Are Social Media Outlets Hiding Information From Users?

In the past few years, we have learned that most social media providers are not about their users or about promoting free speech as was designated as their original purpose for existing.  No, they are a business with customers who are not necessarily the same as their users.  Most social media outlets are about profit through advertising dollars and promoting the beliefs/values of the outlet's owners.  Social media  platforms keep changing who they allow to voice opinions on their networks and what they will allow the remaining network audience to see.   A few of these actions may be directed at preventing "misinformation" or encouraging  "disinformation" to appease the government or other powers, but more are about controlling what facts social media users see. Whether hiding select information is done at the direction of owners, advertisers, or politicians is not shared with their users.  

Well-known social media platforms continue hiding information from users by constantly changing how the information is displayed.  When hiding started in 2020, Facebook users were encouraged to either view a "fact check" or "alternative view" article first before clicking through to what they wanted to view.  Twitter did something similar with a friendly warning pop-up when users wanted to share "questionable" items and forcing user to choose to continue by clicking option in pop-up or outside of it to cancel communication.  Now, the user sometimes also may click an additional option on the post to see one-time view of the article image link or video link.  To prevent the complaints, users are allowed to go to a "security" option to turn-off the platform's latest change.  

     Example of Twitter Popup when Retweeting Website/Articles 

     Example of Twitter Text on select Website/Video as of 3-4-2022 

     Example of Twitter to Change View Settings (from above) to Prevent Blocking 

Are these new changes letting users control more of what they see or is it still about the social media outlet keeping control?  Will users take the 2nd or 3rd click/step required to see the hidden information from selected sites?  Will other platforms choose to change "sensitive" view options that make it sound like users will see pornogrghy instead of platform-deemed "questionable" information.  Are social media owners hoping users will not exercise their personal choice by making the extra effort to click again?  Is the reason platforms are requiring the extra clicks so they can track user choices better or find out what is most popular topics?  Will any of it make a difference to owner's profits, advertiser's bottom-line, or to the user's free speech?  Do social media users still have the option to gather their own facts and form their own opinions? 

Articles and videos continue to get blocked, not because they have been individually "fact checked," but due to the main URL of the .com/.net/.org being targeted for reasons known only to the social media provider.   Or in the case of a video, it might it be a particular Youtube, TV, or cable channel suppression. So where do users go to find truth/facts or lies/fiction now?   

The user should have the opportunity to decide, not the social network outlet.  Yes - that's a lot of embedded questions above that are definitely NOT hidden from view!  Why?  Because  questions make you think.  If you think, then you can form your own opinions.  Sharing opinions in an acceptable and respectful way is allowed freedom of speech

Uncovering Key Business Management Issues

The economy is down and inflation is rising!  The pandemic is not coming to an end yet and schools move to and fro with web-based classrooms - continuing to effect the workability and challenge flexibility of employees.  There are so many issues facing business this year, it is no wonder managers are trying to find what they should be doing to keep their business thriving.  Many are turning to their Human Resource departments to do research or they are doing their own research on the internet or by reading  multiple business-related publications.

There are so many articles and surveys trying to give leaders some sort of idea where to concentrate their efforts.  However, they need to be read carefully for who the article is meant to help.  Is it meant to help most corporations stay in-the-black, or to keep small businesses afloat in uncertain times, or is the article really meant to generate a business need that will actually profit the article writer more than those who read the article or post?

Two surveys that you may want to review include:

Is technology a big issue for business in 2022?  Security companies are telling business mangers that cyber security should be their main concern to prevent business interruptions.  However, only 57% of managers they surveyed agreed with that.  At the same time, companies that offer telecommunications are still saying it is important to increase virtual meeting capability and phone app usage as the pandemic has taken various twists and turns.  Are they right and are telecommunication companies ready to meet performance requirements?  Does your company need new technology, better technology, or updates to telecommuting processes and policies?

Are social issues and/or DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) a current  issue for business?  Although consultants will tell you these are major concerns, do they really affect the bottom line?  Yes, if you choose the wrong ones!  Social awareness is supposed to be key to the newer generation of employees but following what maybe advertised as politically correct has cost many companies in loss of valuable customers due to boycotts the past few years.  DEI was low on the Gartner survey as it does impact Human Resources,  Not only as a training program, employees have left companies for bringing in propaganda disguised as "diversity training" that was insulting to their personal morals, values, ethics, and intelligence.  These same employees took customers when they reported the that information on social media, which created a PR nightmare and devastated the image of those companies.  Traditional versions of DEI and EEO to build trust and understanding. as well as prevent racial issues has been effective for decades.  But some of the new "improved" versions may not be what they claim, instead they can build distrust and division.  Employees working against each other can not be good for business.  Management and HR must research heavily and attend the training themselves before they bring in anything that is not skills related to verify it meets their needs to include others not divide people.  Consultants and training material providers want to make sales, just like you do - so verify the facts instead of believing the pitch.  Make sure what you buy truly matches corporate culture and  beliefs.

