Tag Archives | Social media

Social media is neutral, but people are angry

I was talking to some folks today about social media, and got a question I didn’t feel like I answered well. It was along the lines of,

How is social media contributing to the downfall of civility in our society today?

My quick answer is: It’s not.

My longer answer is [hopefully better than I phrased it this afternoon]:

Social media is a tool. Period. Social media doesn’t contribute to anger or incivility any more than washing machines do. What social media has done in the past few years is reveal that many of us are angry. Social media has given many people an amplified voice — people who previously only could express their anger at the dinner table or around the water cooler at work.

In addition, the more extensive media saturation in our society [both old and new media] may provide information to people about things they used to not know about — thus allowing them to be angry about things that would have made them mad 30 years ago, had those things been publicly known.

This kind of question makes me nervous….it makes me think that people would like to regulate speech in some way. The First Amendment isn’t just protecting happy speech, or speech that we agree with. I would argue that it most emphatically protects angry and rude speech. Think about the context of our nation’s founding; revolutionaries who lose are just traitors. “We” won, so we wrote the history on the founding of America. And several rights in our Constitution reflect a perspective that values dissent as part of a healthy democracy.

At the very least, I think many people look at social media and reject it as the province of blowhards and reactionaries on both sides of the political aisle. But I look at the cacophony online and think, Thank God. Now we can have a dialogue, because all people now have a platform. The powers that be no longer dictate the entire agenda. We can all be heard.

It’s not pretty to see how angry many people are today….but I assure you, many of them were before. We just didn’t know it.

To me, social media provides such valuable insight into the minds of people who are very different from me. It’s not my job to change their minds; it’s my job to understand them. So I say, thank goodness for the angry people on social media. Thanks for speaking up. Let’s talk.

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I’ll tell you why you have to use social media…

…if you come hear me speak on Monday, June 14, at a fun networking event in Nashville that my old friend, Stephen Zralek, and my new friend, Renata Soto, have put together — WaterCooler.

WaterCooler targets young entrepreneurs in the Nashville area. It’s always an interesting crowd and I’ve learned something each time I’ve attended. I’m hoping I can contribute to the conversation.

Here’s the info they sent out — you are welcome to RSVP!

We want to invite you and your friends to our next WaterCooler, set for Monday, June 14, 2010, from 5:30 to 7pm at Miro District.

Come hear Laura Creekmore talk about “Using Social Media as a Young Entrepreneur.”  She is the owner of Creekmore Consulting, a company that provides content and community strategies that help you deepen your relationship with your customers and prospects. Laura Creekmore is an experienced, award-winning content strategist and online community manager. After more than a dozen years in digital media, Laura opened her own firm in January 2009. Her work focuses on helping clients achieve their business goals and engaging their customers in a collaborative relationship.

Do I HAVE to use social media?

(Laura answers: OK, yes, yes, you do.)

She will talk about how to get started even if you and your business are old-school. Social media has quit being a trend….now YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are just business tools we all need to use and understand. You wouldn’t say, “Oh, I don’t use that Microsoft Office stuff. It’s for kids,” and you can’t say that about social media anymore, either. Find out which tools are right for your business, and get tips on getting started, whether you’re just interested in learning about the latest news in your industry, or whether you’re ready to generate leads and clients via social media.

Come join us at Miro District on June 14. We’ll be in the upstairs room toward the back of the restaurant, to the right of the bar. For $18, each guest will get 2 free drinks and appetizers. Stick around for dinner and enjoy Miro District’s Monday night specials.

Please rsvp to Kristi at kseamon at bonelaw dot com, so that we can give Miro District an accurate headcount. Feel free to invite your friends, and let us know if we should add anyone else to the list or if you’d like to be taken off the list. See you then!

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Topics from Junior League of Nashville training, 4/29/2010

Today at lunch and again this evening, I’m speaking to members of the Junior League of Nashville about managing your online identity. Because the audience is going to be very diverse in age range and current technology adoption, most of our discussion is likely to be Q&A around the topics of online identity and privacy, and on the flip side, taking full advantage of social media for personal or business reasons.

We’re going to use these links as our jumping-off points. I’ll report back tomorrow on how it goes!

In case you weren’t scared already….

The Motrin Moms debacle

Oversharing and location awareness

Drunkengeorgetownstudents.com

Kevin Colvin, busted for his Halloween partying

Most of us have been guilty of sending angry emails.

