Archive | Social media

Two Lessons From Sandy

First, my hopes and prayers for safety to all those on the East Coast right now. Twitter’s honestly pretty terrifying tonight as Hurricane Sandy has come ashore.

Two things I’ve seen today that bear sharing.

    1. First, if you think your industry is too boring to use social media, I refer you to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Flickr feed. The account has nearly 3000 photos — they’re taking and sharing pictures of everyday events involving the transit service. Today, those photos included ones like these:
      033Assistant Station Master Cory Harris locked the main entrance to Grand Central Terminal, at 42nd Street and Park Avenue, after the last train departed at 7:10 p.m. on Sunday, October 28. Grand Central closed in advance of Hurricane Sandy.

      09. 2 Broadway in Storm Prep

      Sandbags outside Broadway station

      You never know when the everyday will become extraordinary. Start today so you’ll be ready when it happens.

    2. Second, STOP SCHEDULING YOUR TWEETS. I used to say that scheduling was OK as long as you monitored it, and you were managing your stream in times of national emergency. But clearly, may of you aren’t actually managing your auto-tweets. Those in the US, especially the Eastern US, who are auto-tweeting about anything but Hurricane Sandy tonight look like idiots.

Thanks, rant over.

SXSW: danah boyd on The Power of Fear in Networked Publics

Always interesting to hear what danah boyd is thinking and writing about. Notes below are a mixture of quotes, paraphrases and near-quotes.

boyd starts off by recommending everyone attend Baratunde Thurston’s keynote at 2p.

Started with three points….I missed one.

  1. We live in culture of fear.
  2. Attention economy….SOMETHING.
  3. Social media is ramping up the culture of fear.

What are our responsibilities in the culture of fear?

Kranzberg’s First Law: Technology is neither good nor bad — nor is it neutral. boyd says: We shouldn’t pretend that it is.

Social media is now genuinely mainstream — it is no longer just a home of geek culture.

Culture of Fear
Fear is employed by marketers, politicians, media etc. to regulate the public. It’s used to control and surpress.

boyd doesn’t want to dismiss the value of fear as a real emotion. It’s a reasonable reaction to many situations.

How is fear used to control, particularly in an American context? Uses example of 9/11. Says it’s not new — look at Cuban Missile Crisis. As a country, we’ve been in “orange” alert for more than a decade now. Fear is operationalized in a public environment to keep us controlled. We don’t even reflect on it — we just do as we’re told.

Humans are terrible at actually assessing risk. — Freakonomics one book that writes on this. Also Barry Glassner’s The Culture of Fear.

Parents worried about Internet — but the MOST risky thing a parent can do is let the child ride in the car with them. Fear isn’t logical — it’s about the perception of risk. The things we don’t understand are the things we’re afraid of. Fear combined with insecurities is amplified. The intersection of young people and technology produces moral panic. Many historical cases remind us of the absurdities.

Fear cannot be combatted through data. If it doesn’t match their perceived experience, people reject the data.

The Attention Economy
We have built this through social media — provides a fertile ground for the culture of fear.

Quote from Herbert Simon: “In an information-rick world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes…the attention of its recipients.”

Social media gives us massive quantities of uncurated information. How do we cope with the onslaught?

Haha. Now shows a funny slide: Book in 1994 called The Internet Yellow Pages. This book looks very familiar…

Most of our tools are designed to make people feel guilty for all the things they haven’t read. No matter how we feel, one thing is clear: Amount of information is not going to decline. It is really hard to get people’s attention.

The more attention-seekers are fighting for attention, they seek to leverage emotion. Fear is so effective, so it is used more and more.

Fear is used in a more complex way on social media than it is on broadcast media. It’s personal and spread by each other in networks.

Radical Transparency
The notion that putting everything in the open will make people more honest. The logic rests on the notion that people hide things. The reality is much messier than that. People think about this in disrupting power structures, but it’s used against real people in more complex ways.

The practice of “outing” is not new. Tells story of Oliver Sipple.

