. Social media should be as much about giving as getting (if not more). But, I also think too many companies believe that they can set up social media channels without having to monitor them. We probably should meet in the middle somewhere, where organizations monitor and respond regularly but not at the expense of doing what needs to get done to make the business run. And, we as consumers should temper our expectations that we are the center of the universe. Great conversation to start, MJ!

  • I think there is a difference between expecting a response from a company that is clearly actively involved in social media (has a Twitter account or Facebook page, etc.) and one that is not. If a company puts itself “out there” in the social media realm, they are saying to the world, “We are joining the conversation.” If they then ignore the customers who are using that media to provide feedback, negative or positive, then they have a real misunderstanding of what it means to be involved in social media.

    As a customer, you should use the avenues provided for feedback, whether that means using social media, or contacting a customer service line. If you are tweeting or blogging about a company that does not have a social media presence, or you have not already attempted to resolve the situation via a customer service request, then I think you are being unfair to the company. For example, when I posted this about Gold’s Gym: http://annieharm.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/why-cant-i-join-golds-gym-updated/ only after having tried to work it out in person and over the phone. When that didn’t work, I posted a link to the Gold’s Gym Facebook page. I wanted to give them a chance to resolve my problem and I figured since customer service wasn’t helping me, the person monitoring their social media might be more willing. They were. And to be fair to them, I updated my blog entry to reflect that they had indeed, resolved the situation and I was satisfied with the outcome.

    Give them a chance to make it right before raking them over the coals. But, if they do not respond after you give them an opportunity, they are fair game.

  • Randee says:

    First, I absolutely expect great service from a mom-and-pop store, regardless of their participation in social media…great and personal service is one reason I choose a mom and pop place. With me, my obsession with great service comes from the fact that I receive so little of it. If they have a social media account, I absolutely think it is ok to communicate via such. Convenience is part of good customer service, after all. I am so sick of shoddy service…and we live in a global economy…I have many choices when it comes to spending my hard-earned money. Is it wrong to want them to earn my money from me?