Southwest Florida Yachts


The Dark Side of Social Media
By Barb Hansen
November, 2013

The social media phenomenon is really something. The ability to communicate instantly with anyone just about anywhere in the world or to get information about most anything just keeps getting better and better each day, or is it?

I can’t argue with the ease of communications the web has brought to us as we stay in touch with friends, relatives and those who share common interests. They are all just a tweet or post away. Also, if you want to know whatever there is to know about a product or service, the web has got to be your best buddy. That is particularly helpful when you plan to buy something. There is hardly a need to go shopping anymore since you can buy most anything online knowing full well you undoubtedly got the best price since everybody knows everybody’s pricing and they are happy to ship your purchase to your door, overnight. That’s just the way things are these days. And, I’m all for it when it comes to the facts on pricing, ease of shopping and delivery to my home.

However, if you go beyond facts and seek out opinions, that’s when I have some issues. I am particularly suspicious of reviews of restaurants, hotels, resorts and the like. And the reason is simple and straightforward, these online reviews are nothing more than lies. More and more reports are surfacing regarding the veracity of these review sites on the web. I draw a parallel to some of the so-called reality shows on TV. Here again, we are seeing an increasing number of reports that the only reality about these show is the scripting that fully guides the production of each episode to assure continued audience growth. Two examples that come to mind include the show that features the valuable items buyers find when purchasing storage unit contents, which are unknown, when the rent has not been paid. Those “discoveries” that are worth so much more than what the bidder paid are typically staged. The second is the show that depicts the great deals homebuyers get in cities and towns around the world. In this case, the episodes are produced well after the sale has occurred and scripted to pique viewer interest by dramatizing the so-called “deals” these buyers get. There are more, but I think you get the point.

My suspicions on web-based reviews also comes from an experience we had with a customer I will refer to as a “nutcase” since my upbringing prevents me from referring to this individual as I would really like to. In any case, this “customer” took issue with the business practices that have evolved over the thirty years Southwest Florida Yachts has been in business. While those practices remain unchanged today since they are good and proper for us, our customers and the people who place their boats in our charter fleet, take our courses or buy/sell yachts through us, this individual saw it fit to comment by posting lies about the experience this nutcase had while a customer of our company. Despite the fact that we have been victimized, our recourse is about as good as the posting that occurred. The so-called “reputation restorers” we could retain for a substantial fee solve this problem by simply posting favorable fabrications. To me, that’s crazy. A lie is a lie, whether favorable or not. That’s not social media, that’s social madness and it makes me angry.

While I’m happy to have you tweet me, friend me or do anything else you want via social media, if you are thinking about utilizing the services of our company or any organization, check things out yourself and in person, if possible. Or seek out the opinion of someone you know and trust or who has used the services you are seeking. Vic and I have worked very hard over the last three decades to provide our customers with good value for any service we provide. We appreciate the countless repeat customers we have and that tells us we are treating people the correct way. Forget the review sites on the web unless you personally know and trust the individual whose comments are listed. If not, try a personal visit to the potential service provider or locate someone you trust who has used those services. Anything less is a shot in the dark at best.

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Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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