Custodial Maintenance of the Social Web

By: Mike Manuel - January 7, 2008

So despite all the hype I and others wrap around social media programs, there remains a very raw, very real and very unsexy part of this line of work that seldomly gets discussed — and that’s the ugly, but critical custodial maintenance of the social web.

This is what I jokingly, err, awkwardly refer to as "Janitor 2.0"

Like it or not, the creation and adoption of social tools for business, be they blogs, forums, wikis, or otherwise, each comes with their own unique maintenance needs — and yeah, those needs must be tended to; often by a quiet, nameless pool of marketing, PR and web folk who work pretty damn hard to ensure everything else works as it should.

Broken links. Comment spam. Trackback spam. Invite scrubs. Inconsistent tags. Email filtering. Page overloads. Server balancing. Browser incompatibilities. And the list goes on, you get the gist.

It’s all the unspoken, unexpected and undervalued stuff that must happen every day to keep a healthy "conversation" going.

For this reason, it’s a huge defining factor between the success or failure of a social media program. Fittingly, it’s also an important defining factor between those "new media experts" that know what they’re talking about and, well, those that use the word "easy" a lot.

My advice?

Using social media is a powerfully messy business. Anticipate and over plan for the maintenance, upkeep and clean up of every social tool you use, and generally speaking, accept the fact that you have yet another hat to wear, a blue one this time, in this messy middle. Good luck.

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Mike Manuel

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Mike ManuelMike Manuel is the founder of the award winning Media Guerrilla blog. Media Guerrilla is an insiders take on the practice of technology public relations with a focus on the issues, tactics and trends that are specific to the tech industry.

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