Magazine article Management Today

MT Learning Curve: Online 'Friendship'

Magazine article Management Today

MT Learning Curve: Online 'Friendship'

Article excerpt

What is it? Once upon a time, you met people in the real world (or off-line as we now call it), got to know them and decided whether or not to become friends. Now we 'friend' or (even worse) 'unfriend' people at the click of a button, forming networks of associates online. Business, of course, has always wanted to get 'close to the customer'. So how exciting would it be if companies could truly become the friends (or 'friends') of its customers? Marketing people are excited about what social media could do for them. But this new kind of friendship may not always be as rewarding as all that.

Where did it come from? People started getting emails from an outfit called Friendster in 2002. This was an early entrant into this techno world. Strangers could apparently become 'friends', a new and slightly unsettling suggestion. For a while Friendster led. Sadly for this business, the rise and rise of Facebook pushed Friendster into the shadows (although it still has a strong presence in Asia). Bebo and MySpace, other once-thrusting social media networks, have also fallen prey to the Facebook effect. …

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