Archive for the 'Social Networks' Category

The Attention Economy is Distracting Me

distract

Twitter has the RT button and the favorite button. Linkedin has an endorse button, Facebook has a like button and G+ has the plus.  I know you “get” what they all do, at least you should, but I have a question for you.  Aren’t all of those social buttons just surface level engagement triggers that require little or no engagement by the user and the recipient? Yes? No?

Of course they are, and I’m OK with it  and you should be too. Let me explain. I’ll keep it brief.  :)

When you notice or have been notified that you have been liked or favorited or endorsed, what changes for you? How do you react? Do you feel that you now must reciprocate? Do you like the attention you just received? Was it your goal to get attention? Do you care? Do you feel anything or do you just move on? It all depends on who it is, right? For me, I try to take time to understand the why behind the why. Why did that person do what they just did? What were they trying to elicit from me? Why me? But maybe I’m looking too deeply into the action than the action itself really deserves? I think I am.

You see, because of the volume of content that one is subjected to each and every day, at least from my standpoint, the ability to give that content or source, all of the needed attention it made greatly deserve, is greatly diminished. The best you might get from me as I race past your stuff at 100 mph, is the virtual equivalent of a nod.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to read your stuff, it’s just that the best you can get from me right now is a like or a star or a favorite.

The only slight little problem with that “action,” is that by allowing people to click a like or favorite button, we unknowingly might be reducing true engagement and the possibility of an actual, ok semi-actual, conversation.

The irony though, is that we (marketers) still look at that piece of user/consumer data as being really valuable; and don’t get me wrong, it does have a use and value. It’s just that we’re so desperate for good social data, that we’re willing to create, support and proactively use a somewhat worthy and somewhat hollow metric that is The Like, The RT, The Endorse and The Favorite.

What those buttons really measure is a modicum of attention, a flicker of action and the “hope” of engagement.  So why are we suckers for clicking on them?  For the majority of users, NOT clicking the button means that they might NOT get something for their time and effort. For the rest of us, clicking is the least (or maybe the most) that can we do in this always on, multi-channel, multi-device world.

I do want to read your stuff, I really do. I just don’t have an answer for you yet on how I can add your content to the 32 tabs I have open, Besides, I’m too busy looking at someone’s profile who I don’t know, endorsing me for a skill I don’t have on Linkedin. :).

About these ads

The Way Social Media Used To Be

From the cartoonery of John Atkinson and WrongHands we give you… Vintage social networking.

vintage-social-networking

When Does Social Media Really Work?

The beauty of social media isn’t in the online connections.  It’s not about the numbers, never has been.  OK,  maybe it is to marketers, but that’s because they operate from a different perspective.  No the beauty of social media is in it’s potential.  It’s potential to connect people from divergent backgrounds or in the same city or that have the same common interests.  It can really connect people in infinite ways.   That may seem somewhat preachy or full of green meadows, unicorns and rainbows but it’s true.

Recently in the Wall Street Journal, there was an article titled , Why Successful Branding Still Happens Offline.  The article was good but it was really similar to a thousand other articles that I have read over the years about how brands need to do this or that in social in order to be successful.  As I neared the end of the piece, I read the following:

The great social wave is an opportunity that no business can afford to ignore or look at myopically. It’s happening all around us – and to the continuing surprise of many, it’s mostly happening face-to-face

I’ve said the first part of that sentence, again, a thousand times about ignoring social at your own peril, blah, blah,blah.  But the back half of the sentence struck a nerve.  It’s mostly happening face to face.  Basically where social takes off and takes on magical tones is when we get to associate a name with a physical face and voice and not an avatar.  Going to a conference and meeting that person that you have had tens of twenty or hundreds of conversations with on Twitter or Facebook or blog comments.  That’s the money shot.

Whether you do business with someone online or whatever it is you or your company might do with social, it’s always going to be or should be based on some type of interaction and then some type of result.  Taking social offline should be the goal of every online social media encounter worth its weight.

Relationships In A Socially Connected World

In the New York Times recently there was an article titled, My Dinner With Clay Shirky, and What I Learned About Friendship which I highly recommend. The piece was essentially about an authors  dinner experience with noted writer, speaker, and internet ethnographer Clay Shirky. If you don’t know who Clay Shirky is, go to Amazon and read some excerpts from his two books Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organization and Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

The gist of the NY Times piece was that if we’re not careful we could spend so much time interacting with people on the Web that we could become a little socially deficient. Ironically, this week we held a social media tweetchat hosted by Jamie Sandford on how one cultivates relationships in a social world. The parallels were neat and not lost on me. On the one hand we had Shirky wanting us to take it offline and on the other, we had a group of people in a tweetchat talking about how to make online connections stronger with the eventuality that we do take them offline.

