Is social media good? This is possibly one of the most interesting questions I've been asked in my consultants' capacity in recent times. Of course almost all media is now social, or has a social component. Take the BBC's Question Time? Sure, its live audience participation is social, but for the rest of us it's simply broadcast TV. But things have only got more interesting for the programme's fans as the Twitter backchannel has allowed us all to join the debate.

But is social media "good"?

I hadn't seen Stephen Waddington's post this week about the police effort to capture a killer-at-large in Northumberland when I was asked this question, but his description of "digital rubber necking" makes one pause for thought. For those unfamiliar with the phrase, rubber necking most often refers to those motorists who slow down to see some vehicular carnage, and it appears that Stephen isn't too enamoured of the social media equivalent. Indeed, I felt most uneasy reading that the killer's facebook page now has 17,000 members.

So, my answer? Read more