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.

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15 Things I’ve Learned from 138 Social Media Tweetchats

More than 2 years ago Jason Breed and I decided to create a Tweetchat.  The format was pretty simple, we would find a killer, compelling host in the social space, like a Beth Harte who was our very first host, and we’d pick a killer, topical, compelling, subject. After we settled on the topic, we  would collaborate on 3 questions and off we would go to promote it for the following Tuesday. We also decided to create a killer, award winning, website thanks to developer Terry Mckyton that would captures all of the conversations in real time and even allows you to tweet from the site, but other than that, we were ready to go have Tweetchats. Boom.

When Jason first called me, he was looking for ways to  brand  his previous company. At the time, the Tweetchat, “Journchat“, was on fire and that was our inspiration. In the course of about a 1 minute conversation, Hashtagsocialmedia was born.  We had no idea that 2 years and 138 tweetchats later, “Hashtag” as we call it would still be chugging along.

So what have I learned?

1) Tweetchat’s don’t work w/o participation. From having great hosts to having great participants, you need both to succeed.

2) The content comes from the crowd. The gold is in the conversations.

3) Trolls can easily be exposed and don’t last long, but contrarians can bring balance and perspective.

4) There is always a retweetable soundbite that can sum up the discussion. Always.

5) There is never a shortage of topics though some seem to be more popular than others.

6) Passion is never on short supply.

7) Smart people are everywhere.

8. The generosity of the hosts has always surprised me and yet doesn’t.

9) The value of the conversations lasts longer than the Tweetchat

10) We can always learn and takeaway something even from sub-par Tweetchats

11) Every Tweetchat will be different. No two are the same.

12) There is a ton of room for growth for all Tweetchats.

13) There needs to be a next gen level of Tweetchats

14) Businesses, brands and companies should incorporate tweetchats into their marketing mix

15) People actually learn from tweetchats.

I could easily come up with 123 more “things” I have learned, because I have learned something from each and every one of them, but the point is, there is always a takeaway. In fact, not only have I grown from these Tweetchats, but also from the half dozen others that I pop in to from time to time. The bottom line is that Tweetchats are a tremendous opportunity to network, grow and expand your user, knowledge and friend base to the nth degree.

I’m better because of our Tweetchat, I’m better because of the people I’ve met from them, and I know it brings value to others and that makes me feel pretty damn good. Tweetchats work. So tell me, have you participated in our or any Tweetchat? What has been your experience?

Crowdsourcing the Impact of Social Media on Non Profit Organizations

Last week we had the pleasure to have Beth Kanter host our weekly tweetchat over at Hashtag social media. The subject was obviously about Non Profit Organizations and how social media can play favorably with them. This is the sweet spot for Beth and as a host, I have to say she was beyond amazing. She embodied all of the qualities you would want in someone engaged with their audience. Below is a summary deck of what occurred in this one hour tweetchat.

17 Tweetchats for Social Media, Marketing and PR folks

Yesterday I threw out a tweet about 125 twitter chats worth checking out on Google Docs. I thought I might condense it a bit and focus not only on Tweetchats that I was familiar with, but also those that would benefit the Social Media, Marketing and PR folks out there, and which also had solid participation as well. If I have left any out, please drop me a line and include it in the comments section.

1) Hashtagsocialmedia-#socialmedia Of course I’m partial to the one I co-founded with Jason Breed Advancing the Business of Social Media every Tues noon EST. New topics & new industry thought leaders and A-listers host the tweetchats. Great discussions. all archived and easily searchable

2)#4change is a monthly tweetchat on how social media is helping to create change

3) #b2bchat is a weekly conversation for B2B marketers; Thursdays 8 pm Eastern.

4) #Blogchat is a chat on Sunday nights from 8-9pm CT that was started by @MackCollier to discuss blogs and best practices.

5) #Brandchat is a discussion between experts, strategists, and those interested in learning more about personal branding and managing their personal brand.

6) #Hcsm The Health Care Communication & Social Media community hosts a weekly Twitter conversation about communication and marketing practices by Health Care organizations, including use of social media

7) #Innochat A Tweetchat on innovation

8. #Journchat Conversations between journalists, bloggers and public relations folks started by Sarah Evans

9) #Kaizenblog Discusses using kaizen in *business strategy* Started by Valeria Maltoni

10) #pr20chat PR 2.0 chat for conversations about PR related issues and SM implications, started by Beth Harte

11) #SEO411 Weekly chat to collaborate with colleagues and other marketers about their questions and ideas about SEO.

