Tag Archives: MySpace

Are You A Networkist?

Map of Online Communities 2  by xkcd

Map of Online Communities 2 by xkcd

At a recent meeting of some social media masterminds, the conversation got around to a new network being designed by one of the members, and how it interfaced with other social networks. The speaker mentioned that they were interfacing with MySpace and that led to a series of jokes about guitar strumming and “is that still around” . The thought sprang into my mind ” Is that a networkist remark?”

That led me to wonder about network snobbery. Is our involvement in online communities creating new “class distinctions”? Are our reactions to others being formed by their participation in or lack of participation in social networking?

With 900 million members, it sometimes seems that everyone we meet is on Facebook, but do you react with some surprise or condescension when you meet someone who prefers not to be part of Facebook nation? Do people that concentrate their social engagement on LinkedIn feel superior because they are productivity related? Do we see Twitter users as flighty or find them too crass and commercial because they are constantly pimping links to their content or product? Google+ users see themselves as more cutting edge than there brethren on Facebook, but do Facebook users see them as disconnected Uber-Geeks?

Will all of this lead to network wars? Armies invading virtual space and spreading their social propaganda and vision of the future? Or on a more serious note, has social media become so integral to our society that we have started to measure others by the networks they join?

It may seem silly, or a flight of fancy, but as our online involvement leads us from network to network, and from community to community, its hard not to generate preconceptions of the people in these communities. Its merely an extension of the thinking that led to the creation of sites like Klout and Kred, where algorithms are purported to tells us who people are, what influence they wield, and who they influence. In other words, these sites look at the online activities of individuals, and from the where, and what or their participation, claim to have some insight into who they are, what they know, and who they influence.

On a personal level, we perform these mental gymnastics without the benefit of mathematics or hard data, to come to the pre-judgement we might unconsciously make when we see the results of a Google search, indicating where and how our subject interacts online. Little or no information online? No social network involvement? We judge the subject to be less relevant than they might be, or less important that they should be. Lots of friends and fans and followers? Tons of online interaction? Before we even investigate the specifics of their interaction, we begin to have form a “model of a modern major general” (If my Gilbert & Sullivan reference is too obscure for you , click here!)

But prejudgement, of almost any kind, is not good. It may lead us to over or under estimate the potential contribution an individual might make to our cause, be it business, personal or philanthropic. In variably pre-judgement leads to mis-jdgement, and we might find ourselves following the banner of an “evangelist” without portfolio, whose rhetoric outpaces their knowledge. Or fail to follow the next great idea, because it comes from a surprising source.

Mom always said “You will be judged by the company you keep” and Mom was always right wasn’t she?

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Did You Miss the Social Media Gold Rush?

In the past 5 years, I have watched the discussion of social media go from “What is it?” to “Do I need it?” to “How do I do it?”.

Now people who came late to the dance wonder if its not too late to create an effective online presence. It seems that no matter what their business, it there has already been a huge rush to stake out what has been perceived as valuable online territory. The fear of being just another tree in a forest filled to the edges is not a fantasy. Luckily, that’s not how social marketing works. Social marketing has never been (and I’m not sure it ever will be) a function of the tools we use. If you’ve ever heard me talk, you know that I am fond of quoting my son Hal Lublin who said, “three years ago , social media was Friendster and MySpace, now its Twitter and Facebook, and we don’t know what it will be next. ” In fact, I would expand on that to say that no one know what it will be next. Maybe Google+ and its integration in the basic search, maybe YouTube (since every year seems to be the year of video) or maybe FourSquare or Gowalla(since every year is also the year of location based services) But no matter what the tool, the basics will remain the same.

  1. Identify your target or niche market. Through the glory of what we used to call the information superhighway, we are no longer tied to just geography, but are free to work  demographics to reach our intended community
  2. Be a Joiner – Its better to be part of your community’s existing world than it is to try to create your own world and seek their participation. Why worry about competing for their attention when you can put yourself firmly in the middle of the place they’re already focused on? Join the existing conversations. Add to the comments in their community, respond to their statements and questions as a peer, and your acceptance will be almost immediate. People are finding that they get more traction by participating in Facebook Groups than they do trying to get people to engage on theior Facebook pages.
  3. Get Through Giving  People become pre-disposed to like you when you contribute freely and without question.If you  contribute to the community on their terms, at their pace, through the channels they choose to populate, you become viewed in the most positive fashion, earning a position of trust that leads to referrals and direct business, when the members of the community have a need for your product or service – it is the very essence of inbound marketing.
  4. Be Genuine At some point you’re going to be dealing directly with your consumer, and your interaction will have set some expectations in their mind about who you are and what you stand for. If you are not the person they expected to meet, their experience, and your ability to maintain their trust is severely limited.  You need to send a consistent message  and you need to make sure that your message has the right context. Context in terms of the ongoing conversation and in terms of the platform you’re sharing on. In the world of FourSquare, Yelp and Foodspotting, sharing what you’re having for dinner is not only acceptable, its crucial to the community – on LinkedIn, not so much…
  5. Be Patient You need to understand that this takes some time and you need to have realistic expectations. Whatever your business goals, social media is a long term investment of time and resources. Your strategy needs to be considerate of that fact. Because of the nature of the relationship process, consistency and patience are key to success. If you blog once a week, at the end of the year, you have accumulated 52 posts that create a part of your permanent presence online. Each picture post, tweet and poke contributes to an overall structure that becomes your online persona – a place where people can see not only what you are discussing or sharing today, but what you have contributed to the community at large.

