21 posts categorized "The Web"

September 09, 2010

Carpet bombing the Social Web - aaarrrgh.

The downward spiral of hollow rhetoric.

It would appear that whilst we have this wonderful thing called social media and its misinterpreted age, the web and its aggregation, and narcicsm and ego that are just being discovered - carpet bombing seems to be all the rage!

B52carpetbombingjj4

 I was on a "social network" the other day, checking out a few posts when I came across a "guru/expert" dictating how to use the social web. His main point of teaching was the method in how to get as much out there as possible.  In other words, to become the "go to" person in their field of expertise.

Now on one hand I would say that, in theory, this is not such a bad idea. After all "traditional" marketing dictates that "carpet bombing" a central idea, notion, or service "should" keep the purveyor in the potential user’s mind - but that's in the world of traditional marketing and the web is far from traditional.

In fact, in respect of the web, it dictates an entirely different and radical approach in order to achieve any kind of traction.

What about content and the notion that respect for the reader should be of primary concern? It’s certainly no longer about how much you can cram in their minds.

Traditional marketing channels treated the "consumer" in a very patronising and dis-respectful manner. It is based on assumption and brainwashing, knowing full well that the consumer cannot do anything about it and has very little choice.

However, the web allows us, the consumer, to act in a different manner. We have control, not the purveyor of the stream/s.

We, the consumer/s, want relevant content and not to be "tricked" into thinking that automated or carpet bombing content will help us or even brain washing us into thinking that the purveyor of such content is the "go to" person.

Users on the social web are becoming a very discerning breed. We have learned that we have control over what we see, pay attention to and use. We want rich and relevant content - in fact I would go so far as to suggest that we demand rich and relevant content.

Carpet bombing me with unadulterated and unauthentic rubbish is not only annoying but fundamentally wrong. The web is a resource of rich content, or should be, and "gurus" that have just discovered "automation" should really take some time out and realise the nature of what they are doing - not only to the consumer but to the web and their own reputation.

Clearly there is a fine line between getting the balance right and getting it wrong, and an emphasis on "content farming" is a sure fire way of starting down the road of getting it wrong.

The social web has grown up and is demanding higher standards of content.  

Carpet booming in military terms does not work either!

August 10, 2010

Why do the English call it by what it does but the Americans call it by what it is?

We're talking about a phone.

In the U.K. we call the object that you carry with you everywhere, couldn't live without a "mobile phone" and yet in America they call it a "Cell".

On one hand it' referred to by what it does and on the other it's referred to by what it is! At this point we could go into a diatribe of the difference between the countries but that's not my intention. On the contrary my point is "ipad-ivity". I'll get to that in a minute.

File-Charles_Babbage_1860  

Arguably in 1822 Charles Babbage invented what today is regarded as a computer. Back then he called it a "difference engine" but its primary function was to calculate and take out "human error".

Since then Allan Turin and Tommy Flowers built "Colossus" (during WW2) and the rest is history via IBM, Microsoft, Apple etc - but to a point.

One thing is for sure, and this applies to all the "devices" above, the action of using such a device means this - you have to go and sit in front of it. As a rule, most of these devices are chained to a wall (so to speak) and to use one you have to stop what you are doing and go to it. It does not come to you.

You could argue that a laptop changes this, but in reality it is still a cumbersome device that on one hand is portable but on the other is really just a smaller version of the same computer that sits on your desk.

I'm not sure I have seen many people mountain-biking whilst carrying a laptop!

A Personal Computer, by it's very nature and title, is exactly that - a device that computes your personal data. It's yours - it's a hard drive (amongst other things) that holds your data. So in that respect it's still (by design and function) the same as Babbage's, and because it was a hard drive it didn't really need to change design and function (albeit it has got smarter and faster).

02101  

However, today we have the web and this has changed the way that we interact with "the machine".

Humans love to communicate. That's what makes us different, and since that advent of web 2.0 this "desire" has designed the way we consume and use technology.

Now we have "devices" that are merely "portals" to the web and that is why,I would argue, that the iPhone was the most important device to be invented this century. Not because it's from Apple but because of what it is and does.

No longer are we chained to a computer that sits in the corner or have to carry large bags around with us. We now have the freedom to "communicate" and "organise" our lives in a manner that is "free".

iPadivity.

It's a natural progression really. 20 years ago we stopped being chained to the wall when we wanted to make a phone call - the phone came with us.

Now we have the iPad or Android tablet (it does not matter which).   This means that not only can we communicate via voice or screen but we can read books and magazines, we can watch TV, listen to music and still do the "mundane" tasks that kept us "chained to a desk" whilst we used a traditional computer.

Suddenly we don't need to "go to" the TV, Phone, Computer, Newspaper stand, Magazine stand, Music store, Bank, Shop's, etc.  Instead they all come with us - and I can take them all with me whilst on my mountainbike.

This is a fundamental shift in the way we consume. It is changing the method of society and making it smarter.

This is iPadivity. 

Whether we call it a Cell or a Mobile is now irrelevant - what it truly is, is Mobile by function and that will transgress countries.

Star Trek was ahead of its time: we have a communicator!  

Digital-digital-kirk-communicator

July 28, 2010

Can anything "pre-meditated" truly be called social?

Or is it an oxymoron?

Social media - the art of sharing. This is nothing new, arguably social media has been with us for tens of thousands of years. The media might have changed but the reason stands.

The difference today, primarily, is the web.

My point is this:  Social media from an individual is, by default, sharing and, therefore, justifiably comes under the correct heading "social media". It is done with intent to share and make someone else's life richer in knowledge. The individual who "receives" this information will do with it what they want.

They may be influenced in a purchase, or in thought, etc but point of fact,  they have had their lives enriched by content.

But the action remains the same, sharing without intent other than.

Intent

 However, can this be the same if you are a business/ Question: If it's pre-meditated can it be called social media?

I don't think so. I think companies can use the social web (and there is nothing wrong with this) but if there is pre-meditated intent behind it then it can't be called social media as what they're doing is not sharing unconditionally.  They ultimately have a commercial agenda.  Again, nothing wrong in that.

If this reason is to get business, gain mindshare, gather PR, gather live R&D then, by default, what they are doing is "piping the social web" - not engaging in social media.

Now if we can separate the two methods then we have two methods. Moreover, these two methods dictate a completely different process that we must bring to bear, whether that might be as an individual or as a company that has intent.

This would make life easier as we can "pigeon-hole" method.

To conclude: Social media is an action that is the sole domain of an individual for the practise of "unconditional" sharing - there are no rules here as it's 1. social and 2. personal.

Piping the social web is an action that a company participates in with the ultimate intent to pipe consumers to a "call to action" - there are rules here for successful action. 1. relevant volume (otherwise no one will find you - in which case why bother?) 2. A full understanding of the companies entire web strategy from top to bottom (starting a "pipe" on the social web means there can be no "blockage" due to a part of the companies web that has been overlooked.)

Social media is a convenient term.  It has achieved what it needed. Now we must "break down" the nuances of the action.

For companies to interact on the social web without this "break down" and understanding,  they may cause themselves and their brand more harm in the long term.

N

July 27, 2010

Marketers beware - 74% of consumers are being influenced by the social web.

This is not really new information, but it does consolidate the method of the web.

The firm Gartner have just released figures that suggest one fifth of the population are influencing over 74% of consumers!

These "influencers" only succeed due to a particular method.  Why?  Because they don't use the web as a channel.

They have nothing to gain from "influencing" and, therefore, apply a different method other that one who does. This, in turn, dictates method and that method can only be relevant delivery of information coupled with delivery that is social in nature i.e sharing.