What are real implications of Anonymous? Is radical transparency really effective?

In boyd’s work, most incidents of hate on teens happen with people they know.

With protestors/rioters, crowdsourcing who the rioters and looters are — method of control. Idea that people are controlled when they feel they are surveilled. Those are are oppressed and marginalized are usually those with the least amount of power.

The Ideal of Progress
The idea of outing etc. is that we’re moving toward an era of greater progress — that the incremental harm caused by outing will have a greater good. boyd says paths are often not linear…the ideal of progress may be an illusion.

Tolerance is often espoused as a neutral notion, but it’s not.

Exposure to new people doesn’t automatically produce tolerance, even though we might want it to.

There’s far more bullying, with more damage to youth, at school, than there ever is online. But the Internet has made bullying much more visible to adults, making adults leap to assumptions about where bullying happens.

Power in Networks
The people who make the networks control the system.

Talks about how the Kony 2012 film took advantage of powerful network building — across disparate networks. Invisible Children had been laying the groundwork with its network building for years. The problem is that nuance is lost.

In this country, there’s been a rise of hatred along with the rise of social media. With fearmongering. To say that we didn’t build this does a disservice — though we want technologies to be used for idealistic purposes. What happens is that these aren’t neutral technologies. How do we deal with this?

We don’t have good answers.

Through social media, we are ramping up the attention economy and creating new networks. We need to think about how that works long before it builds things we don’t like.

boyd doesn’t have good answers but challenges audience to figure this out.

Social media can be a great disruptor but it’s being used to enforce the status quo by many.

Deserving your audience

Great post this week from well known author Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image in Toronto. He starts from the question of whether it’s better to have a great book or a great existing audience when you publish. But he morphs quickly into asking the same question about marketers using social media or other content marketing channels, as well as offline sources, like services provided by

The content needs to stand up on its own.

This is an important lesson for Marketers who are quickly realizing that their jobs in a Social Media world force them to act a lot more like publishers and content creators than the traditional Google Advertising roles they are more accustomed to. In order to generate significant levels of success, their content can’t be thinly veiled marketing pieces, but must live and breathe with authenticity and value within the ecosystem.

–Get the rest from Mitch Joel at 6 Pixels of Separation

It’s a question that many marketers haven’t stopped to ask. If you’re not offering value to the market, you are wasting our time  at best. And it’s a very rare situation where your standard marketing materials are what people want from you.

What people do want [for starters]:

  • Instructions
  • Tech support
  • Information they can’t get elsewhere
  • Ideas about making their own jobs easier
  • Entertainment

Every company can’t fill all those needs, but you don’t have to. If your product is serious, you don’t have to be funny. But no matter your market, it almost always helps to be human. This is another area that doesn’t come naturally to companies. It comes naturally to most people, but you put a corporate face on and throw some technology between yourself and your customers, and many of us freeze up.

What’s your best tip for treating your audience well with content?

You can’t speak in your own voice if you don’t know what you want to say

Authenticity matters a lot these days. I think it matters a lot more online than it did even 10 years ago. In a world where celebrities can get their Twitter accounts verified, people are willing to pay more for the real thing. It’s so easy to spoof — to pretend to be someone you’re not.

I’ve run a neighborhood email list for more than a decade now. Back when it started, we were in a different world, technologically. But from the perspective of my email list, not a lot has changed. People who are interested in what’s going on in East Nashville subscribe to my list. They decide if they want to read the list online, or if they want a digest email or to receive each email individually. I help people with problems with their passwords, and I try to keep the shouting to a dull roar.

It may surprise you, but the volume of crazy on my list of 5000+ neighbors isn’t that different from the days when I had 300 subscribers. There are some network effects there, things that react in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated. One situation that drives most regular list members nuts is when an anonymous [a not-my-real-name member] posts something rude. And they always want me to “do something” about it.

From the cost-benefit perspective, it’s an easy answer. I’m volunteering my time to manage the list, and this doesn’t happen all that often, and plenty of polite members of the list are anonymous as well. So I’m not going to require some name verification process to join or post to the list.

