Archive for social networking

i’m sorry, your audience isn’t here to play

If you’re reading this post, then you probably came here via Twitter. You’re on Twitter, I’m on Twitter, but who isn’t on Twitter – or who’s on Twitter, but not really here (meaning inactive). This (slightly snarky) thought process was sparked by reading, 80%+ Twitter accounts inactive, but core users more committed, courtesy of dirkthecow via Social Media Today.

3514087519_f9c5aa9a88_mWhat about me. Twitter can be a great communications tool. It’s been great for me personally and professionally. Caveat: knowing that everyone’s not using Twitter. Knowing who’s using a tool is equally as important as knowing who’s not. Don’t forget who isn’t here to contribute to the conversation – they may have something amazing to contribute, but are voiceless.

And it’s not just Twitter. There are plenty of platforms and tools where folks are missing. For instance, Facebook, yes, there are millions upon millions of users, but who’s missing. For example, me. I don’t have a Facebook account (…really, I don’t). I might have something valuable to say.

Aligning audience and means of communication. Are there voices being left out of the conversation that could add exponential value to your organization, goal or community? Twitter can be used in the execution of a portfolio of communication means to tap into a range of audiences, but that should only happen once audiences have been identified. Have you taken a moment to determine who your audience is – and where they are?

Who’s making the decision. What happens when you don’t take the time to identify where your audience plays, well, you miss an opportunity. Someone misses the message, the chance to be engaged or an invitation to participate (either physically or virtually). Case and point, my ten year high school reunion, the reunion invitation was only sent via Facebook. As I said earlier, I’m not on Facebook. Meaning, I found out about the reunion only after it took place. The point isn’t that I missed the reunion, it’s that I never got a chance to decide for myself if I wanted to attend or not. The means of communication decided for me.

Take the time, do the work. Don’t let voices go unheard or leave communities ignored just because you missed the mark. Take time to understand your audience and then communicate to them in the space where they play. Why should they come to you? If they are that important, then you should go to them. In time, that may reverse, but you have to reach out and cultivate the relationship first.

Tools are going to change, audiences will change too – and where they intersect is going to change. What shouldn’t change is critical thinking around how best to link the two.

Remember, 80% of Twitter accounts are inactive. That’s whole a lot of people not paying attention to those thoughtful, value-filled, community building tweets you’re spending hours crafting. Make sure your audience is where you’re focusing your attention, before you start trying to get the attention of an audience that may not even be there in the first place.

[Image: The empty playground #1 courtesy of soulholder, Flickr]

informational snacking via twitter, yum

“Tweeting is like snacking, but blogging is like sitting down to some much needed comfort food. So fulfilling.” This was originally a whim response to a simple question posed by Chris Brogan via Twitter -  but I realized that there is much more meaning to this statement that is worth exploring.

Twitter = is like information snacking

I can nosh on tidbits of information all day and night. It’s a great way for me to maximize my information intake in small doses through even the busiest of moments. The reciprocal is also snack worthy. I can share resources, thoughts and ideas throughout the day. Satisfying my need for continually knowledge consumption.

Blogging = is like sitting down to some good comfort food

Snacking is great, but there’s always a slight gnawing for more. No matter how much I tweet or read there’s always an insatiable craving. A craving and hunger that can only be satisfied by sitting down to an awesome blogging session.

As a blog reader and consumer of information – there comes great satisfaction with reading thoughtful, intelligent and original blog posts. It’s like reading Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre. It takes time, thought and focus – but the end is a stimulating satisfaction that stems far greater than the context of 140 characters.

It’s not a matter of one or the other, it’s a healthy balance both. Tease me with your tweets – but also open my eyes and mind to links that lead to well thought out meals that will keep me coming back for more!

Photo courtesy of matas.p via flickr

what social media means to me.

I was recently asked a series of questions by a friend and classmate:

  • What Web 2.0 applications do you use? Use the most?
  • What do you see as the benefits (personal, professional) of using Web 2.0?
  • What are the challenges. restrictions, downsides to Web 2.0?
  • Where do you think Web 2.0 is headed?
  • How would you recommend a business make use of Web 2.0?

The exercise of responding was cathartic. It was reminiscent of one of those “What the 4th of July Means to Me” essays that were so popular in fifth grade. Oh you know the ones – with complimentary drawing that used a haphazard mix of crayon colors [usually whatever hadn’t yet been snatched up] to depict stick figure families, hot dogs and fireworks.

The point being that everyone drew the same picture – they all wrote the same thing.

They created what was expected – what they thought they were supposed to draw. To me, it sounds all too familiar. Web 2.0 or social media [whichever is your preferred term] is being depicted in a similar fashion. By now, most folks are working diligently to create what looks like the same picture perfect social media strategy. Facebook fan pages, check, Twitter, check, digital video, check, …

Too much thought is going into what appears to represent a “good” social media strategy. It’s not coming back to the audience. Yes, I’ll be the first to tell you that you should not ignore social media, but it can’t be hastily implemented in a disconnected, tool centric fashion.