Tui_thinking_under_the_influence_hat-p148456379744090674uh2y_400
 

This does not mean that those with "product/service" cannot utilise the web, only that they must utilise it in a different method than has been used traditionally.  This would appear to be "alien" to a lot of companies as it goes against "business" method.

But "business method" only works when you can "map" intent to purchase.  This is easy off-line as consumers can be easily "mapped" by looking at a "high street" - i.e those that are walking up a high street are more than likely there with the intent to buy (otherwise why would they be there?).

But there is no High Street on the web other that shopping portals such as Amazon (which is more semantic than social).

Until that point of purchase consumers are being influenced by those that have a passion for a particular product and report on it, which in turn influences the 74% that are in question.

This is not wholly new information.  Word of mouth has always been the preferred method of recommendation as it involves trusting the person who has made the endorsement. However, the web delivers constant relevance, therefore, dictating it to be more important than traditional methods/channels.  As such, a business approach has to be less about selling and more about adopting a sharing attitude and creating customer experiences that will, in turn, influence buying decisions indirectly.

Question: Are you one of the 1/5 of the population that are considered influential enough to get through to the 74% of consumers that want to know about your product?

If not, then your web method needs adjusting.  The social web can be mapped and can be influenced, and is not the whole domain of social media.

N

July 09, 2010

What is a business card now we have Google?

A physical token of us having met.

That's what a business card is now - isn't it?

138648-cards_original
 

Things aren't the way they used to be, but they're still there - they just have a different meaning.

Take the humble business card.  Really what does it represent? You? Maybe it does, but in the world of the web if I want to find you, I mean really want to find you, I can and I will and with better detail by Googling your name.

Business cards are just one thing.

The Times (newspapers in general), is/are that/they another? I mean before the internet or the web newspapers were the norm for getting a message across. Anything from marketing to general information. In other words the newspapers contained the "call to action" - they were the final point before "interaction". If you had something to sell you put an advert in the newspaper which prompted the user to pick up the phone or visit the shop.

However, with the advent of the web, newspapers are now secondary to the final "call to action". The power of the web is changing the nature of the way we act, react, interact and it would seem that what we took for granted before the web is now playing a secondary role or has an alternate meaning.

Question therefore: What else is playing a secondary role/having an alternate meaning?

Marketing? Piping intent?

N

July 01, 2010

We've reached saturation point - content is not king.

Bearing in mind that we're only just inside the "mainstream" section of the bell curve (when it comes to Social media).

Question: Is content King?

A certain amount of content is needed, and good content to, but, based on the fact that  content does not stay original for long the argument that "content is king" will not sustain a good "followship" comes into question. The omnipresent nature of the web dictates choice, and with that it may not sustain people "coming back for more".

So we're aware that SM is not going away and we know that social intent can be mapped, we're also aware that it's only going to get "busier" as and when new tech is released - arguably led by iPhone and iPad.

Ubiquity is getting lost!

Ducttape  

Question: Bearing all this in mind how do we retain a "fellowship" (given that the user does not need to stay on our site/s)? How do we get "stickiness"?

I would argue that the answer is already here and has been for a while, just not on the web in it's entirety. 

User experience, however, may work.

Madonna  

If we look at Madonna. She is now not signed to a record label but to a promoter.

Her business model has changed. Instead of trying to fight a battle in an arena that is ubiquitous by nature, she has  taken control of her content by delivering a better consumer experience. Concerts.

So she has good content, her stuff is everywhere, BUT she controls the experience.

This can be achieved on the web by any company.

Mapping social intent, delivering good content BUT overall delivering a great user experience will retain a "fellowship". 

The web is delivering fantastic app's that make the web fun, not only fun but relevant and it will become overwhelming for the consumer - therefore, user experience will be key.

What do you think?
N

June 23, 2010

Social Media will not work on it's own.

... quickly enough. Yes, it will raise profile and yes it is needed. Yes it is good for PR and R&D.  Yes your writing will be found by journalists and yes, you will be perceived as a thought leader (but only if the correct method is instigated at commencement).