But I do see the positive results of authenticity there, on a daily basis. People who are willing to put their names to their words benefit, especially when they share valuable information.

There are a number of parallels between this free neighborhood email list and the online communities I’ve helped clients manage over the years. And the authenticity rule is a clear parallel.

People who speak with a real voice — and even better, who put employee faces and names to the company brand — are rewarded with trust and loyalty, but for this, you need to learn to Communicate Like a Master. Too many companies are still hiding behind an anonymous brand identity, with an anonymous voice. I think there’s a variety of reasons you see companies doing this, among them:

  • They’re scared of losing control of the message.
  • They’re scared of their employees developing a following — thinking it will be detrimental to their brand equity.
  • They haven’t figured out how to represent their organization’s personality online in one-on-one customer communications.
  • They don’t actually have a plan about engaging their customers anyway.

Those are fixable problems, if you’ve got the will to fix them. Be for real online. It matters, and you’ll be rewarded for it.

15 things we need to stop doing in 2011

What a great list of things to stop doing and thinking from Chris Koch. Here’s my favorite, though there are several good points here. In 2011, we need to stop believing things like:

Filtered conversation reduces risk. The ultimate risk in business is that your customers stop buying from you because they don’t trust you. Preventing employees from speaking to customers because they might make a mistake ignores this much bigger risk—which existed long before social media came along. Customers want to speak to the people they will be working with. That’s why employees and subject matter experts should be on the front lines of social media rather than marketers or PR people.

Social media is neutral, but people are angry

I was talking to some folks today about social media, and got a question I didn’t feel like I answered well. It was along the lines of,

How is social media contributing to the downfall of civility in our society today?

My quick answer is: It’s not.

My longer answer is [hopefully better than I phrased it this afternoon]:

Social media is a tool. Period. Social media doesn’t contribute to anger or incivility any more than washing machines do. What social media has done in the past few years is reveal that many of us are angry. Social media has given many people an amplified voice — people who previously only could express their anger at the dinner table or around the water cooler at work.

In addition, the more extensive media saturation in our society [both old and new media] may provide information to people about things they used to not know about — thus allowing them to be angry about things that would have made them mad 30 years ago, had those things been publicly known.

This kind of question makes me nervous….it makes me think that people would like to regulate speech in some way. The First Amendment isn’t just protecting happy speech, or speech that we agree with. I would argue that it most emphatically protects angry and rude speech. Think about the context of our nation’s founding; revolutionaries who lose are just traitors. “We” won, so we wrote the history on the founding of America. And several rights in our Constitution reflect a perspective that values dissent as part of a healthy democracy.

At the very least, I think many people look at social media and reject it as the province of blowhards and reactionaries on both sides of the political aisle. But I look at the cacophony online and think, Thank God. Now we can have a dialogue, because all people now have a platform. The powers that be no longer dictate the entire agenda. We can all be heard.

It’s not pretty to see how angry many people are today….but I assure you, many of them were before. We just didn’t know it.

To me, social media provides such valuable insight into the minds of people who are very different from me. It’s not my job to change their minds; it’s my job to understand them. So I say, thank goodness for the angry people on social media. Thanks for speaking up. Let’s talk.

I’ll tell you why you have to use social media…

…if you come hear me speak on Monday, June 14, at a fun networking event in Nashville that my old friend, Stephen Zralek, and my new friend, Renata Soto, have put together — WaterCooler.

WaterCooler targets young entrepreneurs in the Nashville area. It’s always an interesting crowd and I’ve learned something each time I’ve attended. I’m hoping I can contribute to the conversation.

Here’s the info they sent out — you are welcome to RSVP!

We want to invite you and your friends to our next WaterCooler, set for Monday, June 14, 2010, from 5:30 to 7pm at Miro District.

