I’ve never shied away from a good heated debate. Confrontation and dispute are the cornerstones of innovation. Two people standing in a room agreeing with each other is rarely the background for a story that ends with progress or, at the very least, change.

Along those same veins, I’ve never been afraid to admit mistakes, omissions or errors. Failing to do so translates into a failure to learn and grow, both professionally and personally.

In the last two days I’ve received some e-mails from colleagues who, out pure entertainment, decided to take me up on my offer to read this blog. Both noted at least one major omission in my analysis of social networking sites; and, to be quite honest, their criticism is spot on.

I failed to recognize the ability of a site like Facebook to generate positive word of mouth.

Interestingly enough, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association — yes there is such a monster — notes on its Web site that facilitating positive word-of-mouth referrals begins with meeting and exceeding customer expectations in terms of service, product quality and responsiveness.

Score one for this old dog. As I stated in a previous post, new media or traditional media — it all begins and ends with the consumer.

The final bark

That fact is people are far more trusting of each other than they are of marketers or corporations. It logically follows that brands will hope to leverage loyalists by having them forward links and messages to folks in the “friends” listings and invite likely prospects to join new clubs. These efforts in and of themselves cannot be considered a complete marketing campaign; they should be paired more traditional approaches and all of it must answer to the objectives stated prior to the onset of the campaign.