By its very nature SM is broadcasting i.e. one way dialogue. I'm aware that it might lead to conversation which is the idea, but on it's own it's still just broadcasting.

More importantly if you were a business, how would you go about organising what is, by definition, conversation? Obviously,  you can bring to bear all the SM tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc but how are you going to get you next Client to engage? How long will it take? How many resources will it take?

How do you calculate the ROI on SM? It is conversation so, in essence, calculating the ROI on SM is tantamount to calculating the ROI on "talking"!

Don't get me wrong, SM has its place and it does work for all the right reasons, BUT, on it's own I'm convinced it's not enough.

We can listen to the web. There are some very clever algorithms that will allow you to "group" conversation, thus giving you the ability to "jump in" to the appropriate conversation. However, again, this will take up resources, time and cash.

I think there is a bigger picture. And this picture is the web in its entirety.

The web is there to help us all organise ourselves, it's one gigantic and constantly up-dating Filo-fax. YouTube for video, Twitter for conversation, LinkedIn for business associates, Flickr for pictures, Amazon for buying - you get the idea.

So if the web is there to help us all organise ourselves then, by default, we can see intent.

Intentions 500  

And intent, in my humble opinion, is a method that can be piped without the cost of continual resources.

What is the intent when people use specific sites? If we can answer this, then we can see method and when we can see that, we can pipe it.

Every company and/or individual will use the web for a specific purpose, this purpose is individual as each of us. Therefore, SM on it's own will not work - quickly enough.

Conclusion: In the not so distant past, Marketers had a clear signal of our intent - when we go "out to the shops" we wanted to buy something, and we did not mind so much being sold to. However, when we go down the Pub our signal changed to "I'm not wanting to be sold to" I want to be social. And the latter describes the social web - we don't want to be sold to unless I'm giving the signal OR allowing you to "pipe me" to a call to action.

These signals are all over the web, and these signals are, largely, being ignored by continually focussing on SM as a sole answer.

What I am focussing on is how to interpret this intent and then direct it to a call to action.  What I am focussing on is how to "pipe" social intent.  What I am focussing on is what I believe is the next stage of social media interaction. 

What do you think?

N

June 09, 2010

Social media is crap.

Apparently!

But is it?

One thing is for sure, it would seem that there is a lot of debate on the web and it would also appear that the term "Marketing" and "Social Media" are being used in the same sentence.

Question: Should they?

I would argue that if they are, then it is crap. I can say this because most of the "marketeers" that I know would wish that it did or still see it as an opportunity to do so.

I'm not a marketeer, never have been, but from what I can see Marketing stands for this: See a "channel" (an opportunity to be exposed to great numbers of people), go with a budget and create a "campaign", then calculate the "ROI", take the profit and do it again.

There is nothing wrong with this.

But what is wrong is trying to use this method in a social environment. Surely.

Yesterday it was announced that social networks have overtaken search engines in the UK!  Marketing using an indexing site such as Google will deliver a quantifiable ROI, we know this to be true. 

UK+social+networks+and+search+engines-300x241
 
Most+popular+websites+-+social+networking 

Pics courtesy of TechCrunch Europe 
 

But this form of marketing is no different than having a shop on the High street - fuelled by intent, and this word "intent" is important. We go shopping with the intent to buy something, but we don't go to a social activity with the same intent. Social activities, by default, can influence the intent, but the subtleties of this are a far reach of what traditional marketing will bring to "intent".

Robin Goad from Hitwise says this: “although social networks and search engines perform different functions, they both act as gateways to the wider Internet. This data perfectly illustrates the key role that social media now plays in so much online behavior.”

So it would appear that "Marketing" is a method of captivating intent. Good. But it only works when there is intent.

The intent in a social activity is exactly that - social.

So it would appear that SM is a force that, without a doubt and bias, needs to be reckoned with - but the subtleties of method and use need to be dealt with as well.