Come hear Laura Creekmore talk about “Using Social Media as a Young Entrepreneur.” She is the owner of Creekmore Consulting, a company that provides content and community strategies that help you deepen your relationship with your customers and prospects. Laura Creekmore is an experienced, award-winning content strategist and online community manager. After more than a dozen years in digital media, Laura opened her own firm in January 2009. Her work focuses on helping clients achieve their business goals and engaging their customers in a collaborative relationship with a mixture of social media marketing, as well as implementing various business intelligence tools to make business flow more efficient, driving sales and profits and customer satisfaction.

Do I HAVE to use social media?

(Laura answers: OK, yes, yes, you do.)

She will talk about how to get started even if you and your business are old-school. Social media has quit being a trend….now YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are just business tools we all need to use and understand. You wouldn’t say, “Oh, I don’t use that Microsoft Office stuff. It’s for kids,” and you can’t say that about social media anymore, either. Find out which tools are right for your business, and get tips on getting started, whether you’re just interested in learning about the latest news in your industry, or whether you’re ready to generate leads and clients via social media.

Buying organic TikTok likes from trusted suppliers such as hypesi can help your content reach more audiences and get more likes.

Come join us at Miro District on June 14. We’ll be in the upstairs room toward the back of the restaurant, to the right of the bar. For $18, each guest will get 2 free drinks and appetizers. Stick around for dinner and enjoy Miro District’s Monday night specials.

Please rsvp to Kristi at kseamon at bonelaw dot com, so that we can give Miro District an accurate headcount. Feel free to invite your friends, and let us know if we should add anyone else to the list or if you’d like to be taken off the list. See you then!

Topics from Junior League of Nashville training, 4/29/2010

Today at lunch and again this evening, I’m speaking to members of the Junior League of Nashville about managing your online identity. Because the audience is going to be very diverse in age range and current technology adoption, most of our discussion is likely to be Q&A around the topics of online identity and privacy, and on the flip side, taking full advantage of social media for personal or business reasons.

We’re going to use these links as our jumping-off points. I’ll report back tomorrow on how it goes!

In case you weren’t scared already….

The Motrin Moms debacle

Oversharing and location awareness

Kevin Colvin, busted for his Halloween partying

Most of us have been guilty of sending angry emails.

Managing your online identity

Everything you want to know about online privacy

Managing your privacy on Facebook

Get started with Twitter

Share photos: Flickr and Picasa

Share videos: YouTube and Vimeo

Location services: Foursquare and Gowalla

Special cases

Teaching your kids about media

The Era of Crowdsourcing: Guiding Principles

OK, I’m trying out a new theory this morning. I am sitting waaaay up front. I’m typically your cynical, back-of-the-class type.

I’m in a conversation between Scott Belsky, founder of the Behance creative network, and Jeffrey Kalmikoff of Digg. None of the below are direct quotes, but most of them are close.

Kalmikoff: My love for business is about how it’s a way to take an idea from concept to reality.

K: Crowdsourcing is an umbrella term that broadly describes several ways of sourcing information.

Belsky: Misconception — Crowdsourcing equals access to free labor. It’s given crowdsourcing a dirty name.

There’s crowdsourcing of wisdom [like Wikipedia] and of labor [like Mechanical Turk].

There’s a difference between crowds and communities, especially if you’re depending on it for business purposes. You need sustainability.

With a crowd, there’s a common purpose, some sort of event, but interpersonal isolation.

K: Interpersonal isolation provides a comfort to many people. Many of us are uncomfortable when someone strikes up a conversation in the elevator.

B: With crowds, sourcing exists in sprints. There’s a start and an end — not sustainable. [That’s where you get into the event aspect of being a crowd.]

K: You have to keep up some level of participation to remain involved. High probably of fatigue.

Community is based on identify and cohesiveness from shared conditions. Sustainability exists inherently in the organic, adaptive nature of communities.

K: Businesses can be part of communities, but they don’t define communities. If Harley Davidson went out of business tomorrow, it’s unreasonable to think that all the communities related to Harley Davidson would cease to exist.

B: As a business, you don’t have a community. You are part of a community.

[Me: This is a key point.]

