Does Social Media Monitoring Need to be 24/7?

By Mark Evans - Thursday, August 26th, 2010 at 7:32 am  

We live in a world that never sleeps. On days when I need to drive someone to the airport for an early-morning flight, the highway is teeming with traffic, which makes me ask: “Who are these people and where they going?”

Within the social media world, the same kind of frenetic 24/7 activity is alive and well. People are blogging, tweeting, updating and uploading at all hours of the day and night. You fire up Twitter in the morning to discover that someone who lives in your city has been happily tweeting away at 3 a.m.

One of the strange offshoots of this non-stop activity is that it’s being monitored on a 24/7 basis. It is not unusual for someone to receive a response from a company to a tweet or blog post at any time of the day or time, often within minutes of something being posted.

While there are companies with social media teams that monitor activity, in many cases social media monitoring is being done by one person. This can only mean they are monitoring social media activity pretty much all the time.

It raises the question about whether this is a healthy or necessary thing. Is it really necessary to monitor and respond to social media activity on a 24/7 basis?

Sure, we live in an instant-gratification world but does that mean that social media never sleeps? Is it possible to respond to someone in a few hours rather than a few minutes. Will the world end if a tweet goes unanswered for a little while?

In the short-term, I think it’s a far-fetched to think that social media monitoring will stop being a 24/7 activity. There are too many companies scrambling to establish themselves as social media leaders so they want to be seen as engaged to create a competitive edge. The last thing they’re going to do is take their foot off the gas at this point.

In time, there are are a couple monitoring scenarios that could emerge:

1. Social media monitoring will embrace the call-centre model in which large teams will work in shifts to provide a company or companies with the services they want on a 24/7 basis.

2. Some companies will realize that social media doesn’t needs to be monitored but not all the time. They will devote resources for a large part of the working day but have a period of time in which social media activity happens without them watching. When the working day starts, they will deal with any issues then.

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