And these subtleties mean that "Marketing" (in the traditional sense) to the social streams is crap, because you will find it very hard to calculate an ROI. It's costly and, moreover, in the long term could spell disaster as what ever you put up there today stays there in perpetuity and being perceived as a spammer will only damage your brand and mind-share.

Marketing to a social stream will "pigeon hole" the perpetrator as being "stuck on broadcast mode" and what is social about that?

Social media is not crap - marketing to it is.

N

May 21, 2010

The omnipresent nature of the web and its pace dictates listening is as important as talking.

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Photo courtesy of dharmasphere



Arguably more so.


How rude it would be to walk into a party of people and just broadcast and talk about yourself all the time?   I'm not sure there are many people on the planet that would accept that scenario!  You will certainly not make any friends at that party, and people will leave thinking you a real bore.



Question: Is this how we should act on the web?


I don't think so. I know people will, and the nature of the web is that it will go on, but the "who can shout the loudest" form of "marketing/conversation" will be in the minority - don't you think?  It will not gain traction nor inspire advocacy – one of the major benefits of leveraging a networked economy.



The nature of the web would appear to be heading towards the term "social" and I have no doubts that this term will be re-invented countless times in the near future, but don't you think that the fundamental usage of the web dictates that it is social in the truest form?


Therefore, why would you "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" to anything that a): is a robot and b): never listens to you or engages with you?


If we track forward 5 years with the web (I have only vague vision thereof) but one thing is for sure our ability to "choose" who we "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" will be - well choosey.  We already realize that we have a choice as to what messages we are exposed to and the deluge of information on the social web is only going to make us more picky about who we subscribe to.  As consumers, our attention has to be earned by valuable content, not “bought”.  Broadcasting does not work on the social web.  It does not translate. 



The nature of the web and it's method of communication/s means that whatever we put on the web stays there in perpetuity, therefore, we have ubiquity. Meaning that all this information can be grouped, and you as a potential "follower" have the ability to choose who you want to follow based on a measurement of what someone or something puts out.


Now at that point we all have a choice do we follow a "data flow/life-stream" from someone who only shouts about themselves or their products? Or do we follow the "data flow/life-stream" from someone who makes you aware they have a product but who mostly shares an insight into his/hers industry, engages in conversation, links you to good content/people etc?


Who would you follow?


I don't think it's that far-fetched to think that the former will achieve less traction that the latter.

Question:
Is the social web a folly?

Folly
Photo courtesy of jinglebell


I don't think so.


I would argue that it is a basic human instinct to group, follow, be social, converse, share, chat, learn, and help.   The fact is that the web and its facilities allow us to aggregate and organise all that information.   On that basis, "ducks to water" would appear to be an apt phrase!


And given that most technologies are being designed to facilitate that desire and don't appear to be stopping, I would humbly conclude that it's not folly.


Conclusion:

Given that the web appears to be here to stay and that we are enjoying it (being able to find, sort, follow, help, share, and change), it's now not folly.  I would argue that it is telling us how to use it. i.e. listen as well as talk.

N

May 18, 2010

Blogging: What's it all about then?

It is my humble opinion that blogging is the cornerstone of a nutritious social web diet.  It is the backbone of everything you do and that you are on-line.   My reason for saying this is such:  Only 14% of people trust advertising whereas 78% of people trust community, peer, or friend review.  These reviews and recommendations are coming from, among other places, the humble blog.

Question:  Are you being found, talked about, and shared into other people's networks?  Because that is where the real magic of the social web happens!

Below is my guide to best practice.

1. How to guides.

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photo courtesy of jempp.com


Think about the web and how we use it (consumers). We put a search term in Google and "bang" up come thousands of results!  Which ones do we rely on though? How do we disseminate between all the results?  Which ones do we trust?  What would you do as a consumer?

Bear this in mind as a supplier of the information. How are you going to get consumers to trust you?

You will get found, that is for  sure, but with all the thousands of unique posts out there - Question: Are you producing the goods?

