Tag Archives: Brian Solis

Business and Social Media (Part I)

19 Feb

Talk about a love/ hate relationship. It’s like Britney Spears and the tabloids.

Business has always been first to recognize any developing trend. But it took a while before it started doing anything with social media. First of all, their systems were built around ironclad structures such as mass marketing, advertising and broadcasting. Tools that were made to be efficient for the greatest profitability. Tools that were designed for maximum control. Yes, greater control has been the linchpin of marketing communications for more than a hundred years. It worked best when it could dominate the channels of communication as well as find its greatest common denominator. This has meant buying primetime and  preaching to everybody that they should have long, black hair because the focus groups had said so. This could be done because business had made sure that the channels of communications were limited by barriers to entry, that included very strict regulation and megabucks to even play. They had so relished this role as the gatekeepers of thought and taste.

But then the internet revolution had changed everything. People started creating their own media channels to reach out to each other thus bypassing the gatekeepers. Costs and regulation were no longer any real  issue. So much so that people,  for the very first time, were truly at the driver’s seat. They now do not need to be told that they had to have long, black hair to be cool;  because having it in some other way could just be as radical. People had the numbers to prove this. The know,  because they are in touch with each other directly and THEY now own their media.

At this point, business had to take  notice because they realized that their influence is rapidly being eroded . It’s not about being bad guys because they really are not. They just had it so easy these past hundred years so that in an almost Darwinian kind of way, business had to just really adapt or else die.  And adapting was another thing that they were actually good at, besides spotting trends. And they had to simply bite the bullet.

Business, to again thrive in this brave new world, had to retool their systems around the new social thinking. Preaching to customers and control of media no longer worked. Persuasiveness, advocacy and consensus building did. Engagement based on honesty and authenticity was the new currency. Smoke and mirrors had lost their sheen, while listening and nuancing will pay  greater dividends indeed.

To understand social media, business must now necessarily be part of it. It must learn to be customers themselves. It must integrate all their traditional channels with the new media. It should monitor more closely than before, changing habits and taste. It should be in the middle of conversations. It should never scrimp on the process of understanding. And most important of all, it should learn to accept that it no longer can have total control. If it just kept all these to heart, then we are sure that it will get the love back.

Peace.

Advertisements

Escape from the “Seniors”

9 Feb

Facebook in my country– the Philippines–has grown by leaps and bounds these past six months. Something like +30% or 7 million new account registrations for a total of 22 million strong Filipino social networkers. That was enough to land this tiny nation the fifth slot of leading facebook countries worldwide. At a high 75% penetration of the its online population,  the fact is it’s astounding considering that the country is still classified as “developing”. One thing is sure though,  “being social” comes naturally to a people who love to connect and stay in touch.

Another notable blip is the rise of older age groups (45 yrs and above) seen joining the bandwagon in droves. From almost being non-existent a year earlier, they have now accounted for over 10% of  local facebookers. Probably fueled by high school reunions or a need for emotional support during mid-life stages, demographics have since been on a steady upward movement. Consequently, we have seen a telling exodus of younger people as well, particularly with  precocious little  “tweens”. We can interpret this as a form of rebellion from the RealWorld of older people or as they like to call them– “seniors”. This is directed at their parents or anyone with even just a streak of grey hair. Seniors are destined to float in the lonely limbo of “awaiting confirmation” when it comes to these influential youth.

The challenge for Facebook therefore  is  how to remain still tres cool and relevant even with seniors, nagging product fan pages and silly farming games around the once- radical territory. Of course, some segments are always expected to fall into the cracks in any progression, but perhaps even with its massive success, an honest-to-goodness re-invention is in the offing for FB. To be more inclusive while retaining a clear cutting-edge. I tend to look at the Rubik’s cube for divination. Peace.

Social Media is Us

6 Feb

Turn Us[ers] On

Us users are the Social Media

In his 1998 book, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the SanityAlan Cooper outlined his methodology, called Goal-Directed® design, based on the concept that software should help users move towards their ultimate goal, rather than ensnaring them in computer minutiae.

 

Cooper’s design methodology “humanized technology” with use of personas as practical interaction design tools to create high-tech products that address user’s needs.

Today, the concepts of interaction design strategy, usability, and the use of personas have been broadly adopted across the software industry and in technology product design education.

One of the offshoots of this methodology is a field called User eXperience Design (UXD) which have been, for years since Cooper’s book, a topic in conversations, discussions, and workshops across continents and assimilated in any and almost all the successful high technology products and platforms of service that run in a Web browser.

The Social Media needs a goal-directed design–not the visual and human-computer interaction aspects of it alone but a “contextual functionality” to the design of its use. In doing so, we can begin to see more of the use of Social Media as a Web platform for society with us as participants not lurkers and creators of content not mere users of it.

Most, if not all, of recent developments in Social Media are open. When it was launched in 2006, one of Twitter’s functionalities is an improvement in use of SMS (short message service/text messaging) that before were only used with mobile phones. Users who signed up eventually found different uses for short-messaging on a large scale with tweets. And Twitter as it is used now as a topic-based, community-grown media has found greater purpose.

The Social Media is not much about technology, it is about us.

A post about why there are stragglers from Social Media from my friend RVBello is an advocacy and a call to mainstream the “other half” into starting to use Social Media as a digital tool for the better. And Open Forum with a post from Yvonne DiVita aptly puts that Social Networks recreate the offline notions of neighborhood online.

While many mavens have adopted ways to manage and cope with the dizzying array of online social platforms, average users–non-users more so–may find themselves at the beginning of the curve in need of a 12-step social identity program. This may lead to increased demand from typical participants to have a more integrated and simplified social tool and an opportunity for platforms and companies alike to meet this demand.

Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group recently twitted betting that a growing requirement in Social Media is the ability to better manage online communities’ conversations. And vendors are fast sprouting to offer the integration, simplicity, and efficiency to manage distributed conversations in every part of our world.

The Web, with Websites as its manifest, will exponentially grow to serve as “digital hubs” or “online anchors” that integrate our social activity from many platforms. While further  integration may come soon fast, it can also be as quick for our mass of stragglers from Social Media.

Brian Solis encapsulates the task at hand in order to bring into the fold our digital “other half” in one of his latest posts An Audience with an Audience of Audiences:

“Our job now is to speak to and through the people in our audiences simultaneously. The goal of course is to spread information across social graphs and interest graphs. The cultural impact of new media is profound as it weaves a new fabric for how we connect and communicate with one another.

“As a digital society, we are ushering in an era where everyday people form a global network of self-empowered social intermediaries that accelerate and proliferate the reach and effect of information and experiences.

“We are no longer just part of the information consumption production process; we are evolving the system for learning and sharing through real-time signal repeaters that boost the reach of digitally transmitted messages – from your status update to the world in seconds.”

 

%d bloggers like this: