The Message Control Myth


I was listening to the Quick-n-Dirty podcast (, hosted by friends Jennifer Leggio and Aaron Strout (also a client), when their guest, Michael Brito of Intel, said something I completely agree with.

"You don’t lose control of your message if you participate (in social media)."

I have long regarded the idea of "no message control" in social media as a myth. Michael’s point was that you lose control if you don’t step in and take part. I go further, saying you only really lose control if your message is bad and people reject it.

Where do you stand on message control?

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Mobile post sent by DougH using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3


  1. Doug – a) thanks for the Q-n-D love and b) I couldn’t agree more. I think that brands only risk control if they DON’T participate in the conversation. To be clear, companies that don’t participate may still “tell” consumers what their message is… just like parents try and “tell” their teenage children what to do. However, it’s only through meaningful dialog (with some give and take) in both cases that actually has any impact at all.

    Thanks for the big thought of the day (and for @Britopian for spawning it).

    Aaron | @AaronStrout

  2. Interesting topic – imho, any message that matters is one that really resonates with your peeps (your customers, partners, investors, etc. etc.) – once it resonates, it becomes part of your brand and while you can try to create positivity around your brand by making great stuff, the brand belongs to the audience. They made it, they control, treat them well and they will most often do the same.

  3. Thanks all for comments– what i took most from this post, and thinking about it, was to merge the idea that a good message is important (my old axe) with the participation piece (Michael’s piece).

    Keith, funny you should say that– in the audio version (embedded abive) I wonder exactly that– is the word “control” part of the problem?

  4. I’ll go the next half step forward, and tell you that Social Media can give you MORE control over the message.

    The previous notion of “control” was based on ostrich-vision. Now you have an opportunity to scope and engage in very tactical ways – not only refining the message on the fly, but guaranteeing that the end result — the general synthesized impression — was closer to what you envisioned than past broadcasting afforded.

  5. Uh, it’s hard to top Ike’s genius. So, I’ll just say ‘yeah, what he said.’ ;-)

    Now, Ike…look into your crystal ball and tell us how long will it be before organizations get this concept.

    Beth Harte
    Community Manager, MarketingProfs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *