Bloggers will smile when they see this – after all, it’s a situation faced almost every day. But the most interesting thing, for me at least, is the neat video creation tool used to create the video – xtranormal. If you can type you can make a movie. Nice.
Perfect for executives and for clients wanting a quick run down of social media – and why it is turning our lives upside down, this presentation brings together the seven short videos that clearly show the context, the business value and the opportunity. Feel free to share it. Oh, and there is a neat plug for the Age of Conversation – the next edition of which is in production right now!
CMO.com released a handy chart with snapshot social media information designed as a quick heads up for chief marketing officers. It’s not a panacea and it doesn’t cover all the places, spaces and platforms – but it’s a great start.
Social media is real time, real people, real reactions. For the most part. Sure there are ghost writers, automated scripts, bots and trolls, but for the most part, we are drawn to the authentic, real people behind the avatars.
So what happens when you have a bad day?
The person behind Westpac’s twitter account it seems, accidentally tweeted that they were having a bad day (it has been deleted from their timeline now). Clearly, this can happen when a person is operating multiple twitter accounts – effectively dissolving the distance between an individual and the brand you represent. But will this just make a bad day worse? Are there any good things that can come out of this?
To be honest, it could well be the best thing that has happened to the Westpac social presence. It’s attracted a significant amount of attention on Twitter – and it is driving up their follower numbers. The interesting thing is that it has generated quite a deal of good-natured banter – real conversation – which is largely lacking in the social media activities of most brands. This is a GOOD thing.
You see, Twitter IS SOCIAL. It is a social space. The last thing that people want in their “social spaces” is the locked down, hollow-eyed automatons that REM so eloquently characterised in their anthem “Bad Day”. This is the first glimpse that we have seen behind the Westpac veil – and I applaud it.
Have you ever seen the televised St. Vitus subcommittee prize Investigation dance? Those ants in pants glances. Well, look behind the eyes. It's a hallowed hollow anesthetized "save my own ass, screw these guys" smoke and mirror lock down. Broadcast me a joyful noise unto the times, lord, Count your blessings. The Papers wouldn't lie! I sigh, Not one more. It's been a bad day. Please don't take a picture. It's been a bad day. Please.
But of course, it always helps to have a social media policy and a risk management/crisis comms plan in place. Even if it just says "own up to your mistakes and move on".
Westpac confirms it was an honest mistake. Here's hoping we see more personality behind the brand!
In amongst the thought leadership, the tips and tricks and the case studies that fill my reader each week, a gem sometimes emerges. It’s not easily explained. It makes my heart skip. And it comes with its own a-ha moment.
I have a dedicated category on my reader that helps me follow the writers who surprise and delight me. But in a way, I expect a certain style of writing from those blogs. It’s the surprising post from the unexpected source that I am truly seeking this week.
Interestingly then, this week’s must-read posts from last week is all about you.
Week 6 of Wonderment: Reinvent – comes from Jasmin Tragas, seeking to find the wonder in every day living. It’s part of a collaborative Flickr project and is already turning up some fantastic imagery.
John Hagel asks “who are you” and explains that your answer influences everything that follows. How we perceive ourselves, what we do and how we behave, are all changing – and this poses interesting questions, provides opportunities, exposes challenges and also shortcomings. Take a look.
Chris Guillebeau shares (again) his Brief Guide to World Domination which stems from two key questions – what do you really want to get out of life? And – What can you offer the world that no one else can?
I was watching this video from the Kaiser’s Toilet on Twitter and Google’s new Buzz – and it got me thinking. Much of the discussion that we see around social media, marketing and new technologies relates to yes/no decisions. The conversations are framed in terms of scarcity – of time, resources, budget and so on. But one of the fundamental transformations that the social web has driven is that of abundance. Of information, knowledge and connection.
So we are seeing a fundamental disconnect between the way that we VIEW this emerging world and the way that it OPERATES.
The idea of VIEWING a website or social platform is a behaviour that has created a world view. It comes from 50 years of broadcast TV. It places us, “a user” (and therefore a dependent) in a passive mode. The newer, social web places us, the PARTICIPANT at the centre of a hub. It requires choice, it engenders responsibility, and presupposes action. It PLAYS to the concept of abundance and see scarcity as outmoded, traditional, passe.