Complete and utter online social immersion can make us feel like we are so busy with our connections that don’t have time for the offline world. Just as quickly however, if we don’t take the time to balance the two or at least make the attempt to deepen our online relationships we can easily feel the false euphoric high of quantity give us the semblance of relationships. Yet the reality is the payoff rests in face to face interactions.  We spend so much time cultivating our numbers on various social platforms that we begin to think we have “a lot” of “friends”.

Our manufactured  social world allows to think we’re popular until we step out from behind the machine. The point? Even in a connected world, we have to make the effort to cultivate a virtual relationship into something greater than the sum total of the networks that we are part of.

When Familiarity Breeds Familiarity

Everything seems hard the first time we do it doesn’t it? Until it no longer ceases to be difficult and then it becomes innate, routine and sometimes mundane. On the web, we as digital marketers and change agents, worry that the sites, applications and networks that we build, share and promote aren’t intuitive enough. Yet even the toughest of sites to navigate seem to succeed with massive amounts of traffic and uniques. Why is that?

Because people want to go there. People want to use that site. No matter how difficult it is. Sites that are providing some type of payoff to be there, can overcome design inefficiencies on large scales. Be it a utility like email, a social network like Facebook, or a site where we buy stuff like Amazon or sell stuff like Ebay, people who want to, neigh need to use that site, will figure out how to use that site, no matter how difficult is it.

What does this mean?

Besides the fact that those that create web content and applications have a tremendous opportunity to deliver to users who have been inundated with a plethora of bad web stuff, great content and deliverables- What it really means is that when building for a Web 3.0 world… Less is more, more is not better, better doesn’t mean simple, simple doesn’t mean good, good can be bad, bad can be worse, simple can be bad, assuming can be bad, knowing is good, asking is better, change is good, change is bad and change is constant.

So is it a good thing to change? Who’s more comfortable with bad, you or your users?

The secret sauce of social is selfishness-and that’s not a bad thing

Excuse me while I say the following: If  it wasn’t for social media, you wouldn’t be anywhere near where you are right now in your career. To put it more succinctly, social media has made a lot of you. Yes I know that’s like saying if it wasn’t for the internet Bill Gates wouldn’t be anything but another coder, but let me back up. You see, for a lot of us, and notice I said us, social media added that missing layer. That missing dimension, that lens  into our personal, private and public lives.

Social is the accelerant.

In a way, using social is very much like wining and dining to get what we need.  For some, utilizing social media to “court” others and market ourselves, is the same as drug reps taking doctors on ski trips to “earn” their business.  Or going out on a date where we both talk about ourselves. It’s an interview. It’s the handshake and the introduction. Social is the empty seat next to you on an airplane that soon will be occupied by someone you can talk to for 3 hours. Or not. The potential is there should you choose to engage. The seat is the tool or the platform for discussion..

People have been using each other for centuries. In social media, the same holds true. People are using each other because they’re seeing that our social selves  can be so easily intertwined into our ability to create, and curate; and yet it’s also dependent on consumption, its dependent on sharing, dependent on broadcasting the message, the message that is you and me. Some of you may or may not know this but we are feeding off of each other. We’re sitting across from each other on that plane and we both have the same opportunity to talk to each other and take it to another level.

Without those elements, you are nothing but a product of what we were prior to the boom of the internet- a product of the 80’s and early 90’s. You are static. Social has added flash to your being. It’s added substance to who you are or… who you want to be, should you so choose.

It starts with Linkedin

Think about this.  Linkedin is and became one of the initial gateways into people’s lives; and for a lot of people, who were never into that “social thing”, and who are still not that social, Linkedin is their gateway into social media.  In fact, if we go by the 90-9-1 model, Linkedin might be as social as some people will ever get! But at the end of the day, is Linkedin a social network? Perhaps. It has elements of social. But what Linkedin really is, is it’s our vetting tool. It’s  our way to learn more about others, and have others learn more about us. But really it may have evolved with Linkedin, but it started with blogging.

Bloggers were considered outlaws

Social has a quid pro quo nature to it. In fact, today’s social elements were born out of the early days of blogging which were veiled in a sensibility of  “us versus them”  camaraderie. Essentially it boiled down to a  “if you show me yours I’ll show you mine” mentality of reading, commenting, and sharing each others blogs. It was almost the manual defacto way that you grew your readership. But it also allowed us to show each other and others our many layers in ways in which we never were able to before.

