Posts Tagged 'communities'

There are no take backs in social media…

 

Originally I was going to write about how NFL players not playing this past Sunday were tweeting during the NFC championship game about  how Quarterback Jay Cutler seemed to NOT want to go back in the game because of a perceived injury to his knee, how he was not tough, how he was soft, how he lacked heart. Little did they know that he was actually hurt. They were reacting more to his body language, to what the camera showed us or by what was being said or not said during the telecast. Little did they know that thousands were reading what they were tweeting.

I was going to talk about how the players NOT PLAYING  tweeted things I’m sure in hindsight they wish they could have taken back about one of their peers. How they didn’t know the impact this was going to have. How Jay Cutler couldn’t even defend himself given that the game was going on. It was compounded by how quickly it became viral over the course of the next 24-48 hours. Some players retracted what they said through additional tweets AFTERWARDS but the fact of the matter was that the tweets are there to be seen, searched and read by thousands. FOREVER!

Well if this authority figure or this well known former or current player said it or thought it or tweeted it, it must be right? It must be true. Right???

Yep I was going to talk about how athletes should be careful of what they say about themselves or others especially on social networks. Until it happened to me. This is one of those valuable lessons that includes more than public figures. It’s about you and me and how we treat others. And I feel awful about it. Let me give you a quick background.

I joined a private group in Facebook. It was a fun irreverent group of like minded professionals initially talking about the stuff, the challeneges , and the issues we face every day. But the tone of the group slowly shifted or evolved into something I didn’t really recognize anymore. I felt somewhat uneasy about the change and actually thought about leaving the group prior to; but I still fired up the machine to see what was being talked about and to contribute.

What happened was I got caught up in the bashing of a colleague and peer who I have respect for. He wasn’t there to defend himself. He wasn’t part of the group. It wasn’t fair. It’s one thing to critique a blog post-Hey we all write crappy ones from time to time, but taking it down a notch was not fair. I didn’t defend him, I joined in and kicked him too! It was there for people to read and comment on what I said. Most didn’t notice but I did. It’s bothered me ever since.  I know better. Not just the fact that it was on a social network but this has to do with civility and respect.

Afterwards, a good friend who was there and who actually defended this person, took the time to point out to me that I was better than that. She was right. I just wish I had realized it before. Sure it was in a private Facebook group but I can’t take back what I did and naming names does me or this blog post no good, but there’s a valuable lesson here. It’s one in which I’ve told companies about and probably fuels a lot of their trepidation of social media engagement.

Once it’s out there, it’s out there for everyone to see. It’s in ink not pencil

Sometimes, the hardest lessons are the ones you have to experience first hand. The NFL players who tweeted about Jay Cutler probably wish they could take back what they said, and so do I. It’s not part of what I am about. I can do better. I apologize. Like I said, there are no take backs in social media.

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What drives participation in a social network?

If you’re a social media consultant like Jay Baer, or a larger organization like Accenture for instance, one of the constant constants in social media is the amount of education required to get people all on the same page, before anything can really be accomplished.

With that being said, once people are “there”, and they “get it”, they can see pretty quickly what the trans-formative nature and power of  social media is like, and what it can do.

But it took a post from the The Next Great Generation to open my eyes to what we are really talking about here and what really drives participation in social networks. It’s amazing that I can be so immersed in it and not really see what is going on. Check out these quotes from the post:

There was no validation that what I did was comment-worthy, no “cute” notations on Yelps, no retweets of my witty Twitter updates

and

Social media validates my feelings and actions. Seeing them online makes them real and takes them out of me, much in the way that I imagine it would be to keep a diary.”

What is the common theme there? Validation. Simply put, what we do in our communities needs to be validated. No one likes to create content in a vacuum. Conversations become just that, conversations, when someone responds to you. We need that reaction. the dialogue, not the monologue. Be it positive, negative or indifferent-the social creature in us needs the juice.

As well, by simply creating and putting it “out there” validates our existence in these social networks. We become “part” of the dynamic of the group, of the community. You are a creator and you’re validating yourself for the group.

Crowds applause-that validates. Social Media flash mobs go nuts over corporate missteps-they validate each other in unison and then are further validated by Twitter, blogs and reaction from the company itself. All forms of validation.

You write a blog post or tweet something or create a video, or write a review-you do it because you want to become part of something and it all rings hollow until someone notices and says something. Blogs were and still are great because not only did it provide a forum and platform for self expression but it also provided instant feedback.  It validated both readers and writers.

Social media engagement is all about validating each other and our experiences and the content that we have created and…shared

Consider:

  • A high number of views=validates
  • A high number of blog comments= validates the topic
  • Trying to creating a video=searching for validation
  • Snarky comment on Twitter=need for validation

The list can go on and on but I have to thank the folks over at TNGG for validating what I had completely missed in this space. You see, it’s the little things that can sometimes go completely unnoticed, and once you notice them, they aren’t so little after all.

