In case you’re spending too much time in the virtual world:
Your Leading Thoughts
- Joking aside, how serious is Social Media addiction? Have you been addicted yourself?
- How do we safeguard ourselves and others from this addiction?
In case you’re spending too much time in the virtual world:
This comment from yesterday from Brian Driggs hit’s the spot on why most blogs miss out on the greatest value they have – their readers – by failing to showcase others rather than themselves:
It’s hard for me to posit why showcasing is so rare, as it’s been at the center of my online activities for 15 months, now. I’d tend to agree with you that it’s an ego thing for many. After all, the essence of the blog is sharing one’s opinions, so if those opinions draw an audience, isn’t that reinforcement of self-worth? Paging Ego to the white courtesy phone!
Our core focus at Gearbox is interviewing others, sharing their stories, publishing their opinions on the issues directly affecting our community. With so many people sharing across social technologies these days, it can be easy for some voices to get lost in the din.
We simply give individuals a moment in the spotlight to introduce themselves, share the high and low points of their journeys, and get their voices heard over the others, one at a time. We’re trying to make responsibility, effort, and “doing it right” more popular, hopefully inspiring conversations surrounding what works, how it works, and why it works, all while gently suggesting we’re all part of a diverse, global community without boundaries.
The things we have in common make it easier for us to accept (even understand) our differences. As gearheads, we generally come together in pursuit of building high performance machines, but our goal at Gearbox is to empower people to build high performance lives.
It’s my life’s work, actually.
I have a habit of clipping case studie I find that fit within the Scatter, Gather, Matter framework. You can actually see all of these on my Delicious account.
A recent one that I found that is in the vein of the Old Spice campaign is a set of personalised videos from Ford. Here’s a small sample:
If scattering your message is about pushing it everywhere and anywhere, gathering your message is about uniting people together and pulling them into the same place.
One way to do gather people is quite literally to showcase them – to put them in the show – as it not only gets their interest and participation by the virtue that you have showcased them, but they will also bring their crowd with them to watch them perform.
We don’t all have a budget to create videos talking to individual people. But we can involve people quite easily in what we do. The most basic form is a tweet about someone else or a blog post highlighting someone else’s work. Taking this deeper, we can actually ask people to contribute to our production. I learnt this when running a youth organization and quickly realising that when I asked bands to play, they brought their fans. Not only that, but when I asked young people to volunteer and be part of the organisation, they brought their friends to watch what they had made.
The trick really is to ask yourself “how can I involve someone else in this?”, from the small parts right up to the big parts. If you sell paper as a B2B business, for instance, you could showcase a business by naming a particular product after them because they buy so much of it, or asking them to demo a new product for a week free of charge and video what they think of it.
Social Media is supposed to be about co-creation, but we regularly find ego takes over and thus the blog becomes about the blogger, the show about the producer, and the church about the preacher. If we can lay down our ego and seek not to be interesting to be interested, then we can begin seeing the fruits of showcasing individuals.
P.S. I explain Showcase and two other social strategies in this article.
Sometime ago I spoke at London Blog Club about value-based blogging. It’s an approach that values each participation that someone makes on the blog, and seeks to increase that participation by placing value on each person, as opposed to a volume approach that is more about generating large numbers of retweets and likes.
Not surprisingly, there was some crticism. This post from Lucy Hewitt highlights her disagreements, which tend to revolve around the needs of blogs that have low levels of participation but higher levels of just plain consumption.
So my question today to you is: do retweets matter to you?
For me, I can happily have 30 comments on a post and really see valued added to people, with only a handful (say 10) retweets. I see engagement of that kind, and the engagement that I have with many of you away from the blog, as being of far greater long term benefit that a messily click of a retweet mouse.
This isn’t to say that retweets don’t matter for say campaigns that seek to spread their news as far as they want – but that volume approach is just not necessary for me.
Perhaps the most fundamental event that marked the power of social media last year was the dethroning of Sim Cowell’s X-Factor by a Facebook campaign that put Rage Against The Machine in the Christmas No. 1 slot and beat the single released by the winner of the competition, Joe McElderry.
As it happens, I wrote the top case study on the event, in which I dissected the statistics and events leading up to Christmas to not only help us understand how it happened, but to get our heads around the two different mindsets that are in play against one another. The headline numbers were astounding:
For me, this campaign demonstrated the power of spreadability and of a value approach over a volume approach, in as much as the volume of 13.9 million were beat by the value of under 1 million.
Now that Matt Cardle has won and is has released his single “When We Collide”, there are a dozen campaigns to beat this single to number one, but it seems the one with the most legs is a collaboration between a number of celebrities performing their own version of John Cage’s 4’33″, an avant-garde peice in which the record is just the recording of musicians silent in the room, thus being aptly named, “Cage Against The Machine.”
As it says on BBC Entertainment:
An anti-X Factor “supergroup” has recorded its entry in the race for this year’s Christmas number one – the sound of silence. Madness star Suggs and dance acts Orbital and Pendulum were among those who did nothing in a recording studio.
Dozens of musicians were present and the campaign – dubbed Cage Against the Machine – currently has 62,000 Facebook fans.
Guillemots frontman Fyfe Dangerfield, Unkle’s James Lavelle, Scroobius Pip and Dan Le Sac also took part in the unconventional session. They were joined by members of The Kooks and Heaven 17 at Dean Street Studios in London.
For me, this anti-campaign was a failure right from the beginning, and it just won’t work. Why you ask?