But as Mark Earl’s Herd has taught us, it is behaviour which changes thinking, not thinking that changes behaviour. So perhaps, surreptitiously, our engagement with the social web may have wider implications. Or maybe the social web is more chaotic, playful and unpredicatable than our marketing and IT “use cases” would suggest.
This interesting article by Alan Wolk shows how the #thuglife meme has made Twitter into a purely experiential platform. More importantly for marketers, perhaps, is the scale of this type of participation – which far exceeds the early adopter circles that characterise much of the social media debate:
It's an interesting use of the medium, and the people participating in these hashtags seem to be getting as much value out of them as the Twitter-Is-a-Serious-Business-Tool types who busily append words like "Genius!" to their retweets of a fellow blogger's "Top 10 Reasons Location-Based Services Are the New Twitter."
What we are seeing is the logical extension of YES. We are seeing the “crowd” embracing abundance and participating in a way which is consciously unselfconscious.
What would happen if we did the same? What if we said YES to Twitter? What would happen if we followed everyone? Would our world change? Maybe not. But maybe WE would.
Brian Solis has scoured the web and brought together a series of visual graphs, maps and statistics that seek to explain the “social web”. He calls it the State of Social Media Around the World 2010. I particularly like The Global Web Index by Trendstream which goes beyond the aggregated data points to show just exactly HOW people are using social technologies in each country. However, in reading this type of data – it often pays to cross-match data points and superimpose other frameworks to reveal more useful information. This is essential to helping you formulate a robust digital strategy. Let's see how.
Superimposing frameworks to reveal information
It is interesting to compare this against Forrester’s Ladder of Social Media Participation (or see the latest version incorporating “conversationalists”) which is more granular. Forums, in particular, are still a powerful way for people to participate in a community – and are extremely popular, well trafficked and often vibrant.
I love maps. They are a great way of contextualising our world. But it's also important to remember that they have a long history – and an important function in the sharing of knowledge. Whenever I see a map, I always think of navigation. I think of sea monsters, reefs and shipwrecks. So for all the great information that is shown on a map – it's just important to look for what is not shown, what is just below the surface.
For example, there are a couple of ways of looking at this map:
Trends and tides: The colour coding helps to easily identify global and regional trends. Think of this in terms of a tide – what is coming in and what is going out. Clearly photo uploading is a global phenomenon with wide scale adoption. Is it at the high tide mark? Does that matter to your audience? Designing a strategy that incorporates photography, image sharing etc lowers the barrier to entry – but can also be seen as "old hat".
Sea monsters: Take a close look at your country and region. The variations from global trend can indicate potential roadblocks. Think about what is happening in your country/region and determine the root causes? Not uploading video in your neck of the woods? Is there good (and cheap) bandwidth available? Are devices such as the Flip video readily available? Remember, ease of use drives consumption – that includes devices as well as websites.
Shipwrecks: What can be learned from the lessons of others? This is where historical and trend data can be useful. Is there 2007 or 2008 data that you can draw upon to show shifts in patterns of behaviour? Are your audiences doing something more rather than less? What is it? What are the lessons from overseas that you can take into account in your own plans?
The Australian figures, for example are fascinating. We now know that Australians are the number one users of social media worldwide. But we are seeing particular usage patterns emerging – which would characterise us mostly as joiners and spectators. It is still a relatively small percentage who create content.
When it comes to developing a strategy for your brand, it’s important to understand the differences in the platforms and how it influences behaviour – because knowing who drives knowing how. We need to determine not just where our audiences lie (and the numbers), but also identify the most appropriate form of engagement. A joiner is not going to contribute a video to your competition, and a conversationalist is not an optimal target for a podcast. Think also about simple social media – it’s a great way to easily map what you currently do onto a more social framework (something I will be writing about later this week).
But above all – read statistics with a critical eye. Just because you read something on the web or in a report, doesn't mean it is true. It's an opinion. And when it comes to your brand's or client's strategy, your insight and your opinion also count.