Blogs allowed us and allow us to say whatever we wanted when we wanted, and we used each other, and then we used someone else, and they used us too-and we let them, if it grew our readers. It’s how blogging works.  Funny but in the non-blogging world, we indirectly and directly use each other every day by associating ourselves with new people and entities that we think can help us get where we want to go. It’s not sacrilege to say this but people use each other all the time; but it might be sacrilege to say this though…Using each other is the nature of social media.

We call it social media but it could easily be called useful media.

Social has added that dimension of vetting the who, search added the dimension of vetting the what. Yet we still have to work, we still have to pay our bills, and eat, drive, sleep and do that daily mundane life stuff; because the  human element still weaves its way through all of that offline stuff. The new difference is, social media is adding that dynamic layer of personal utility. It’s adding the layer of creating who we are, so that someone might see who we are. Social is selfish. It helps us. It connects us. And that’s not a bad thing, it’s more just the reality of where we are going.

On Dependence of 3rd Party Platforms and Leaving the Grid

We use Gmail to send email. We use Facebook to connect with our past. We use Twitter to let people know what we’re doing right now. Without technology, how would we connect with people? The phone, the written word via snail mail, and or lo and behold… face to face?

What happens if Facebook, Apple,  Twitter, Youtube, Pandora, Verison, Spotify, Evernote, Amazon, Google and Microsoft were to go away? What happens? Life goes on. Case in point, you’re talking to someone on your cell phone and the call is dropped, what do you do? You look at the phone, you may call them back, you may not, you shrug your shoulders and life goes on.

Have you ever thought about how dependent you are on the digital things that make your life go? I know I do. In fact, we often joke about what would happen if some of us were off the grid for any substantial amount of time.Would we  shrivel up like a raisin? Get a case of the DT’s? For some it’s possible, they can hop right off of the grid and shut it down no problem. Digital for those that can’t disconnect, resembles some type of ambient ubiquity which they cannot separate themselves from for any extended period of time-like 2 days.

But what if someone just disconnects

This morning I was looking for someone who I had gotten to know fairly well who essentially created a whole new life for himself  around social media. They created a slipstream niche around how to use social media for SMB’s. They wrote a book, they V-logged, they tweeted over 15,000 times, they created an active Facebook page, and then all of a sudden. No more. The sites are shut down, the social profiles are dormant and the person has just disappeared from the social ecosystem.

Did he die? Did he just decide that social media is so superficial that there has to be something better out there? Did he get a new job that necessitates that he not participate at all in social? I may never know because the only way I ever communicated with him were through 3rd party platforms and social networks. He doesn’t use those anymore. Maybe he wants to reconnect with his family? I don’t know. In a sense, he has gone from one extreme to  the other, and that’s OK. Why? I’m starting to think about the overall value of social as it pertains to our truly personal, social selves and maybe just maybe this person decided that it wasn’t worth it.

It makes you wonder though. What will social look like in 5 years. Is social in and of itself creating its own oxymoron? Where social doesn’t really mean social at all? Maybe there is something to Facebook Fatigue. All I know is that when someone ceases “to be” in social media either a life has ended or…maybe just maybe…life goes on.

Is Being Too Social Ruining Social Media?


I was reading an article on MSNBC recently about Groupon and the tag line to the piece was the following:

“When everything’s social, nothing is.”

Which gave me pause to think.  What happens when you have so many options to do something or buy something or say something or share something in social? Is there a tipping point looming here where eventually everyone tires of being so social?

I actually think so.

It’s not going to happen yet, but as I was made aware in a comment on a post I wrote about social media bubbles-“there is a bubble, it’s just different”. So with that assumptive comment in hand, which in hindsight I now agree with. I think it is safe to say that eventually we as a social world will tire of being so social with each other. There’s just too many choices and it’s not decreasing anytime soon.

There will come a time where we just won’t want to share, chat, upload, download, friend, follow, or like from a social standpoint, a mobile standpoint, and a mobile social standpoint. It’s inevitable.  If we produce too much of something (i.e. social networks) then demand goes down right? We’re going to burn ourselves out. Let’s look at this another way.

Being social on the web is not a utility, but a lot of us use the social web from a utilitarian standpoint.  They are two distinct things. But when they start to bleed into each other, that requires more time, and for most of us, time is still a commodity.

