Articles Tagged with Social Media

IMG_0245Numbered lists on blogs are all the rage, particularly at the turn of a new year.

Since mid December my RSS feed has been stuffed with 10 best if 2011, 20 ways to do that, and 12 things to look for in the new year. Oh February please come soon.

If you find yourself falling for this brand of year-end-birdbrainery consider the following 5 points.

Wrong Way Go BackThere is a profitability model for companies promoting themselves on Facebook and Twitter. There a lot of people making good coin from the incessant flogging of companies and organizations in social media. It just isn’t the companies themselves who are profiting.

Here is how it works in four easy steps:

  1. An executive is at the dentist’s office and sees the plea to friend and follow them. A dim light bulb goes off – “we should do this too.” Lemming marketing almost never works, particularly when you are following behind your Dentist.
  2. Someone in Marketing with an advertising background is assigned the task of building a following in “social media.” This is so important that they are given a bonus. The performance metrics are the evil stepchildren of the “brand impressions” school of marketing metrics. Quantity over quality.
  3. A campaign of whinging pleas to friend and follow ensues. We see this in every piece of literature the company products (annual reports – really?), at trade shows (“it only takes a minute!”), and even on flashing freeway signs (“great idea, let me do that while I’m driving…”). Logrolling and sock-puppetry are rampant – many of the “followers” are marketing people at other companies playing the same game.
  4. The metrics are hit, the bonus is paid. PROFIT!

This whole scenario is so wrong on so many levels it makes my teeth hurt. Here are some thoughts to help reframe this approach that map back to each stage of the process above.

moran-7512Email marketing is pretty simple – as much as possible communicate with people who want to hear from you. But a subset of these folks just don’t get it.

If I go to the trouble of clicking “unsubscribe” please do not send me ANOTHER FRICKING EMAIL CONFIRMING I NO LONGER WANT EMAIL FROM YOU.

It insures that I move from the “mildly annoyed” column to “actively pissed off at your company” status.

Social media mirrors the dynamic features of a natural ecosystem. Which niche you are going to fill? Here are four examples with loving snarkitude – feel free to add more in comments.

Hamsters constantly post small updates on every aspect of their life. Favorite habitats are Twitter and Facebook. They eat any small scrap of feedback up. Want to know what they had for dinner or what their kids did this afternoon? They will be spinning along on their wheel of self-absorption assuming the whole world is fascinated. If you are a dear friend or a family member I might be interested in this – in small doses. If you are an acquaintance – not so much.

Owls save their powder for long blog posts on their theory of life – posting infrequently but weighing down your RSS reader with dense prose. Favorite habitats are Blogger or their own bespoke blog. They eat spam comments by the barrel and sustain themselves on the infrequent genuine comment that validates their sense of importance. They sit on the Internet’s roof and hoot out who, how, and why? But really – why?

Christmas SpamIs it just me or is everyone else sick of getting “wishing you a merry christmas” emails flooding their inboxes?

I know, I know – we’re all hella busy and this is the time of year we are supposed to reconnect, so sending an on-line card or email seems like a quick solution.

But it reeks of insincerity. And its spam. So stop – pretty please?

NFImageImportliteracy n. The condition or quality of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.

Surpise! It turns out that the generation in school today is writing more and reading more. Several recent reports provide evidence to support this startling claim. The internet – a time pig that has consumed us with new ways of doing things – has wings.

This trend is global – according to the CIA literacy rates went from 50-60% in the 1970’s to over 80% by 2005. Teens are leading the way. TV is for geezers.

image001Clive Thompson over at Wired has a great short essay on the modern revival of the written word in the age of social media. He cites work done at Stanford that shows that todays students are writing more than their parents – in fact 38% of their writing is has nothing to do with school. Better yet – they are writing for an audience – or at least an audience wider than a single Professor.

Here are a couple of key quotes (emphasis added):

young people today write far more than any generation before them. That’s because so much socializing takes place online, and it almost always involves text.

failIf you want to be taken seriously in the age of social media you have to speak authentically or people won’t believe you. Your marketing messages are a promise. I’ve written about delivering on that promise. Today I want to focus on the words.

For the promise to be taken seriously the words you choose are just as important as the message they carry. If you dress it up too much you sound like you are selling – and almost no one is buying that any more.

Being authentic is scary. We have to reveal something of ourselves. We become accountable to others. But in an ocean of hype authentic voices are winning the day (blogs, wikis, Twitter) because people are hungry for genuine human connections.

1059We are collectively discovering the value of social media tools like Twitter. As we do this we wander blind alleys and make surprising discoveries. Forthwith a peeve and a rave about micro-blogging.

Peeve – People who tweet that they are about to do something. So what? How about you tweet after you have done it and have something interesting to say. “I’m off to the mall” Fascinating – yawn.

Rave – Genuine kudos handed out freely. Yesterday a friend (@perludus) had to return a pair of shoes. He tweeted “Three cheers for @Footwise! Returned my shoes that wore through the sole in 2 months w/no questions asked!” Positive energy put into the system always comes back to you. It also makes others feel positive about the world. All that in 140 characters – cool.

textFail.jpgDanah Boyd – one of the most incisive thinkers about how new technology is reshaping our lives (and more importantly to readers of this blog the lives of teenagers) – was recently hired by Microsoft Research. She gave a talk that summarized at a high level the history of social media, how teens and adults use it differently, and policy and behavioral implications for all of us to consider.

Social Media Is Here to Stay – Now What?

Its brilliant. Go read it. It will only take about 15 minutes and you will learn something – I guarantee it.