Archive for September, 2008
When I was little I had a huge tin of Crayola Crayons that I would use almost everyday to draw houses or color in coloring books. Most of the crayons were made up of castoffs from the typical 8-, 24- or 48-pack and they were inherited, worn down or broken. The tin never included the desired 64-pack.
Every time I was drawing I found myself needing that one color that I didn’t have and was only in the 64-pack. Colors like raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, lavender, copper, and plum were out of reach and, to me, my drawings never quite seemed complete. (added 9/29: see I am still scarred, I combined the two best crayons there were!)
Fast forward to when I first kicked off my career in marketing. I relied on the tactics of the day: public relations, events, collateral, advertising and direct mail. Consider them the available tin crayons, which included basic colors like black, blue, brown, green, orange, and red.
Having only eight colors gets boring and redundant pretty fast.
Where am I going with this? Well, it occurred to me after attending great events like Social Media Camp NY, PodCamp and SearchCamp Philly, and most recently Small Business Marketing Unleashed that every interaction I have and every person I meet is like one more complimentary and unique crayon that I didn’t have in my tin. And it’s fresh and unbroken.
As I look forward to attending the Marketing Prof’s Digital Marketing Mixer next month, I realize that the coveted 64-pack is no longer out of reach and there is no better time to be a marketer and communicator than now. As marketers, communicators and social media leaders we have new crayons at our fingertips—daily—and we can get them from anywhere in the world—there are no broken crayons limiting us.
How about you? What crayons are you looking for?
Even More Goodness! Related Posts:
Recently, the New York Times ran an article called Brave New World of Digital Intimacy that dives into how relationships have changed now that interaction with others-and our lives- are shared on-line via applications like Facebook and Twitter.
According to the article, ‘social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does – body language, sighs, stray comments – out of the corner of your eye.’
A lot of updates are limited to 140 characters and applications like ping.fm make it easy to broadcast daily minutiae across multiple applications at the same time. There seems to be an assumption that broadcasting equates to participation in social media and its applications. It certainly makes it easier, right? Instant communicate to all networks with one push of the enter key.
But is communication with the network the same as conversing with the network? Connie Reece recently asked the question “are you conversationally tone-deaf?” and explained that one-way conversation (i.e. broadcasting) does not equate to a social media best practice.
Social media leaders, who understand the importance of conversation, leave different update statuses on different applications like Twitter, Plurk and Facebook. Why? Because they use the applications for the different purposes they serve. Perhaps Twitter for business, Plurk for friends and Facebook for the combination of the two. Time consuming? Yes. But importantly, they realize that their communities are different on each networking application and conversations on each will be different.
The article goes on to say that, “…this is the paradox of ambient awareness. Each little update-each individual bit of social information-is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting.”
But, that’s not entirely accurate. The portrait being seen is the one painted by the broadcaster. They control what is known about them. Without any meaningful conversation, whether on-line or in person, it is truly impossible to know that person. Basing relationships on what broadcasted messages they leave behind can lead to potential parasocial behavior. Conversation is an art. It takes practice and is time consuming. Having ambient awareness isn’t enough to develop a meaningful relationship. And as more people start using social media tools to broadcast and not converse, social media will become no more than traditional marketing utilizing on-line tools.
Ultimately as marketers it’s important to understand that broadcasting via social media tools will not help to engage customers, partners or employees anymore than newsletters and e-mail marketing do (i.e. one-way conversation). Ambient awareness does not truly provide the body language, sighs, stray comments that are only apparent during a real conversation. The only way to get to understand your customers, partners or employees and their wants, needs and goals/objectives is to have a traditional conversation. No tool or amount of broadcasting can replace that.
What’s your take on ambient awareness?
[NYT article hat tip: Alan Wolk]
Even More Goodness! Related Posts:
I recently posted about Blog Action Day (coming up next month) and how we, as bloggers, can help spread the word about world poverty. I also mentioned that I am a firm believer of helping those at home first. Now is that chance. I truly believe that through social media tools and how connected we all have become, we can make a difference.
Recently, Hurricane Ike has caused some serious damage to the Galveston and Houston areas of Texas and people are in need of food, water, clothing, etc. Some families have lost everything.
An excerpt from the site:
Kim Denney and her thirteen-year-old daughter Tera evacuated from Lumberton to stay at a motel in the small town of Giddings, Texas. They drove an hour west to Austin because they heard about the assistance the CAFB was offering people. Denney and her daughter were grateful to receive “substantial food” and “something other than Ramen noodles,” which is what the two have been eating the past few days.