Is supply chain still a key issue for businesses to be concerned about? This concern did make the bloomberg survey as the continued pandemic has and will affect it.  Whether your business is a supplier or uses supplies, you should be adapting your processes sustainable and resilient.  Organizations will need to become streamline and agile.  Products quality also needs to be maintained to ensure repeat customers. who are moving from a just-in-time ordering process to a storing for future purposes.

Seems like business managers may be better focused on the needs of their particular business than listening to the trends.  Read the surveys to learn what others think, but keep in mind that is their impression based on their experience not yours.  Focus on your compnay leadership, your customer service, and your process improvement.  Yes, you can research "what's new" just be sure to check it through your professional lens to determine if it meets you needs or just send your dollars down the drain into another's profits.  Jumping on a new bandwagon without really looking, means you are likely to totally miss your target!

Holiday Concerns in Current Business Climate

The holiday season is hectic and often stressful for employees and employers.  Wholesale supply chain issues make it hard to provide what is needed for manufacturing products or selling consumer goods. Piling on the stress for employees is schools choosing to restart on-line learning or reducing the hours on campus during the holiday season.  This forces parents to either take-off from the workplace that they recently returned to or work remotely to cover childcare and insure lessons get done.  It forces employers and their human resource departments to either do without some of their workforce or scramble to create workarounds to continue productive performance.  

New government mandates also add to this stress by telling individual and companies what they have to do and not how to pay for it without increasing the already rising inflation and the cost of doing business. "It pits government against private employers instead of working with them to create a safe working environment” says Retail Industry Leaders Association.  Employee moral and motivation may be at an all-time low with the continued restrictions, changing narrative, and perceived violation of personal rights.

These challenges make it hard for companies to take advantage of the holiday season opportunities to bolster their profits after a particularly hard past tow years.  The economy is on a downward trend making it hard for both employers and employees to look forward to a bright future.  Even though it seems hard to trust that success is around the corner, with the possibility of new "health" lockdowns as occurred in 2020, goal-setting and flexibility are very important to making the next year better for business.  

What Is the Best Alternative for Social Marketing?

Businesses are getting conflicting messages on what to do with their social media accounts.  Articles paid for by the social media companies say profits are up.  However, customers have left Facebook, Twitter,  YouTube and others citing: their censorship of posts, too many ads, or increasing restrictions.  Technology changes, cyber-security issues, and varying user needs are being reflected in multiple new platforms are being designed and re-designed.  New social media and other interaction alternatives seem to be coming out on a more frequent basis.  

It seems that social marketing is not what it used to be.  Where is the profitability for companies to continue to have a social media presence with specialized pages or advertisements?  What are the best alternatives for different types of businesses to reach the customer-base they want?  If you have questions about what to do now,  you may find some answers by reviewing the posts and articles below.  

If something peaks your curiosity, you can refine your own web search using concepts and idea presented in the text of an article or post you read.

Getting Back to Work

The statistics for people returning to work, after the state and/or national shutdowns, can be confusing.  Some reports say possibly 40% of the former workforce DO NOT want to return to work because they are getting paid to stay home by the government in the form of both unemployment benefits and stimulus checks.  Others say that 2/3 of the workforce are afraid to return to work since new cases of virus are being reported and they fear getting sick.  While other reports show 25%-29% want to return to work but want more flexible work days/hours because they got used to telecommuting and doing work-from-home.  

Studies show some employees feel they are more productive working from home, whereas others feel they accomplish more at-the-office.  However, there are articles that show people want to get back to a workplace where they can collaborate in-person with others, not be distracted by children, and also return to developing their careers.

Safety options companies are considering to bring back their employees include:

  • Having everyone in the office, warehouse, restaurant, or store continue to wear face masks provided by company
  • Allowing only people with an approved vaccination and health card to come into company facilities (Rockefeller Foundation survey indicates 9 out of 10 companies prioritize this) 
  • Providing counseling and support and for this stressful situation to those concerned employees
  • Educating employees through health professionals (live or video) on illness signals and stress signs to be aware of
  • Continuing telecommuting and virtual meetings for unvaccinated employees
  • Offering on-and-off site workday scheduling options for experienced employees they wish to keep
  • Using more on-line options for interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and training to fill open positions

Company owners and managers need to decide what IS or is NOT working for the profitability and productivity of their organizations.  After issues are reviewed, re-opening options considered, and best policy/process is chosen to get people back to work, then communicate that to current and potential employees via company website.   Send emails or letters to employees to let them know the highlights and refer them to website for details and new information as decisions are made. 

The Business of Energy - Which is Best for All?

Many parts of America experience cold weather in winter.  However there are also locations in the United States that typically have a mild or warm winter.  In February 2021, most of America woke up to find below freezing weather and that citizens, utility companies, and government agencies were unprepared for the crisis that came next.  Instead of being warm from their heating units, they were cold as power went out when windmills froze and electrical lines went down. Environmental technology was failing!  Not only were people cold, in some places, they were unable to connect via internet or phone - so no working from home or getting televised updates on crisis!  There were others who could not use water for cleaning and drinking as public water facilities went down due to frozen equipment failure and pipes bursting not just in homes, but in many buildings and outside locations. 

For years the USA has been encouraged to move away for the fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil which there is lots of within country across various states) to more environment--friendly "green initiatives" to prevent global warming.  As windmills froze and solar panels proved useless during the gray days and long nights of the cold spell, people began to doubt the wisdom of these initiatives.  When you and your family are huddled under multiple blankets around a small fireplace to keep warm due to power outages, it is hard to believe "global warming" is really a real thing.  Many now believe fossil fuels should still have a key place in America and governments now need to look at the truth about energy alternatives to get the best service and economical options for their citizens. 

Every type of energy resource does have some bad environmental impacts as well as some good ones.  Each type may have: some long-term money saving advantages, immediate economical impact on workers' jobs, and possible expensive start-up costs. Below are links to pros and cons of different energy sources.  Please note that the wind option states that it had less American government money spent on research but it is also primarily a NON-USA business.  Naturally, moving to NON-USA energy sources will automatically mean a reduction of American jobs and ultimately an increase of costs that impacts both citizens and businesses.

Is Deglobalization the New Business Solution?

Over the past few decades, world trade opportunities led many companies to see globalization as a way to increase sales growth and potential profits.   Moving manufacturer to countries where labor was cheaper or regulations less strict seemed important to cost cutting efforts and again increased profits.  

Due to the world pandemic and economic ramifications causing a break in the supply chain as well as rising shipping rates and import/export costs, some corporations are not only rethinking globalization.  They are questions how to work during global isolation.  Plus many organizations are also considering deglobalization as a possible economic resolution.  

Is the new concept of deglobalization the most recent answer to companies changing the way they do business?  Will deglobalization decrease or increase investment opportunities?  Are the business trends really moving from a history of worldwide marketplaces and returning to home base operations?  If the trend in more national than global, how does this impact future product marketing and sales?  If the trend is more local than world-wide, what does that mean for human resources departments and employee placement?  What does it mean for building factories, moving manufacturing, customer service, and more for logistics, productivity, and quality?

What do you think?  Have you read any good articles that helped your compnay make decisions regarding globalization or globalization?  If you have, please share article sources and hyperlinks in comments on thsi post.


Committing to Corporate Citizenship

Investopedia defines corporate citizenship as "the social responsibility of businesses and the extent to which they meet legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities, as established by shareholders."  So how does citizenship impact profit, after all profit is the reason most businesses exist.  However, putting profit over people can eventually cause a company to loose some customers, which does impact the bottom line.

Most organizations understand meeting legal requirements and how the economy affects them, in order to stay on business but do they understand social responsibility?  For decades companies have been training employees and leadership in business ethics  and corporate values.  The clearest way to understand social responsibility is it is taking corporate ethics and values outside the company and into the community.  This can be done via charitable activities and contributions, which may be done corporately or by sponsoring the actions of specific employees.  

There are five stages to developing corporate citizenship: Elementary, Engaged, Innovative, Integrated, and Transforming (similar to the stages of team-building).  In between each the five stages, companies develop the four C's: Credibility, Capacity, Coherence, and Commitment. 

Entrepreneur says the initial cost of becoming socially responsible in stage one will negatively affect profits, which is why many companies move no further than elementary stage.  However their article uses the case that consistent  citizenship can build a good corporate reputation that may eventually lead to profits in a socially conscience environment.  To ensure that corporate citizenship happens within the company, it is important to include it in long-term strategy planning and goal setting.  However, be careful in how you use your citizenship actions and contributions in marketing on social media and corporate websites.  Aligning unwisely to the wrong types of non-profit organizations or causes can result in looking unpatriotic or overly political, which may result in possible boycotts and lost business.  

Want more information on how to create corporate social responsibility (CSR), watch the 1 hour video Corporate Citizen: Risk & Internal Controls by Strategic Business Leadership (SBL).