12) #SMCEDU Discussions about Social Media / Higher Education

13) #Socentchat A monthly discussion on social entrepreneurship, focusing on a particular topic or field each month, eg. Mobile Innovation; Fostering Soc Ent at universities; Support Women; eHealth; etc.

14) #Socpharm Weekly chat on pharmaceutical marketing and social media.

15) #Solopr Open discussions that serve as a companion to the SoloPRpro.com blog, designed for independent PR and MarCom pros – and those who’d like to be. Active hashtag throughout the week, with chats taking place on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET, Started and run by Kellye Crane

16) #TNL TNL is TalentNet Live. the #1 monthly hashtag chat for recruiters on Twitter that takes place the last Wednesday of each month at 9pm Eastern at #TNL. Login at RecruitingBlogs.com

17) #U30pro The chat that focuses on issues and trends surrounding young professionals.  All ages welcome and encouraged to join.

This week’s #Socialmedia Tweetchat Topic: Social and the New Model For Market Segmentation #sm48

So you know by now that we attempt to shake things up a bit and challenge people to think differently about topics and their impact on business.  Our topic this week is no exception and with the skills of our moderator, we are going to test those limits.  This week’s discussion is around market segmentation and how social can change how we approach it.

Market segmentation is more than what markers do with homogeneous products before deciding which actress to use in the commercial to best reach a desired consumer group.  Market segmentation is defined by Wikipedia as:

“A market segment is a sub-set of a market made up of people or organizations sharing one or more characteristics that cause them to demand similar product and/or services based on qualities of those products such as price or function.”

This is a good start as a definition, however this does not even begin to scratch the surface.  How do we take this to the next level?  To explore ways by which to re-imagine consumer grouping, we must get past the traditional segmenting like demographics, geography, income, even behavioral.  For many marketers, they look at data models that break out behavioral with layers of demo and geographics mashed in.  This modeling then determines a budgeted ad spend for a period in time like 3 or 6 months where the messaging is developed, pricing assigned and commercial created.  The problem is that by the time the ads hit, the data models have shifted and the intended groups have moved on.  Now with peer reviews and endless product content the real-time web is heavily influencing consumer preferences  that continue to change with increased velocity.

Savvy marketers have been using insights for more than just marketing also.  Savvy marketers use segmentation for product development, pricing, marketing channel, and even customer retention.  Using the last example, customer retention, the segmenting considers factors like profitability, strategic fit, product version and longevity.  Can you service your customers differently with better targeting for profitability or would you be more proactive with customers who were ripe for renewal or upgrades?  Now consider going beyond your internal gates and imagine the results if you combined internal factors along with external or social listening capabilities.  Maybe that customer who is really loud socially is a drain on your profitability.

So what this means is that the social web is having a profound affect on preferences, therefore insights that are not derived in near-real time are simply missing the mark.  If we open our research and insights departments to the social web, how can they can they use these tools that have never been considered before?  Every company will find different value in different social instances, however there are some great new possibilities that are emerging:

  • What if you titled the buckets of your listening tools with Underserved, Disenfranchised and Contemplators?  Could you use that insight to build better products or price more according to near real-time inputs?
  • What if you targeted people who played Mafia Wars on Facebook or joined relevant fan pages.  Could you use those applications for consumers to self segment themselves and find commonalities?
  • What if you targeted people who used certain hashtags (#) on Twitter or similar platforms.  Could you infer commonalities from everyone who tweeted #farm, #beer or #sweets?

Understanding and using social segmentation is challenging.  The pace at which social moves and the pace by which people flutter around digitally are simply exhausting.  Marketers like General Mills and Coke are early adopters of social segmentation and blazing a trail for others to follow.    This week’s moderator Ken Burbary is going to help us sort out this topic.  Ken manages the social media duties for Ernst & Young where he develops these types of solutions for their respective clients.  The topic this week is:

TOPIC: Social and the New Model For Market Segmentation

Q1) Is traditional market segmentation still relevant?

Q2) What should be more important for Brands: social segmentation or engagement?

Q3) How are you segmenting your customers with Social Media?

Please join us Tuesday 2/23 at noon EST by using #sm48 on Twitter or follow our LIVE page