To Tweet or not to Tweet - or Facebook, or Link In - those are the questions. And if only there were a bottom-line dollar amount to show for every hour spent debating the issues there'd likely be no quandary at all. But there's no hard revenue, yet, only the promise of making "friends" with GenY consumers, and some of their parents, whose social lives have fully integrated these online networks.
"I have this conversation on a weekly basis; clients ask, 'I want to know how I can make money off of social media'," says Jacob Jegher, a senior analyst in Celent's banking group. "We're not at that stage yet. The important thing is to build presence, as channels evolve there may be opportunities for customer acquisition."
Once you accept that there's no money in them now, the questions become the realm of marketing and technology departments: Which platforms are valuable and how do we make sure they're safe? The stories on following pages argue that LinkedIn and Twitter are worth the time and limited investment - the most successful efforts have viral appeal - but that Facebook is best left as a place for actual friends.