Google Moderator: An Easy Way for Banks to be Social

March 6, 2009

tipjarAs Banks struggle to maintain their credibility, it is especially important to build goodwill, establish trust, and be concerned without seeming trite.  Many, many articles have been written on the value of web2.0 tools and their ability to engage customers in conversation.  

Personally, I hate to label blogs, wikis, and social network sites as “web2.0”.  To me, web2.0 denotes a technology; focused implementations of a larger phenomenon.  Web2.0 is simply the technology that makes a bottom up, flattened, social, collaborative web possible.

I am not one that gets all pumped by telling people about my life on social networking sites. Still, I have to admit that many of my preferred social networking tools are useful and enrich my life.

So, while I definitely don’t believe that starting a blog or wiki will pump up your stock price, I do think that financial institutions can benefit from the social web.  Of course blogs are very easy to start, but they generally don’t solicit a lot of two way conversation.

TechCrunch reported on a story about how Google is using crowdsourcing to help people save money. Google calls the site TipJar, and it was built using their Moderator product.  Surprisingly enough, the Moderator name accurately describes what it does: Moderate conversations. 

appengineWith TipJar, participants submit money saving ideas, and the “crowd” votes on those ideas. The ideas with the most votes rise to the top.  The best thing about Moderator and TipJar is that they are built on the Google app engine.  Any person, or any organization can use the Google App engine to build their own version of TipJar.

This is a great opportunity for banks and credit unions to take their social media strategy to the next level. Build a Google Moderator application and become part of the crowd.  Bank employees and customers can participate in ideas and vote the best ideas to the top.  It wont save the world, and it will probably be hard to prove a tangible ROI.  But, the next time you post a message on your website about how you understand the economic hardships of your customers, your customers might actually pay attention.

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