Bottom line, there is still outstanding opportunity for small businesses and professionals in the social media space. Used thoughtfully, properly, and with integrity, you can connect with a wonderful online community that will profit  your business and enhance your life.

New opportunities are being created everyday, Where will you stake your claim?

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Teen Safety on the Internet

Usually our posts are written for small businesses and professionals, but the issue of teen cruelty and teen safety on the internet is one that deserves our attention. With the immersion of teen in the web every day, we as parents, family and friends need to understand the world they face.

According to the Pew Research Center, the adult perception of the internet is that most people (85%) are kind , the internet as it is experienced by teens is quite different, with one in five feeling that people are mostly unkind. As with any problem, the first step in fighting an issue is understanding it, and thanks to Column Five and Zone Alarm, I’m able to share with you today an infographic with some startling statistics and some actionable steps to take to help make this situation better. I hope you find it as worthwhile as I do.


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Getting Into Focus

flowers in focus

Flowers in Focus

Remember the old days when we used cameras with film?

Taking pictures was simple, but a little cumbersome. We need to make sure we had the right film for our camera, we needed to have someone else develop the film ( unless we were really hardcore and had our own dark room) and were often disappointed in the quality of then pictures when We got them back because they were under or over exposed, out of focus, or poorly framed. Of course Polaroid cameras gave us instant photos, but the film was really expensive, and after one hour film development became common, our wait time was minimized, but there was always the fear of that Robin Williams-type stalker guy looking at your private pictures.

Now it seems like we’ve had the benefit of digital cameras forever. We don’t often think about how the digital camera has changed our lives. We take huge amounts of photos, never worrying about the amount of or type of film we have with us ( of course we have memory card limitations but they are really not the same problem). We see our mistakes right away so we can take an extra shot when we make a mistake. We perform miracles in post editing, adjusting light levels,color saturation, cropping, reversing,resizing, and adding special effects.

The introduction of photo sharing sites like Flickr, Picasa ( now Google Photos) and Snapfish allowed us to share our photos immediately with family and friends all over the world. By the time we started sharing photos on Social networks, we were completely blasé about sharing.

The provision of camera phones made cameras positively ubiquitous. Now we had still and video cameras that were constantly in our pockets, and upload our pictures to file sharing platforms like Twitpics, Facebook, MySpace and Google + instantaneously. It seems like things just couldnt get any better. And yet it seems that they can, and perhaps just did.
Lytro, a startup company located in silicon valley is introducing something called a light field camera that captures color,intensity and the direction of individual light rays to allow you to adjust the focus of camera after you take a picture. These interactive pictures on Lytro’s site  demonstrate just what that means in terms of enhanced creativity. The concept is mind boggling.( I assume you took minute to go play with the interactive photo and found it as incredible as I did- if you didn’t , go ahead and do it now, I’ll wait.).

Now it doesn’t matter where we choose to focus. We’ll be able to shoot now and focus later., making our photos as artistic as we want, or making choices about what we want to emphasize when we’re working on the photos well after we shot them.   Like the introduction of the digital camera, this technology may well change the way we take and use our photos for a long time to come.

The manufacturers also claim that the camera will work in low light situations without a flash, and create 3D photos with a single lens, pretty impressive claims. The price of the camera has not yet been announced, but it it is priced competitively, and is portable enough to compete with existing pocket cameras or DSLRs, it could send revolutionize photography yet again. I know I’m just waiting for the price to see how soon I’ll be able to own one. What about you?

(UPDATE 10/21/2011) Lytro has finally released their new camera. With a price point of $399, and only two buttons to push (power and shutter) the Lytro looks to be the simplest camera made since George Kodak came out with his box camera and the motto “You push the button and leave the rest to us!”

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