How should Nestlé use social media?

by LeaningLactivist on November 24, 2009

in Lactivism

Annie at PhD in Parenting has been taking the time to ask Nestlé some seriously important questions and then (more importantly in my opinion) construct well-researched, thought provoking responses that push back on what Nestlé has put out there.

One of the final questions tackled is the following -

Moving forward, what steps do you plan to take to use social media and engagement with bloggers to get input into corporate policies and practices? Or are you looking to social media simply as a cost effective marketing tool?

Nestle’s non-answer to this question was:

We are always looking for ways to engage in meaningful dialogue with consumers and others interested in Nestlé. (Looking but not explaining concrete, verifiable steps that you could be held to account over, I see) Certainly, engaging in social media will continue to be one of many ways we try to do that. We welcome ideas from you and your readers. (I’m sure you’d love to keep good people busy chasing their tails that way) We hope you’ll visit us at http://creatingsharedvalue.org (yes, I broke the damn link – you want to go there use your copy/paste) to share your comments, opinions and questions. (Thanks for the invitation but I think I’ll pass on that.)

Her question to us was -

What do you think?

What do you think of Nestle’s answer? What do you think of its track record surrounding the Nestle Family event? How do you think Nestle should be using social media?

What do I think?

I agree with Elita at Blacktating that Nestlé is a racist corporation targeting developing countries and people of color. I believe that they are one of the most corrupt, unethical corporations in the world. I believe they will not stop this unethical behavior on their own and we, as a community, need to keep holding them accountable for what they are doing while we  move in other directions to address our issues with the company and it’s behavior with more powerful organizations that can (should they choose to) put curbs on Nestlé that we simply cannot.

On an side note, I think I’ve been behaving like a privileged little princess* by doing a half-assed Nestlé boycott in my house until recently.

What do you think of Nestle’s answer?

I think there were lots of words used to say exactly nothing. I was not impressed with the fact that they dodged Annie and then invited everyone over to their new digs to share our comments, opinions and questions. Color me WEV.

What do you think of its track record surrounding the Nestle Family event?

I missed all the Twitter traffic (and I think I’m glad I did to be honest). Coming away from this I think it was a crying shame that the bloggers were left defending the castle while Nestlé took its own sweet time joining the fracas. I’m sorry that those bloggers ended up feeling as though they needed to pick a side. Given the fact that some of the most intense conversation away from Twitter was happening immediately before and during the event (where they were with flesh-and-blood Nestlé representatives) the shot-gun wedding with Nestlé was easy to foresee. When faced with the choice of believing one side or the other it’d be pretty damn hard for me to choose the disembodied voices of people trying to get me to think critically – in both senses of the word – about the group I was physically taking up space with.

I watched all kinds of fail as good breastfeeding advocates were accused of tone arguments mostly centering around being hostile, unwilling to believe hear what Nestlé was saying (the assumption being that because the yada yada from Nestlé was news to some it was news to all), and the lumping of everyone in the discussion under the umbrella of the nukers.

How do you think Nestle should be using social media?

I refuse to waste my time thinking about how Nestlé should or could use social media because I refuse to inadvertently give them an idea that they can use to their advantage. I believe that Nestlé’s use of social networking sites will be as corrupt as their current behavior so trying to figure out socially responsible ways for Nestlé to use social networking is a doomed endeavor.

*~*~*~*~*~*

I think what Annie is doing is important and I’m so glad there are people like her out there attempting to hold Nestlé accountable. I think she’s joining in a fight that needs to be fought and I thank her, IBFAN, Baby Milk Action and the WHO for keeping the spotlight shining on Nestlé.

Me? I have other plans for where I choose to spend my energy.

* If you get grumpy that I called myself a privileged little princess and think I’ve somehow taken a swipe at you because you just love your Nestlé chocolate or have to have yourself some of that Nescafé in the morning – take a deep breath and repeat after me “It’s not about you (me) so don’t make it about you (me).”

{ 4 comments }

Erin W. November 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Fantastic post! I was just learning about the Nestle Boycott when the Nestle Family Event took place, so I didn’t quite get some of the buzz on Twitter, but I agree wholeheartedly that Nestle should be held accountable for their immoral marketing practices, as well as a great number of other things, and I think that Annie is doing a damn fine job of shining the light and raising awareness of what’s going on.

LeaningLactivist November 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

That she is. I don’t know where she finds the intestinal fortitude but I’m glad she can because her series is an excellent educational tool.

Rachel November 30, 2009 at 12:11 am

Nestle has to clean house and get things in order before they can be open and forthright with the community (i.e., the world).

LeaningLactivist November 30, 2009 at 11:28 am

You are absolutely right. I’m not holding my breath though.

What I am – finally – doing is educating my partner and my kids about Nestlé so my personal boycott isn’t undermined by a clueless purchase from one of them. It may not be important to them personally but since it’s now important to me I’ve told them they need to get on the bandwagon.

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