Tag Archives: Facebook

Beware of Geeks bearing gifts

21 Jul


No, I did not forget to do my spell-check . It really reads: beware of geeks, an allusion to Helen’s unforgettable love story. But I digress.

I wrote this today because the social media wave has brought with it the bad with the good. In the mad rush to cash in,we have been deluged with so many tools and apps on our favorite social networks that blithe the experience. Yes, apps are wonderful because they tend to make our lives easier but do I really need to have the “share” button at every turn. And please spare me from the request to accept a gift from your garden. Let’s not cram too much into that small desktop space. Give us more space to really exchange messages, ideas, responses and less of the multiple choice questions. Let’s keep the spirit of Steve Jobs when he asked not to see a single screw on the iPhone when it was being designed. Google+ looks clean but wait till they start to “monetize”. Grrrr.

I hate to rant in the middle of the week, but I really think we ought to not forget that social media is being social mainly, and having to play arcade games only an option.

Peace.

Social Media and your Inner Self

21 Apr

Social media provides a window to your soul. Big words, but quite accurate really if you define soul in a sense, as your collective consciousness or the summation of your life’s experiences. Not the whole picture by any stretch; but only a peek that sometimes would not be possible with all the clutter of daily life. Not to mention the tendency for us to oftentimes put on masks or pretenses as a means for self-preservation.

But I guess this can happen only after your 300th post or blog or comment or so. By then, it has already become too difficult to monitor or edit your blurbs in any organized way. By then, like it or not your slip will show. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. For after all, you are who you are, unique and have something important to share that no other person can have– your ontology. I am sure, someone out there is genuinely interested in what you have to say or think.

We have these unique lenses conditioned by  experiences that will make us push that button to like a page or become abhorred by some topic or antic. We are moved to cheer, commiserate and even admonish by the new feeds, points of view, value systems. This is part of our being human, to engage with the community because we all have a stake in it.

With the social web however, this community just got bigger, and the exchanges richer. Hopefully, we will all become better for it. We hope this will lead to greater understanding and tolerance. If not, spark that move towards positive change as it had happened in Tunisia.

I once said that social media helps us write our autobiography in installments. And I hope that killer app becomes possible where I can simply extract all my past and current social engagements  and write that definitive book of  me.

I know even I will be surprised by what I may read. But that’s just me… love or hate it.

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.

Social Media: A Possible Necessity or A Necessary Possibility

16 Feb

Social Media have been getting some bad press lately. Well, of course it depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting on.

The New Egypt and its great people have praised to high heavens the inestimable contributions of facebook & twitter to their unseating (pun intended) President Mubarak and helping the ushering in of an era of freedom for their country. It goes without saying however that Mr. M and his henchmen are probably sulking in their boots for not doing enough to close down early the new media channels for people’s interactions.

More recently, Justin Bieber’s  true “beliebers” have terrorized the twittersphere with vituperative rants after they didn’t get their candy bar from the Grammys.  Or just now, Mick Jagger probably woke up to see himself killed online with the “RIP Mick Jagger” buzz which had obviously proved a big, ugly hoax. The Godfather of Rock is not about to sing into the pearly gates, at least not just yet.

But for every little horror story about social life, one could probably rattle off a hundred more examples where social media had actually made a positive difference. Whether it was getting people to become more aware of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest or making it possible to catch up with long lost friends after a High School reunion, social media and networks have been mainly a force for good. I even remember how a friend had posted once that it was actually a gift that has allowed her that “much-needed break from the mundane chores at work”, an oasis in a sea of minutiae.

It may surprise many to know that the phenomenon of  social media is not even a new thing. It may have already celebrated its 30th anniversary if you counted Mark Granovetter’s piece, “The Strength of Weak Ties” published in 1973. You can therefore say that social media is simply a reflection of the very human need to reach out to our environment;  for even as babies we all longed to touch and be touched. The internet, new media and web tools have only enabled this process to move light years faster and created touchpoints that are virtually limitless.  In fact, I expect pretty soon that social media will  find its way more seamlessly in people’s consciousness so that social life will then be known simply as,  just life. No more duality, only one endless thread.

So to answer the question if social media are a “possible necessity or a necessary possibility”, to echo Bertrand Russell. I’d simply re-tell this little story from my Zen teacher:

“Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: “The flag is moving.”

The other said: “The wind is moving.”

The Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng happened to be passing by and he told them: “Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving”.

Peace.

“The Transformative Power of Social Media”

11 Feb

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden tells it exactly, when he talked about ” the transformative power of social media” in an address to university students, about an hour after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down to give way to a new government.

It was about the pivotal role that facebook, twitter and all of social media played in helping spark and sustain the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. There are simply no words to express what great power, people speaking with one voice,  amplified through the internet , can achieve save perhaps to see these images and sounds from Tahrir Square.

Special Sauce #2: Share Your Passions

5 Feb

They tell us that the best way to keep the conversation running on Social Media, is to be… engaging. I’ve tried a variety of ways, including flaunting my erudition to telling corny jokes about my grandpa’s exploits. But the one that always seemed to work best however, is to plainly share my passions.

Its actually the easiest and the most fun. Just be yourself, and share something about your many, many passions I’m sure you have a lot unless you happen to live  alone in a rock, somewhere in the mid-Pacific. You would be truly surprised at the number of people who actually share your likes too. Whether its some new food discovery at a little restaurant or the extreme joys of tattoo art, someone out there loves them too. We all know this from past interactions, except that we find that Social Media indeed  has made the process light years faster, and more intuitively.

So go ahead post your love for 19th Century Trobriand Islands art  and be amazed to see how many of your friends do actually share the same passion for it. By the way, if you really love things Trobriand , kindly drop me a line at http://facebook.com/rvbello. Then perhaps, we can keep that conversation running. Peace.

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.

The Scent We Leave Behind

1 Feb

We always leave behind something with every interaction. In the days when face-to-face was the only way to go, we would give away inner thoughts and feelings with our body language, personality quirks with a stroke of the pen, and if we were to believe even our romantic intentions with something like a scent.

Going online may have limited some access to these “sense data”, but it’s not too far-off that we just simply overlay our learnings from let’s say Graphology to do predictive matchings, based on interest or temperament for social networks.  Communities of like-minded individuals through a mere signature? 1984 redux?

We are who we are. Online or offline. Peace.

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