• Madani Sahari

Exercise wisdom when sourcing info from social media

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”, an interesting observation by Dr. Isaac Asimov, an American author and a professor of biochemistry.

It is indeed true that today’s internet provides information of all sorts from around the globe.

Information is the source of our knowledge, science or otherwise, readily accessible via modern electronic gadgetry; desktop computers, Lab-top, iPad and hand phone.

News and information travel fast through the social media and spontaneous public reaction is attainable carving opinions on any issue posted. Gone were the old ways of obtaining public feedback through surveys and reports compilations for issues raised.

On the other hand, with the ocean of knowledge and information now accessible to us a question arises is that are we able to use the information wisely, accessing the truthfulness and accuracy of what is being informed or discussed in the social media on any issue in question.

Most industries are now impacted by social media and automotive industry is of no exception. Vast discussions on all aspects of automotive from; vehicle purchases, repair and maintenance issues, quality of vehicles and their parts and components, and vehicle performances are available on the social media and the internet.

A study showed that some 38% of vehicles new buyers resort to social media in search for information to assist in their decision on vehicles makes and models prior to purchase.

Moreover 41% claimed that posts on Facebook have somewhat influenced their vehicles purchase selections.

Some 25% of vehicles owners use social media to source information, opinions and experiences of other vehicle users on the aspects of post purchased related issues such as repair and maintenance, vehicles modifications, etc.

Typically automotive manufacturers attained their vehicles quality feedback through their respective vehicle tests and inspections procedures, warranty claim reviews, dealership service records or insurance claims database.

The advent and widely used of social media by the public in recent years have convinced some automotive makers to resort to social media as one of the means to obtain feedback on their manufactured vehicles. Social media now assist these vehicles manufacturers to gather customers’ complaints and to identify quality issues long before they become crises.

Locally social media has to a certain extent now taken the front seat as information source for automotive users and enthusiasts. A positive trend no doubt but not without concern of its impact on public perceptions on various issues being promoted and discoursed.

Glaringly, while greater percentage of social media users in the advanced nations promote intellectual discourse on all issues related to automotive discrepancies, local social media participants in general prefer to highlight grievances and negative criticisms.

Perhaps such conundrum behavior among local social media participants may be attributed to them not being knowledgeable enough or lack of skill and expertise on the technicalities of the subject under discourse. However perceptions that are created can be damaging.

Conclusively, the use of social media should be encouraged and social media should be in the public domain as a source of information. However, users must exercise their wisdom in digesting the information presented by segregating poor assessments and opinions against validated and truthful views of experts.

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