When social first came on the scene, the amount of networks were few and far between. Eventually more and more copycat type of networks emerged as the boom spread far and wide. The Big boys i.e. the Facebooks, the Youtubes, The Twitters and even the Myspace’s of the world enjoyed the rush. But as we head toward 800 million users on Facebook and we see stuff like this graph from Ken Burbary, we realize that we truly are in an age of “digital enamorment”.

Eventually there will be a correction where we pare down our networks and we start to refine who our connections are with, and what they stand for. Right now we’re too enamored with social to see that. As things progress we’ll soon realize that there is indeed a bit of truth to Dunbar’s number about limits to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships with. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. The number sits at 150 and ironically Dunbar did not figure online social networks into the mix.

Your goal? Develop and refine the networks you’re in and remember Facebook isn’t your network, it’s your platform. Who you are connected to within Facebook is your network.

The Voice of the Social Employee Inside the Firewall

In doing some recent research and “listening” to the voice of the customer lately on behalf of clients, it dawned on me that we really don’t talk much about the “voice of the employee”. Sure we talk about employee empowerment and internal ideation at some cool sexy companies that are doing “that”, but for most, the employee doesn’t get the type of play that it deserves. Up to now, we really haven’t given it an official name. For now on, I’m going to call it Voice of the “social” Employee.

For some organizations they will stress how important the employee is and then do nothing about it-call it lip service, while others actually put their money where their mouth is. However, if companies were all about their employees, why would 84%% of all employees in the workforce be looking for a job right in 2011?  Yes, part of that is attributed to an economy on the rebound but the other part of that equation has to be linked to factors such as genuine dissatisfaction.

For some of the dissatisfied, it just might not be a good fit and that happens, but what of the 84% who feel that the organization just  doesn’t care about them? How do you change that as a C level executive? Does any amount of internal collaborative software or initiatives bolster the morale of a disenfranchised employee? Can an internal socially powered ideation platform or network empower and propel an employee into massive production and an upbeat morale?

Does social media offer the panacea to an employee who feels that he is not being paid what he is worth?  Does social give a voice to the employee who isn’t happy? Does social soften the feelings of the employee who thinks that the company doesn’t care about them? Depends on whether they choose to voice that attitude in front of or behind the firewall. Right? In general, dissatisfaction voiced in front of the firewall results in a quick exit strategy-which is where most of today’s “social employees” reside.

Social media can do a lot of things especially in the worlds of awareness, HR, sales, marketing, PR and communication but it may not help when it comes to the employee who feels that they are not getting anywhere.  Consider the following three very general examples:

  • Sure, it’s great for sourcing new ideas but what happens when Betty in accounting can’t stand Fred in the cubicle next to her and Fred stalks her in all of her social networks both internally and externally? Does Betty complain openly on Facebook?
  • How does social enable Juan in shipping who busts his ass and yet no one notices because he’s so quiet and chooses not to use that hot new internal platform? How can a company leverage that through an internal social platform?
  • Roger in sales has devised a great way to save the company money but it involves using social media and might eliminate some positions-should he do it?

The voice of the employee is 10 times different than the voice of the customer. It’s layered in nuance, context and politics. You can’t serve the voice of the customer until you address the voice of the employee first.

We want our employees to be more social internally and to create bonds and ties and networks-but employees need to see the value to them and not necessarily to the company. There is the intrinsic value of participation for participation sake and of course there is the mandate of participation-but aren’t those basically disingenuous? What type of quality of participation can we actually expect?

One could say that the best way to motivate would be to incentivize.  And in a way Zynga struck a nerve when it realized that social network growth and app saturation could be wrapped around and tied to gaming-people like to be challenged, they like to be entertained and they like to be rewarded. Taken a step further if you were to look at Gowalla and Foursquare, and why they are/were successful-it’s based on the notion of a reward system-earning badges for “checking in”.

But I digress with this parting question. How can we empower, reward and engage our employees to higher levels using some of the basic success tenets of social media? We’re asking the backbone of our organizations to utilize social networks and tools to engage the customer and give the customer a voice but in the same breath we may be taking it away from our employees. We may be unknowingly muting and muzzling our employees for the sake of the customer and creating an opportunity for them to take “it” outside of the firewall.


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

Feeds

social media conference

Latest tweet

TwitterCounter for @marc_meyer

Give Food
Alltop, all the top stories
Add to Technorati Favorites
View Marc Meyer's profile on LinkedIn
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The social me

The duke

The manic-kins

Manickins part deux

Queens allstar BP

Queens allstar BP

Queens allstar BP

More Photos
August 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Mad Props

My site was nominated for Best Business Blog!
qrcode

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 99,328 other followers


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 99,328 other followers

%d bloggers like this: