It's a "blip", a "total load of bollocks" and a bandwagon that cannot be missed all in one.
The successes of websites like Facebook are mere blips, but what comes after them will define how businesses are run in the future, according to finance experts.
A behind closed-doors meeting of bankers, social media experts and technologists at The Financial Services Club last night revealed how the sector which traditionally leads technology innovation views social media technology.
The event, held at the Lloyds building in London, delivered a clear message that banks must embrace social media. But work needs to be done by banks to work out how and where to use it.
"Websites like Twitter and Facebook are just blips but it's what comes after that matters," said one attendant.
But banks know that what follows the likes of Twitter and Facebook will depend on how businesses develop the technology.
This is what financial services experts, who wished to remain anonymous, think about social media:
- "Social media is the plumbing of collaboration."
- "Twitter is interesting but I do not know why. It is interesting because people are using it."
- "If you want to adopt social media you need to listen to what people are saying about it by monitoring online discussions."
- "Businesses can facilitate customer services through social media but it is not the answer to everything."
- "Most businesses in this country are one-man bands and most of these are online. They would like to be able to run their businesses online including dealing with banks and the tax office for example."
- "Banks will have to get used to the idea that there will be some customers will want to use the web."
- "In 1923 the head of the Post Office said he could not see any uses for a telephone apart form calling servants."
- "Corporates are already monitoring data feeds to see what people are talking about through mechanical scanning of social media feeds."
- "In financial services we are still in the educational phase."
- "There will be a bonus for banks that experiment early with social media."
- "Banks can't experimented because of heavy regulations."
- "Social media is a good way of engaging with employees as well as customers."
- "How does social media transfer to the corporate context is what banks are trying to understand. There has to be a new way found for doing this."
- "I am not certain [banks] are in a position to use social media credible."
- "A lot of it is total bollocks."
- "Once a customer question has been answered by a corporate through a social media site it doesn't have to be re-answered again and again."
- "We do not deny that this technology will be used by us but to do this will require things we do not know."
- "Banks could start working with third parties for technology because it is hard to change legacy systems."
- "Two banks ask me to build a community for them every week."
- "If the way to make money out of social media was obvious Facebook would be doing it."
- "The designed for purpose of technology in banks is never the purpose it is put to."
- "We might make a product designed for loans and it could end up being used for payments."