When I was a young journalist, I worked for the managing editor from Hell. I'd write a story, turn it in, he'd cuss under his breath, crumple it up and say, "Do it again."
He'd never tell me what was wrong with it, because he said he really didn't know, so he gave me no good direction. I went through that for 18 months and was on the verge of being fired every month. Talk about a gaunlet. But after those 18 months I started to see what he saw and my copy started getting better. Much better. And I could explain what made a story good or bad, which came in handy for new reporters who started to go through the gauntlet. Because I could help them, they became better faster, which made the paper better overall. I went from becoming a crappy reporter to a damn good writer and editor.
Today I see much the same thing going on in small businesses and multinational corporations. They all think they are doing social communications, but they aren't. They are creating 20th century content, stuffing it into web 2.0 sites and putting links to social platforms so lots of people can see how god-awful their stuff is. Their customers are acting like my old managing editor and tossing the stuff aside and mumbling under their breath, but they aren't telling the companies what is wrong, because most people don't know what makes good stuff. They just know it when they see it.
Some studies are coming out that companies aren't seeing value in social communication and some are saying it just doesn't work. It's like a carpenter who forgot nails complaining that his hammer doesn't work.
There are companies out there that are doing really well at social, and that keeps getting reported: That businesses have embraced the new communication medium and are making money like crazy with it. Those people probably aren't you. We know that now. We've got the numbers and it isn't what's being reported. We still have a long way to go before this new medium becomes the norm.