Tera Denney choked up while expressing her appreciation. “We didn’t bring much food, clothing or anything like that. It is just a big thank you. My mom and I both started crying the other day because we couldn’t pay for anything. We didn’t have enough money. My nanny had to give us $200 today to pay for the next few days of the hotel room.”
If you believe that hunger is unacceptable in the Unted States, then please help spread the word. The “Help Us Strike Ike with $5K in 5 Days” campaign has been kicked off and the clock is running!
Please help Connie get the word out by utilizing the social media tools you use daily to communicate: Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed, or even e-mail to help the families devastated by Hurricane Ike! Every $5 donation will provide $20 worth of nutritious food. A $25 donation provides $100 worth of food…and so on.
Even More Goodness! Related Posts:
Back on July 16th I wrote The Twitter Monologue. It started out as a joke, but eventually became a post on my serious disenchantment with Twitter. I had only been using Twitter for about two months when I engaged in The Twitter Monologue…so it only seems fair that almost five months into using Twitter I provide an update.
I was wrong about Twitter. There I said it. And it’s not hard to admit.
Originally I stated that Twitter “offered minimal value to me either on a personal level or as a Marketer (except to pimp my blog).” Wow, I was REALLY wrong there!
So what happened?
First, there was one person who insisted that there was indeed conversation on Twitter and set out to prove it to me. We had our spats (in jest, of course!), we antagonized each other (Twitter vs. Plurk), and she shared her friends with me (albeit to gang up and wear their protest berets). But after all that, I consider a Lisa Dilg (@pprlisa) a friend and I am thankful to her for digging in her heels to prove a point and a valuable one at that!
Second, the other interesting thing was that a lot of the folks who I met on Plurk would make their way over to Twitter (usually due to some technical issue) where we would commence our conversations (although not threaded and hard to keep up with). Part of me wonders if folks not on Plurk enjoyed seeing the conversation and banter back on Twitter.
Third, I started following more (and different) people and just starting asking simple questions like ‘how are you?’ and ‘what are you working on?’ Sometimes a simple question is all it takes.
Fourth, I started sharing parts of my life. I still haven’t ventured into ‘diary’ mode, but I started sharing more of myself and tried having a bit of fun from time-to-time (okay, maybe a bit too much fun on occasion).
And finally, I got to meet a lot of people on Twitter face-to-face. It’s simply amazing to watch Twitter come to life!
What’s the lesson to be learned here for marketers and companies who want to utilize Twitter as part of their social media strategy?
- Listen (not just for a day or week, but for months)
- Respect the time it takes to acclimate (patience is a virtue!)
- Share before you take
- Engage & add value to the conversation
- Be human
- Be transparent
- Be honest
- Embrace the community (on- and off-line)
- Respect the influencers
That’s just my list. Can you offer any other lessons or best practices for utilizing Twitter?
Even More Goodness! Related Posts:
This is a great project to collect what is just the start of some best practices. And I say a start because some of us are still new to learning about social media and implementing social media marketing. That said there have been a lot of successes and that’s the best part of being involved in social media—we all learn from one another.
Here are just a few best practices that have been shared so far:
- Consistency (Mitch Joel)
- Embrace your Audience (Jason Falls)
- Listen and Add Value (Kipp Bodnar)
- Listen (Chris Brogan)
- Be Human (Kristie Wells)
- Reach out to others (Morriss Partee)
- Lift up others! (Drew McLellan)
- Honesty & Respect (Paisano)
The best practice that I would like to add is: Provide a Platform
Marketers are so accustomed to ‘talking at’ their customers instead of ‘talking with’ their customers. And typically when two-way conversation occurs, it happens infrequently at events, tradeshows, off-line forums, customer council meetings or during that once a year customer satisfaction survey.
Why wait for those limited occasions? Why not provide an on-line platform for your community that gives them a place to express themselves, interact and engage? (Remember the rule: two ears, one mouth).
Providing a platform could mean starting a blog or a new on-line community, but not necessarily. There are a lot of other great ways to provide a platform and you can always join one that exists.
Here are just a few:
- Ning (Social Networks)
- Second Life
- Interactive Webinars
I am sure there are more ways to provide a platform. What would you suggest?
Once you have selected the platform that works best for your community, be sure to follow the above best practices! In the meantime, Chris Brogan offers some great advice for getting involved in social networking.