On Social Media Tools, Noise, and Experience

I was driving through the Florida Everglades last week when I thought, “How in the hell does someone survive and get around out here in this vast expanse of nothingness?”  Which made me immediately draw a relation to the water that surrounds the glades being the internet so to speak, and the wispy reeds of sea grass or whatever the hell it is, being your customers or users of the internet.  I then thought, “There’s a lot of noise out there now, was it, or is it now because of social media?  Did social media create the noise?”  Is social responsible for this?

The short answer is yes.

Remember Dr. Seuss’s, “Horton Hears a Who?”  There’s a scene in the movie and in the book, where everyone in Whoville starts to shout in unison, “We are here, we are here”. They are trying to get Horton to hear them.  Social media is like that.  The plethora of platforms and devices has allowed everyone to have that voice, but the challenge for those with voices wanting to be heard, is the choices and platforms are multiplying like rabbits.  For those businesses who want to bridge the gap and find those people with voices-it’s getting harder and harder to sift through the weeds and grass.

In the Everglades, you get around by airboat, which amazes me honestly.  Why?  Everything looks the same.  If you look to your left or to your right, or forwards or backwards, it all looks exactly the same.  So how does one get around?  You have to have an experienced navigator.  Someone who knows the lay of the land.

Here’s the correlation.  I can use the best listening tools and platforms there are, but if I don’t know how to use them or I use them the wrong way, they are totally worthless to me.  I’m going to airboat around the glades and find lots of nothing.  If someone thinks they know how or knows what I want and they still get it wrong-Shame on me.  Does that mean there’s too much noise and one cannot navigate through it?  Does that mean there are no pockets of goodness in that vast landscape?  Not at all.  You just have to know someone who knows how to look and where to look.

A friend of mine, Mack Collier, earlier this month wrote a blog post on whether marketers should use social media personally before they use it professionally? I think we know the short answer again to that is yes. But I will end on this.

Just because you can get the boat in the water, start the engine and take off, doesn’t mean you know where you’re going or how to get there.

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Some Social Tools You Should Know About

Thanks to the folks at imediaconnection, I give you 15 social tools you should know about

  • Friend or Follow tells users whom they’re not following on Twitter.
  • Conversocial.com helps users manage customer service at scale on Facebook and Twitter. Conversocial enables workflow for multi-person teams to tackle the consumer communication for large brands.
  • NutshellMail users social network updates so they don’t have to login and check. Nice!
  • UserVoice creates engaging survey forms on Facebook and other sites to solicit feedback from fans and visitors.
  • MemoLane is a “virtual scrapbook” generated by a user’s social media history. It also allows users to search their social history across multiple networks.
  • PinBoard is a really smart, user-centric, privacy-focused social bookmarking platform.
  • Inside View gives users an aggregate view of the social presence and activity of a company.
  • bufferapp is tiny little tool that lets users schedule time-released tweets.
  • CloudFlood gives away freebies in exchange for social media actions.
  • Disqus is a better, real-time comments system for users’ site or blog with fully integrated social network elements.
  • Tweriod helps users figure out the best times to tweet based on the activity of their followers’ streams. (Note that it may take some time for Tweriod to gather enough data for analysis.)
  • Slideshare is a home for sharing presentations and white papers online.
  • PollDaddy enables users to add quick and easy polls to blog posts.
  • Twylah allows users to create a branded page for their Twitter stream.
  • EveryStockPhoto bills themselves as “the largest search engine for free photos.” It is a great way to find images for social media content.