Risks Inherent in Crowdsourcing
* Discount sushi — Something that seemed like a good idea at the time. It filled a need. But it’s not a repeatable source.

* Football team vs. strip club — Imagine the pre-game locker room of a football game. Everyone’s getting amped up, with a common purpose. There’s an incentive for collaboration. OK so now we’re supposed to be imagining backstage at a strip club before the first performance. There’s no incentive to assist others — if you help someone else improve, you make less money yourself.

[Me: Well that’s an interesting metaphor, but the point is well taken about communities vs. crowds.]

* Careless engagement — People aren’t engaged enough. They don’t care. They’ll put out crap to say they’re participating. If careless participation doesn’t harm your personal reputation, it’s a real risk for the community and the business.

* Wasted neurons — At the end of an open call, people have spent a lot of time working on a project, and the vast majority of it isn’t used. You have to weigh your time against the potential rewards.

* No contextual reputation — If you’ve already got a great reputation in your field, the level playing field created by communities isn’t your friend. If you’re the new kid with great ideas, it is helpful.

Questions we should ask of any sourcing model
1. Can it foster community? Is there incentive for conversation, learning, engagement? Or is it transactional? Is there a culture of collaboration?

2. Does it tap collective wisdom?

3. Does it nurture participation? Does work benefit reputation? Are participants building relationships? Are resources valued or wasted? Are terms/facts clear to all?

Brian Solis

OK, first session….I’m here at the Hilton listening to Brian Solis. He’s talking about brand.

For the record, brand is one of those words I hate. Its overuse has killed what used to be a useful word IMHO.

His premise is that social media is changing the way we communicate and connect. I’m thinking I take issue with that. We still need human connections and relationships. Social media is another channel for creating and maintaining relationships. But does it CHANGE them?

[Side note: there’s actually another panel on that topic over in the convention center right now. But I’m not there.]

Here’s a point I definitely agree with: We don’t control our message once we release it into the public. And social media allows you [your company, whatever] to connect with your community in order to assess things.

Solis is making a similar point to one I just read in Rework [by 37Signals’ Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hanssen]: Who owns social media? Not marketing, not PR….everyone in your organization does. [Rework says, everything you do is marketing. It’s not a department. It’s how you run your business.]

Solis shows a slide that makes my head hurt. It’s called the Conversation Workflow, and it’s showing how conversations are initiated and travel through an organization. You know, a customer says something. And PR or customer support notices, and then it goes to someone for a response and then tech or legal is involved and then someone says, hey we gotta run that by the COO — you get the picture.

OMG. Here’s a true statement fr a Solis slide: Attention is the currency in content commerce. That is a great statement.

Solis asks, Why are we having our interns represent our brand on Twitter? Do you have your interns call up Walt Mossberg [tech guru for the WSJ] to pitch a story? NO!

We have to provide value with social media, or it’s worthless. Make something happen.

Majority of social media users are women….except on Digg.

So now Solis has introduced Jeremiah Owyang [], Frank Eliason [], and Dennis Crowley from Foursquare.

Eliason telling a great story about how social media is a personal connection, even when you represent a brand.

Owyang: Social media doesn’t scale. You can’t respond fast enough to meet the demand from customers. New report on how you should use social media to connect your customers with existing customer service, how people are doing it right.

Foursquare is 1 year old yesterday, with approximately 540,000 users to date.

Dennis Crowley talks entirely too fast.

And he just used another expression I hate: The social graph.

Solis makes great point: Many companies are not fixing legacy customer service or the root problem, they’re just applying social media on top of a broken system.

Eliason agrees. Says Comcast CEO has a Twitter app on his desktop so he can hear the conversation, and says his own team has the power to work throughout the organization to promote change when they see a need for it.

Owyang says social media still important for B2B because relationships are still between people.

Solis tells about a customer who asked him to do social media research and he found very little about the company on Twitter, but thousands of things in Google Groups — people talking about their product, needing information. You’ve got to meet the people where they are.

Great question: Is it right to completely restructure your org to respond to social media, or do you simply add a little walled-off community management group?

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