Managing your online identity

Everything you want to know about online privacy

Managing your privacy on Facebook

Get started with Twitter

Share photos: Flickr and Picasa

Share videos: YouTube and Vimeo

Location services: Foursquare and Gowalla

Special cases
Job-hunting

Teaching your kids about media

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Two quick thoughts on social media and technology choices

I was scanning Twitter this a.m. to catch up on the world and I ran across a link to Mike Moran‘s interview with Paul Gillin about how corporations are using social media well, and how they’re using it poorly. The interview is a great, quick read that I highly recommend.

Two points stood out to me. The first is Gillin talking about how many marketers miss the “social” or personal aspect of social media:

I’m frequently surprised at how many marketers treat social media campaigns the same way they treated mass media campaigns. They dish out bland, homogenized messages meant to reach a large audience. That completely misses the point.

A few questions later, he’s definitely preaching to my choir when he talks about corporations choosing tools before strategies:

I would say starting with the tool is the most common mistake. Someone says “Let’s start a blog,” and so they figure out a way to start a blog regardless of whether a blog makes any strategic sense for them all.

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Figuring out the best social media platform

Chris Brogan has an interesting blog post where he wonders how to fix his Facebook dilemma: There’s a cap of 5,000 friends on Facebook, and he’s close to it. He’s wondering about the best way to stay in touch with both his friends and his fans, and considers how his Facebook fan page may help. It’s fairly well suited to staying in touch with a large group, but it’s not perfect.

In his post and in the comments, Brogan and others debate several social media platforms: Twitter, Ning, Facebook, more. Several people are frustrated with Facebook and its “limitations,” like the 5,000 friend limit, various “problems” with fan and group pages, the “extraneous” clutter [things like Facebook flair and Little Green Patch come to mind].

And while I agree that while these things are potentially troublesome for marketers, few of them are problematic for people. Not that I think Facebook [or any other social media platform] is perfect. But I think it matters what you use it for. Trying to keep in better touch with high school and college buddies, and keep up with local events? Facebook is what you need. Trying to manage a professional brand? You undoubtedly need Facebook plus several other tools — and Facebook likely isn’t even the first thing you need.

Are you using the best technology for your purposes? [That's the question I think Brogan is trying to answer.] Many of us spend a lot of time trying to make our preferred technology the be-all and end-all, instead of choosing the right tool at the right time.

Just like I roll my eyes at people who send me tabular content in a Word document instead of in a spreadsheet, I’m dismayed at the clumsy uses I see of many elegant social media platforms. Kudos to Brogan for trying to figure out the right answer.

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It's about your mindset, not your technology*

You know at year-end, everyone loves to compile their best-of lists. Even I sucuumbed with a New-Year’s type post a few days ago, despite my typical aversion to resolutions and best-of lists. As I’ve seen a number of these items in the past couple of weeks, several proclaiming Twitter as the app of the year, I’ve been struck repeatedly by the thought that the technology just doesn’t matter.

[Disclaimer: I love Twitter and think it has a lot of useful business applications, in addition to being fun.]

But it really doesn’t matter if your company is using Twitter, or Facebook, or any other so-called hot social media technology.

Your mindset matters. Kathy Sierra hit on this earlier today when she posted [on Twitter, of course] a short thought on how companies are using social media.

What co’s THINK they do w/[social media]: “We want to know what YOU feel.” What they ACTUALLY do: “We want to know what you feel about US.”

I’ll go further and say a lot of companies are actually saying, “We want you to feel THIS WAY about US.” And in some ways, that’s not all bad. At least they’re out there, trying new technology, new ways to communicate with their markets.

But I suspect many of the organizations leaping to use social media are still missing the forest for the trees. Yes, social media can make connections for you. It can broaden and deepen your exposure in your target market. But unless you’re using social media with the question, “What can I give?” topmost in your mindset, you aren’t likely to get as much in return.

For organizations, social media should be first and foremost another way to listen. Your audience will tell you what you can do for them. But it’s awfully hard to set aside your preconceived notions of what your market ought to want, and instead respond to what they are already telling you they need.

Before you choose your technology, be sure you pick out the right mindset.

* I can say with 100% certainty that there are wrong choices in technology, but I think you’re less likely to make them when you have the right mindset.

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