Tag Archives: context

A Golden Rule Going Social with Social Media

6 Mar

When asked what the business rules about Social Media are, I am stupefied. I tried high and low to search what there is about such “rules” and even attempted to define what such rules are by labeling them “always-never” business rules.

I realized I cannot know what the Social Media business rules are.

There are numerous guides, experiences, recommendations, and great stories about successful ventures using Social Media. But it seems to me, after searching, there are no rules. What there is are practices that have worked in particular fields of industries that have advanced faster in the use of it.

One such field is media marketing, akin to advertising which is in essence marketing communication.

However, Social Media do not comprise all of the Social Web and its technologies alone.  It denotes three general areas of the social sphere of the Web: relevancy (by strict definition, usefulness); networks (people); and last, the media as the communication vehicle of people to exchange or share objects that are meaningful among people–at a certain space of time at a certain location.

Digital strategist Mark Smiciklas of Intersection Consulting depicts the social media as the tactic and mere tip of the Social Media Iceberg. He has combined the aspects of business, people, and efficacy of social media into a strategy framework–a balanced scorecard that stacks up a range of activities in the entire social media value chain.

Social Media Iceberg presented by Mark Smiciklas | Intersection Consulting

Social media tactics are merely the tip of the iceberg | Mark Smiciklas | Intersection Consulting

What lies underneath the use of  social media are strategic components to make the media work: how it really can work with people and how people must work it up.

Organizations that adopt social media may employ the best and brightest people. A lot has done it. And many businesses have deployed good social media marketing efforts.  But in many other organizations, people and strategy may be hamstrung by their own organizational inertia, multilayered hierarchies, cumbersome decision processes, lack of focus, setting off-tangent or mis-aligned goals, or simply having little perspective to tackle the complexities to take on a culture that promotes successful use of Social Media: being open or cutting across function silos.

Social media marketing efforts succeed because they are driven by marketers. That has always been the way advertising works. At a future state of maturity of Social Media in business,  however, gatekeepers of product or brand management may become at a certain point the bottleneck in catapulting the true potential of Social Media.

Book author David Vinjamuri, president of  ThirdWay Brandtrainers, states in his article “Want to Open a Dialogue with Consumers? Start from Within” that the challenge for many organizations is that in the last decade, digital and interactive media [social media in today’s guise], was often “greenhoused”–assigned to a small group with an independent budget.

Acting like media networks, with marketing akin to it, groups within companies who “own the media networks” come flat without real great block-timer shows to put up. There are always the social media actuators but with few social media actors.

Following the traditional media network mind set: while there might be producers of  ” shows” on social media, the shows must have a good concept, a compelling script, a campaign-able story line, and the most important component of all to have great actors who will portray the heart and soul of the story.

An audience to such great shows attach themselves to the actors–seldom with the backstage or production people–even with the show’s directors or producers.

The big difference though between media network shows and a social media “show” is in social media story, producer, writer, director and actor can be one and the same–whether they be people within an organization, or corporations, or individuals like you and me.

In his book Accidental Branding: How Ordinary People Build Extraordinary Brands, David Vinjamuri underscores the singularity of  brands’ stories as told by its creators. Such moving stories create new meanings as stories are passed from one audience to another. Audience becomes storyteller themselves. And on and on can stories ripple out to people who will build upon these brands’ new contexts and relevance.

In all so far that I have observed, nameless people are the true actors, our storytellers and audience at the same time, on Social Media–in their own contexts of space, time, and with their own things or stories to share.

There is not one shoe that fits. People are the Golden Rule of Social Media.

My appreciation to Mark Smiciklas for allowing me to use his Social Media Iceberg. And to David Vinjamuri who has inspired  me via his book and insights about Social Media in marketing.
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Social Media [Must] Leave No One Behind

4 Feb

In my daily amassing, digesting, making sense, and finding practical everyday uses of  information and communication technologies, I stumbled upon a graph called “Technology Adoption Life Cycle”.

The graph merely shows how many of us acquire the habit of using a new tool. Any new tool is not all the time useful and there will always be groups of people who will entirely miss–as a choice–using it until the next wave of tools arrive.

