I work for an academic publisher. Academics+books = small (and somewhat irrational) fear of technology. This is not speaking for everyone, of course, but it does speak to our fearless leader and some of our most beloved authors.
A friend/coworker in our marketing department and I have been debating on whether or not our company should get involved in social media. Facebook, blogs, twitter, MySpace, etc. Is it useful? Will people actually follow us? Do we even have something to say?
This seems to be the debate for anyone considering the social media scene.
I have to admit that Facebook doesn't seem to be a very strong option (and no one uses MySpace anymore). I am commonly annoyed by "fan requests" for people or businesses. I may own a pair of Keen shoes, but not everyone has to know about it. For example, the company who prints our letterhead and business cards has a Facebook page. Cute? Yes. But their fans are probably husbands/wives and close friends. I'm just sayin'.
Twitter, however, seems a more viable option. I admit that I originally joined just to see what all the hooplah was about (see my account here). Am I following more people than are following me? Absolutely. I guess I'm not that popular. I haven't really gotten "into the conversation" of Twitter and am trying to improve that now. My good friend, however, said that she has met some genuine people through Twitter, and has even come to call them friends. My other friend got hired into her public relations job in San Francisco through Twitter. All I can say to this is, Wow! But will it have the same effect with our company?
Some big-name publishing companies that have Twitter accounts:
Some academic presses are also on Twitter. A helpful listing is here. A few presses also have blogs. Did I know about any of these twitter accounts or blogs? No. Did I have to google them? Absolutely. Something is wrong here...
Some academic press twitter accounts:
Now that many companies have a greater online presence (webpages, etc.), is social media still worthwhile? Is it worth the time put in? Maybe, maybe not. But in this process a company can learn about technology, get a couple new "fans," and, if anything, make a friend or two.