Answer: Give yourself the maximum opportunity by cultivating your posts to include - great visuals, reliable content, simple steps, working examples, downloadable content. Moreover, become the "go to" person within your industry and you'll get more reaction on your blog.

2. Problems.

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Photo courtesy of Zazzle.com 


Lots of people write about problems, we're all good at that. But a structured approach to solving the problem without causing another one could be in the minority and as such becomes valuable.

Can you see problems within your industry? If so what solutions can you bring to bear? Remember the subject does not have to be related as long as it's relative.

3. Feedback.

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Photo courtesy of reach.gov 


Ask for it - no really, ask for it.

Get as much feedback as you can, engage in debate. You'll find that people will engage  when they have a different angle on the same subject and that's good!   This gives you the ability to "stretch yourself" and engage in an intellectual debate.

4. Give stuff away.

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Photo courtesy of boingpoumtchak.com 


Why not? It does not mean that you have to give all away, just the stuff that helps the consumer, stuff that makes their day better. Doing this gets them to talk about you and your blog, they will direct more people to your blog and some of them will engage with you.

The web is there to help people organise themselves and if you are part of this help, it will work wonders for you.

5. Review/s.

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Photo courtesy of zwcadclub.com


Tell people about what you read, what phone your prefer, let them know about your experience with consumer goods that you have consumed - good and bad. Remember people are looking for this information and they will find you.

The social web is about people, it's about conversation - let people engage with you.

6. Latest stories.

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Photo courtesy of boorama.files.wordpress.com 


Have an opinion.

You have to be fast with this, keeping up to date with world opinion will get you found and fast. Remember that there are "Real Time" feeds that can catapult you into the limelight of "groundswell" - meaning the ability to create content that swarms of people will aggregate for you.

7. Lessons from life.

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Photo courtesy of grief.com


Stuff happens that will all can learn from, and an excercise in humility can go along way.

Life lessons appeal to all. With respect we all can be accused of voyeurism, it guides us through what is happening in our own lives.

Sharing these experiences can go along way, you will make more "friends" and allies. In turn these people will help you aggregate your blog.

8. Comparables.

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Photo courtesy of csmanagement.files.wordpress.com 


With the multitude of content out there, improvement and change is always easy to see and report on. Within your industry change is inevitable and favorable - Question: Can you see it?

If so then write about it as some other people will miss it, and they need to know.  This helps you be perceived as a "thought leader".

9. Share.

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Photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk 


Share what other people do.

Your blog can be stimulated by sharing other views, events, writing etc - never plagerise -  just report.

Example: If you attend many events, then why not write about them? Sometimes this does not take the form of "writing" i.e a blog post. It could be in the form of pictures or video.

10. Use the platforms.

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Photo courtesy of communitywealth.com 


Blogging. Let's understand it.

It's means getting you "stuff" onto the web.  This does not mean that it has to take the form of words, it can also mean picture and/or video as well as audio.

There are many different sites and methods of using theses sites most of them are free and remember not all consumers consume from the same bowl!

We all need to accept the info in different formats.

Conclusion:

Blogging should not be a chore, it also should not solely take the format of words. The real treasure in blogging and the real value that blogging can bring is to look at it from the point of view of the consumer. By understanding this it will give you  direction as a producer.

One thing we can guarantee is that people are looking for "stuff" on the web. We know there are over 62 billion searches per month on Google alone that 10 years ago did not exist! Having a computer in your pocket (aka iPhone/Android) will only add to these searches.

Becoming an industry leader within your field means being relevant and being found - and you can't be found without being published. This does not mean published in the traditional format of a book (although this will help) but published in the realms of find-ability on the web.

The web is changing all we do and are as a society.  It is changing the fundamental structure of society.   Trust is the key and the currency of the social web so you can only get trust by engaging with the web - Share yourself with people, let people see who you really are, let them know your opinion, let them know why and how, let them get under your skin - above all, let them trust you.

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