Get social. Get messy. Don’t give them what you think they want or expect from you. Listen. Wait. Participate. Then give them what they ask for – in innovative new ways. If there was ever an opportunity to color outside the lines this is it.

Heck, break out the finger paints!

Create your own way. Definitions, frameworks and rules aside. Remain mindful of the fundamentals, but be creative and innovative. Time is precious – for both the creator and the audience. It should be fun. As a creator you want to be challenged to provide value in new, unique ways. As part of the audience, we want our attention grabbed. We don’t want the same templated execution, but rather something that doesn’t fit the model – provide bright excitement and raw honesty.

What Social Media Means to Me – by Vanessa Rhinesmith
Please note: this is raw and unedited [grammatical savvy is out with this one]

What Web 2.0 applications do you use? Use the most?
Right now, Twitter, my blog [WordPress] and I’m a HUGE fan of Delicious [social bookmarking is far from dead for me]

What do you see as the benefits (personal, professional) of using Web 2.0?
This is a loaded question. It depends on the company and/or the person. Either way it can be a great way to connect and collaborate with others – remember it’s about collaboration.

What are the challenges. restrictions, downsides to Web 2.0?
The challenges and restrictions are human centric – not everyone wants to listen or participate in the conversation – nor do folks have the means. Remember that not everyone has a computer or access to the internet. The additional downside, is too much hype around Web 2.0 – people aren’t thinking it through they are too wrapped up in the buzz word…[I'll get off my soapbox now].

Where do you think Web 2.0 is headed?
It will become Web3.0, Web4.0…until it’s replaced with a new word. Seriously though, Web3.0 – it’s going mobile and don’t think that virtual is dead. It’s not, oh, and cloud computing.

How would you recommend a business make use of Web 2.0?
First ask, are they ready to LISTEN to their customers and/or employees. Secondly, are they ready to JOIN the conversation in a transparent and collaborative way? Can’t even bring in the tools if you don’t know the actions.

Box of crayons photo courtesy of turbojoe via flickr

setting digital boundaries and carving a space to breathe

Balance.

Pure and simple is something that I not only crave on daily basis, but strive to achieve. Am I always successful? Of course not. I work full-time, attend graduate school part-time, am a devoted wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I’m an advocate for digital literacy, a seeker of infinite information, a lover of art and music (oh, and let’s not forget food and wine). However, the day does not simply allow for mindful, intentional implementation of all of the above. It’s hard enough to squeeze it all into a month.

The internet, the web, social media, technology, new technology, web 2.0, whatever you call it, is the conduit for my true passion: communication, collaboration, access to information and an ability to share stories, experiences and knowledge on a global scale. That’s truly what I love about the internet.

I’m finding it all becoming way to intermixed – my personal, professional and academic lives, my purchasing behavior and my constant knowledge consumption. To some, this is the point and opportunity within the context of the web. I don’t want to be an opportunity. I want to present opportunities to others, be attentive to those around me, the missions I hold dear and the stories I wish to share – perhaps all in the altruistic hope of changing the world.

To do this, I’m setting boundaries – digital ones.

Facebook will be for my personal relationships of fairly direct connection. Twitter, that’s still to be determined. LinkedIn, is the place to continue to connect with me as is my blog. My blog was the space that first spoke to me and this is where I return. The increasing constraint of character restrictions is not me. Anyone who knows me knows this and knows the my thoughts are far too verbose.

The question that lies is my profession and career aspirations involve the web and it’s infinite platforms. Am I less knowledgeable of the web, social media or technology, because I’m no longer juggling 100+ social networks at a time. No, in fact, it’s just the opposite. Expect more from me, so much more, because that’s the point of establishing boundaries. There will be more of me, my true self, to go around. I’m carving out a space to breathe, think about it, when’s the last time to carved out space of your own to reassess, re-energize and to simply be.

thumbs up/thumbs down: reinforcing twitter relationships/commercial interruptions on pandora

Thumbs up: I’m loving the direct messages from Twitter! Recently, I have received a handful of direct messages from folks that I have started to follow (thank you). What a wonderful way to thank people for following you, further enforce the online relationship, and promote the other aspects of your virtual presence.

deborah909 Thanks for following me on Twitter! You’re also welcome to visit my blog: www.cyber-yenta.org

Thumbs down: Pandora commercials. Ugh! Could this be the end of Pandora? It will be interesting to observe since Pandora could be walking a fine line – and I’m eager to witness user response. In regards to my own threshhold, I can stand the one commercial every five or ten songs, but it definetly interfers with my listening enjoyment – and deviates from the whole reason why I use Pandora (i.e. uninterrupted, commercial-free music).