Despite Cage Against The Machine having far wider press circulation because it’s being run by professionals, it lacks the distinct spreadability that last years campaign had. I can see 5 reasons why:
Recently we answered the question “Where are Foursquare and Gowalla Going?“, understanding that the future of location-based social networking (or whatever they call it) was really down to a clear reward, most powerful financial.
It’s not enough to have a glossy location gaming product, it needs to actually benefit the consumer. Sure, early adopters will get behind something because it’s the new thing, but for the mainstream to adopt something and for it to stick, there has to be more than the “this is kinda cool” factor.
Gowalla has been loosing the location wars for this reason. Whilst they started before Foursquare, and unlike Foursquare, did not limit users to unlocked cities to begin with, Gowalla made the fundamental mistake of creating easily the coolest and most pretty service, but the least beneficial. On what actually matters for sustained usage, Foursquare beat them on all points:
The latest from Gowalla, as Mashable reports, is that it now is integrated with Facebook Places and with Foursquare, meaning “Gowalla even lets you earn Foursquare badges and Facebook Deals through the iPhone app. As an added bonus, Gowalla also pulls in Foursquare Tips whenever you check in.”
Whilst I admire Gowalla’s move to embrace a “complete rather than compete” position, I think it’s the nail in the coffin as it marks the end of their competitive mindset. Only when the leader in the market goes all open does it work in a organisations favour. Foursquare is still something like 10 times bigger than Gowalla, and Facebook is waaaaay bigger than Foursquare. Why would anyone but the innovating few use Gowalla to do what the Foursquare app that they like already does? And remember, geeks often don’t care much for design as much as I love how Gowalla looks and feels.
Most of all, it’s decision to, as CEO Josh Williams says, be a “socially curated guidebook” is a fundamental misunderstanding of where the market is today. Sure, one day, we will use apps to find new walks and new places to go. But for now, even the most early adopting of us don’t use them to find new places, and neither do the early majority trust an app to follow around someone’s suggested walk or new location to check out. In years to come – maybe. Today – no – unless it saves me money – and then I’d just roll with Fourquare or Facebook.
Josh just didn’t realise that early adopters are time poor and the early majority are trust poor, meaning Gowalla is just going to stay poor.
Gowalla over and out.
Anything that helps people find great content is aces in my book. And any endeavour that seeks to help people benefit from this by providing their content, as well as finding it, is a good thing and a simple form of curation in our over-bloated world.
A while back I was one the founding 10 people or so who was invited to join Social Media Informer. It’s a portal that aggregates feeds (almost 50) from top writers in the social media space.
They’ve also got a range of sub categories that you search through to find content in specific areas. What I like about it is that it doesn’t just copy the content (as do many of these types of sites), but it takes the user right back to the source. This is just respectful and really the way these things should be done.
If you’re looking for something specific in the social media space, I’d certainly you browse Social Media Informer – in particular the “Industry” and “Type” categories that are very powerful for finding very, very specific information.
If you want to know what the 5 most important blogging lessons are, the person to ask is Darren Rowse. He is one of the world’s top 5 bloggers and one of his blogs, ProBlogger, is the go to source for all things blogging. Darren makes a six figure salary from his blogs. This isn’t to say that money is all of our objectives, but the earnest emphasis that Darren places on community makes these 5 lessons applicable to all situations, and as Darren is a pastor of a church and puts that money largely into charities, I think he does indeed know a few things about community.
He recently wrote on the “5 c’s of blogging“, a summary of what he’s learned over 6 years of ProBlogger, of which this is the video:
Back in 2003 when we started running Feedback (a youth charity attached to my church), our first event wasn’t the sell out that I had hoped. Serving gourmet coffee, fresh donuts, jazz performances, and me retelling something I’ve heard on a Tony Robbins tape, it wasn’t exactly the definition of “youth”.
In fact, it was the definition of me.
But over the course of a year, we changed as a team and became far more in touch with what the youth needed, resulting in a packed event with 350 people exactly one year later.
I tell this story because to start it is exemplifies what it is to go fishing with a fishing rod. When we take a fishing rod approach, we can only catch one fish a time and intensely hunt for the single best fish that we can. A good fishing trip bears with it a good story of catching that fish – you know – the one that you hold in the photo and is the length of your body if not more.
The trouble with fishing with a rod is that it’s only ever one at a time, and I’ve found that when we do this, we seek to find what we want as a provider, not what other’s want as an end user. This isn’t always the case, but it tends to be so in my experience.
The alternative, as became as a team after a year, is to fishers who fish with a net. When you take a net, you trall in everything and anything that you can catch, and then sift through it after. It is an undiscriminating way to go about fishing – you don’t pick and choose – you fish. We started to do this when we changed to having coffee to having a bunch of cold drinks and hot drinks. Before it was “you have to the kind of fish that likes gourmet coffee”, but after it was “if you want a drink, we’ve got one for you.” You see the difference?
Sifting through it after means once you’ve pulled up the net, you understand that not everything will stick. This is fundamental to a volume or value based approach – no matter what, people will opt out of certain levels of participation with you, and that’s fine – it’s just where they want to be.
We value your inputs – both your experience and your insights. Talking about Fishing Rods and Fishing Nets,
These are the slides that I put together to help get the points across. Enjoy – you co-created them![slideshare id=5502328&doc=howtoconsistentlygetadozencommentsperpost-101020064626-phpapp01]