Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

We’ve all seen the Wizard of Oz, and I’m sure we all remember the story of ‘ the man behind the curtain’. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on some of the evolution we have seen in how companies interact with their customers using social media, and saw a parallel.

The first social networks drew their audiences from the individual users. It wasn’t long before we started to see companies jump on the bandwagon and start creating their own social media presences. These presences were mostly ‘anonymous’ since you didn’t really know who was behind the scenes, aside from the fact that the account had an official-looking name that was seemingly tied to the company. Responses by these accounts were hit or miss, and it was more like chucking feedback over the wall, and you really had no idea if anybody was even there to catch it.

Lately, I’ve seen a shift away from ‘corporate accounts’ towards ‘personal accounts’ managed by people who just happen to work for a company. One of the cool side effects that this has created is that it’s opened the doors to actual relationship building with real people – something you could never do with an anonymous corporate account. To all of the companies who are empowering your employees to step up, speak out, and represent, you’re getting it right, keep it up! This style of interaction really works, and it’s changing the way we collaborate and communicate. Remember folks, social is about relationships, and people form those relationships. It’s the man BEHIND the curtain that matters.