But what if the tool is useful and pervasive? What if the tool fulfills us and helps us do things better and subsequently help us to help others?

The Web with Social Media is one such tool. Its use is as basic as everyday human interaction. But the dizzying array of platforms makes the decision-making paths to just start using the tool sound like preparing for a thesis. When a tool has a barrier to adoption, most would say, “Don’t bother!”

But what is communication?  Communicating is an intrinsic right. It is expression. It is as human as human we can be.

The Social Media [remember, the use of it as tool to communicate] has been phenomenally growing in importance and steadily breaking down barriers to communication, allowing people to connect, engage and share in a more informal way. Individuals can now leverage the power and popularity of social media to be their own [Me]dia.

For the “early majority”, “late majority”, and “laggards” (not flattering labels!) to adopt technologies, communication technologies especially, the only question to ask to find out why adoption is slow with the “other half”  is to know what could motivate or make such groups embrace use of social media as staple as food.

Gutenberg’s press, which started the literacy revolution, wasn’t picked up by the mass of citizens of the world during the renaissance centuries. It took still another hundred years that books were available even for those who cannot afford to have one.

What took hundreds of years to mature adoption of books and be pervasive was a mere decade and a half for the next stages of today’s revolution–information and communication.

It is not too late.

Why you should (and not) consider Social Media, in a next post. Stay tuned!


Special Sauce #1: Relevance

1 Feb

Social Media is a brutal game. Most of us come in with pristine intentions, trying hard to stay in the conversation. Yet, some of us leave bloodied when all we wanted was to get simply a pat on the back. We post, we tweet, we reach out to friends and faceless strangers alike. We bait, we cajole or worse, patronize. Then… nothing. It’s like that proverbial blue screen of death to battle-tested Windows veterans. No response.

Well, the usual advice has always been, get relevant. Okay, but what exactly is relevance?  Wiki says, pertinent, connected or applicable something is to a given matter. Umm, another one please… Definition: Something (A) is relevant to a task (T) if it increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal (G), which is implied by T. (Hjørland & Sejer Christensen,2002). They are actually all correct except, they don’t tell much “the how” of it all. Well today, I might have a few ideas of my own to share, after many, many blue screen experiences. Like…

To be relevant, be recognizable. There are millions of images passing before our audience each day, all vying for attention. And they tend to respond only to stimuli they recognize. People, it seems, disconnect if they cannot make sense or interpret information. So don’t  discuss Hilbert’s 16th Problem in Algebra to Pre-School children. They may see flowers for equations, or cut you off completely.

The media in social starts with “Me”. Yes, me, not actually you… but them your audience. It sounds so simple but we do often forget that it is a conversation and not  an oration. What do they hope to get out of it, what’s in it for them? Relevant comes from the Latin word relevare, which means “alleviate or unburden”. So aim to be helpful and expect more dividends.

Be ready for change. After all, relevance is a moving target. Context, as my good blogger friend Albert Borrero would always say… is everything. So keep updated with movements in people’s reference points. “Bad” is not always necessarily so. Keep scanning the horizon for shifting sands.

And finally, sometimes, staying relevant means staying healthy like getting enough sleep. It happens too often that the quest for a Social Life in Social Media leads to otherworldly ideas at 3′ o clock in the morning. Then again, find some time to smell the orange blossoms whenever you can.

Data Is The New Scent: How The Internet Sees You

1 Feb

On the Internet, we leave a trail of scent faster than we can ever imagine: data. With ~ 600 million users today, activity on Facebook alone is staggering.

  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

The vast amounts of data we create and transfer across the world’s networks in a day is more than we are able to count humanity.

We leave our data droppings–our Internet footprints–in social network and media sites, cloud services, and yes even when we use our location-aware mobile devices.

This tapestry of droppings is aggregated into information objects.  And information objects stitched together becomes content. Presented with the same information, people derive different meanings, their own meaning .  Here lies the crux: data turned into information isn’t valuable content for everyone.

For content to be useful and meaningful, it has to have context. Our context. A context for our community. A context for our society. A context about what we care about.

Who else would care?

Try and find out about your online scent. Here is how the Internet sees you.

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