Nurture the connection not the platform

watering plant2

I’ve come across in recent days a number of people and their blogs who have struck a chord with me in a good way. I have found them in oh so many ways, but the bottom line is that I have found them. Which gave me cause to think.

I look at what makes us do what we do in online communities, in social networks and as much as I would like to thank the developers for creating a platform in which we can connect, I also realize that.

“No man is an island.”

-from John Donne

It’s the power and the passion of the people that make it work. It’s people being people. I also realize that because of the power of networks and the strength of the people that are within them, quotes like the one below, mean nothing.

You know where you are?
You’re in the jungle baby.
You’re gonna die!

-Guns n Roses,”Welcome to the jungle”

However, I do think it’s important to understand that though these networks can be robust and filled with people, if you don’t engage or try and in engage in thoughtful and meaningful discussions and conversations, you have nothing.  Thus, you might as well be speaking to no one.

“In space no one can hear you scream.”

-Tagline from 1979 movie Alien

Without people and without connections, they, the networks, will die on the vine. And as much as we depend on the platform for our connections, its more important to nurture the connection rather than the platform. Because what if the platform goes away tomorrow? What will you do, or what will you have to show for it?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

-George Berkeley, Irish philosopher

Social media is free…but I’m not

free

It’s been one of those days… so I’m going to allow myself just a wee bit of time before I snap out of it.  I’m going to vent. It started this morning when I heard back from a prospective client who liked the 5 page social media strategy overview document but…

The “but” was they wanted more specific details on what I was going to do. I told them that I would give them the specifics in time. but that I thought that it was important that they understand the how and the why before we got into the how to and the what for. I did this because we’re talking about a client that knows virtually nothing about social media.

If I would have given them the latter, 2 things would have happened. 1)  It would have been so over their head that they would have not understood and probably bailed and or 2) Believe it or not, they could take the document and either try and implement it themselves, or use it as a blueprint with another company and leverage their new found knowledge. You might not think that happens, but it does, as well as some other things  Why?

The ease of entry into social media is less than zero. I can sign up for a majority of social networks in less than a minute. I can create social profiles in less time. So the assumption with a lot of companies and people is, “What is so hard about being social”? or creating a Facebook page, or a Twitter profile?and you know what? They are right. It’s easy.

Boom.

The thinking is really as simple as the majority of social interfaces that you see. Just create a profile and now you’re part of the social media revolution. You don’t need a consultant or a company to tell you how to do this. It’s easy. Plus there’s all of these killer blogs and sites with free information on social media, all these free tools, you can just figure all of it out on your own.

Sure. You can figure it out until it falls flat and you have one comment on your blog post. You have 19 registered members in your community, or you have 5,000 followers and you’re  following 5,000 but you have 111 tweets and zero conversations. Or maybe that Facebook page of yours has 56 fans but is doing nothing else. Or the YouTube video you made, has driven approximately 24 views.  When stuff is free, you get what you paid for.

There are some seriously smart people in this space. I value what they do and say and we value what we do and say, and we value what we create. But we also are working for a living. As much as we would like to give it away, we can’t. As it stands, the majority of people in this space, give away a lot. In fact, the amount of time that a lot of the social media marketing people that I know, give away, is extreme.  In terms of amounts of their time and resources-there is not a more giving  bunch. That’s the essence of social media.

But… at the end of the day, bills have to be paid and you’re going to have to take that leap of faith.

I’m done venting.

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Social Media best practices. Part 1.

Awhile back, Ari Herzog who writes a wonderful blog over at AriWriter.com  asked me to do a guest post on his blog for a series he’s doing on social media best practices. Rather than give him the usual written 500 words on the 7 things, 5 tips, or 4 factors that you absolutely must do in social media, I decided to mail it in and do a 3 part V-log instead. I hope he doesn’t mind! I’d also be curious as to what you might think of my 2 assertions here as well.

You have no idea how much you know

I was on the phone yesterday with a student from Columbia U who is doing her Masters thesis on a certain aspect of social media. We were on the phone because we exchanged a bunch of emails and she felt that maybe a call was in order. After 45 minutes of talking about all aspects of social media we were done. I hung up and I thought to myself; “Wow, did all of that just come out of me?”

Let me sum up what I chatted about.

  • I told her people like Scoble and Chris Brogan had devotional followings yet were different in nature and focus.
  • I mentioned that people like Brian Solis offer an interesting take on the landscape that is the ever-evolving moving target of social media.
  • I mentioned that she should check out Naked Conversations as a primer on what the blogging scene is all about and where it came from and where it’s going.
  • We talked about how Twitter is a great way to connect with Rock Stars, A-listers and thought leaders, but can still pull people into your circle that you have no reason why they are there.
  • I told her she should check out Danah Boyd and some of her work on Social media, teens and class divisions
  • We talked about why people do not contribute right away in social networks, though they have joined a community; and that it could be they’re just not completely comfortable yet.
  • As well, different demographics have different comfort levels in embracing new media.
  • We talked about communities and how individuals and brands operate within those communities.
  • I abused the words authentic, transparent, and “real”.
  • I’m pretty sure I did not take a breath.
  • I stressed that Chris Brogan is walking the line that separates saturation and Scoble like status.
  • I told her that Seesmic would be a good way to connect with people in regards to some of her social network questions
  • I’m pretty sure I mentioned David Armano
  • We talked about the goal of brand participators in communites and the challenges they face in trying to connect with their users and customers
  • I forgot to tell her which of my favorite blogs would help her in her research, so here’s the shortlist.

———————–

  • Brian Solis- Brian is very giving with his thoughts and observations on social media and PR,
  • Valeria Maltoni- If you want deep, thought provoking takes on all things social and beyond, I highly suggest you add her blog to your list 
  • Adam Cohen-Adam is a new add to my list but I enjoy his take and the variety of his posts
  • Ari Herzog-good writer, good take and his posts are timely.
  • Peter Kim-I’ve been probably been giving Peter too many props lately but man his stuff is so insightful.

So after all that, I sat there and started thinking. My first thought was that earlier in the day, I was explaining social media to a bunch of people in a doctors office. The first question out of their mouth was to ask if it was like an online dating site. Ouch.

Having my little chuckle to myself, my next thought was about what I just verbally spewed out to the grad student from Columbia, who by the way, didn’t know as much as I expected. This gave me pause to ponder what do I know? Was it alot? A little? 

Well, maybe I do know a little about some things but… I do know this. The people that I deal with, and talk with, and share with, and laugh with, everyday in my communities, know a lot. ALOT.  And everyone else outside of these circles or spheres that I float in, just might not. And that’s pretty cool. So I wanna thank you for letting me be a part of that.

Where does UGC rank on your trust meter? 10 perspectives on User Generated Content.

This is going to be an ongoing viral tweet. and I will continue to update. I think it’s a very important topic.

I’m going to start off with a great post from Steve Rubel titled ethical social media marketing that I think we should all read and send to others.

Next here’s an article from newsweek in which the author thinks that the UGC pendulum is swinging back towards the experts.

Better read this one user-generated content site gets sued by copyright owner for naughty uploading habits of users

From an SEO perspective we have: Maximizing SEO Returns with User Generated Content

Here’s a blog dedicated to UGC

Here’s a great article by Paul Chin about the value of UGC which I highly recommend.

Want to know about the rise of user generated content? Read this article from Entrepreneur

and then the dark side-or When user generated content goes bad

Are you someone’s user generated content? and All (User-Generated) Content Doesn’t Want to Be Free:

Now at this point you should be getting the gist. So, what are your thoughts on user generated content? Do you put more trust in your peers and communities than you do traditional media, online media and word of mouth? Who’s blog do you trust? who’s opinion do you bank on? Do you find yourself spending more time online than watching or listening or reading traditional media sources?

Take the UGC Survey

In social media, What’s more important? The technology or the user experience?

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Kim Kobza, the CEO of Neigborhood America. If you are not familiar with NA, they are one of the top players in the social media platform space. To say that it was interesting  is putting it mildly. We kept taking the dry erase pen from each other constantly in the course of an hour to drive our points home on a white board about our thoughts on all things community and social media related.

My take away points were many but I kept thinking about one thing even 3 days later. That being-What drives the community? What is more important in the social media communities that we swim in? Is it the user experience or the user interface? Kim and I discussed what makes the community thrive and there are some interesting variables that determine this. Not the least being if we look at the 6 degrees of seperation theory, the sixth person is as important as the primary or focal person in the chain. Kim’s point that if you has a brand champion, this person is important yes, but the others on the peripheral are as well. In my head the best way I can wrap my arms around this is to perhaps think of worker bees being as important to the community as the queen is. They are integral to the survival of the colony.

My point to Kim, was that I could have this new and shiny social community ready to launch, and in my mind I totally got it, it made sense to me perfectly, and my thinking would be it would totally rock the social media space. My thinking and hope being that the buzz would bring in some fantastic members and thrive, quickly. But what if the technology was too slick? Could it have too many bells and whistles. Absolutely!

Which brings me to my point-Isn’t the user experience as important if not more than the platform? I don’t like to say dumb it down, but as technology people, we are exposed to cool tech stuff everyday and we get it. But put yourself in the shoes of the stay at home mom or the somewhat savvy electrician who has a familiarity with Myspace or Facebook for example. Will they get it? Maybe , maybe not? Do you want to take the chance that they “might” get it?

The user experience and the user interface are each predicated and determined by the other in my mind. If you have the technology but it’s broken and doesn’t perform, then you can forget it. If you have a community ready to go but they can’t understand how to use the technology, then they are gone. If you have a community that can grasp the technology quickly, and the technology is solid. Guess what? The user experience is elevated. With that being said, as managers and developers of communities, we need to walk that fine line between what works for the user and what the user can work with


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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.

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