Houston, We Have a Problem
When I think about those famous words, “Houston, we have a problem,” I immediately envisionscores of individuals seated in rows, each facing desktop terminals, while collectively positioned infront of a series of large screens. This was after all, mission control, and the fate of the astronauts inApollo 13 rested in the hands of the technicians and scientists overseeing the operation.In the realm of social media, community management usually entailed one person tracking keywordmentions as they appeared. As conversations amplified and social graphs propagated, brandsaffected the most by never-ending activity in social networks and blogs required a more advancedsolution for tracking, measuring, and potentially engaging stakeholders, influencers, and detractors.This new obligation only intensified as social media moved from digital outliers to the mainstream.Now, some of the socially vulnerable brands in the world require a mission control not unlike whatwe envision when we hear those two words, “mission control.” The difference is that this newinfrastructure is designed to ensure positive brand experiences as well as the impact of real-timebrand democracy.In some cases, brands receive thousands to tens of thousands of mentions per day. In reality, it wastoo much for any one person to command. And like that, the importance of listening and monitoringintensified and rapidly demanded a new support infrastructure. We are now moving from the era of community management to fully fledged command centers.