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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Shared Media v. Social Media: A variety of viewpoints

In Ideas, Insight on June 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

Regular Eyecube readers (both of you) will remember my post from last week asking if the term Shared Media wasn’t more accurate than Social Media. It generated some good conversation here and on Twitter, so I felt it was worth exploring further. I reached out to several people I highly respect and asked for their thoughts on the matter. The results were as insightful as they were varied. I wanted to collect them here and share them with you in hopes that we can continue the discussion.

First, DJ Francis from the OnlineMarketerBlog lays out a really well-reasoned argument before ultimately disagreeing with me, stating “All social media is shared, but not all shared media is social.” Bonus points to DJ for this passage:

In a past life, I was an apostle of structuralist literary theorist Roland Barthes and his Death of the Author essay. I concur with Barthes that “[t]o give a text [or content] an Author” and assign a single, corresponding interpretation to it “is to impose a limit on that text.”

Um, yeah, I was just discussing Barthes the other night while watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Right then, moving on…

Matt Hames, who writes a blog called People Like to Share will surely be on my side, right? Well, not exactly. He likes the term participation:

So instead of social media, or earned media, or interactive, or whatever title you want to put on this new world where people can share stuff, I say call it what it is: participation.

These day, things are obviously different, and we’re all working on a definition for that difference. But I think it’s simple: consumers can participate in an unprecedented way. They can review, comment, share, disparage, or celebrate a brand.

So marketers need to craft communications that encourage the participation that will work best. And here’s the best part: the place that has the least amount of silos has a head-start.

Patricia McDonald of BBH Labs (one of my new favorites) had some great thoughts on the subject:

I think Social Media is fundamentally about people. Social media doesn’t necessarily require content in any traditional sense, it requires a purpose for individuals to congregate around. That might be a piece of content to share but it’s just as likely to be a cause, a utility, a value exchange or a collaboration.

“Social media” is undoubtedly a seriously overused phrase right now-and when it’s used to describe any and all kinds of user generated content, it probably doesn’t fit any more. Is a blog really “social media” if it doesn’t empower the community to come together, act together and be more powerful and useful together than they are individually? My real bugbear though is that because its strongest association at the moment is with social networking, it’s hard for some businesses to understand the profundity of what’s really happening with things like social lending, social product development and do on.

I’m not a huge fan of semantic debate for the sake of it, but I do think there are some genuine nuances here that are worth exploring not purely for the intellectual satisfaction but because they come back to the fundamental question for all marketeers; what are we trying to achieve? What is the commercial imperative facing this brand, what is the role of digital in helping us solve it and what, therefore, do I need consumers to do differently? When we address those questions some of these distinctions do become important in practice not just in theory. So in some cases I may want to make my consumers my media channel and bring down the cost of paid for channels (earned media), in others I may want to build a utility my consumers return to again and again, driving frequency of interaction with the brand, in which case I may be in the business of social media. Nuance may actually become quite important in giving social or indeed shared media (which I do believe are different) a clear and demonstrable commercial effect. 

Read the rest of this entry »


Viral? Social? How about Shared?

In Ideas, Innovation on May 28, 2009 at 8:53 am

UPDATE: Some fantastic comments on this below, make sure you read those. Also, a related post today from Patricia McDonald of BBH Labs here.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be asked by Adam Broitman of A Media to participate in an article he wrote for iMedia Connection – Social Media: Whose job is it anyway? In addition to myself, industry heavyweights David Berkowitz, Shiv Singh, Michael Lazerow, Christine Perkett and Shel Holtz all contributed their thoughts on several thought provoking questions. It’s a way worthy read you should definitely check out.

After reading it, I got to thinking about one of the specific questions:

“In two years, will the term ‘social media’ still be relevant?”

My hunch is that the answer is “yes, it will,” but that doesn’t mean I think it is the most appropriate term. In fact, I think “Social” along with our dear friend “viral” both need to be rethought and/or scrapped.

Did you say Viral? Cough, cough, I’m feeling ill

Remember back in the day, you know, last year, when everybody wanted “Viral Videos” that would magically spread across the land, showering your with traffic, sales, etc.? Yeah, well then smart people like Mike Arauz, Faris Yakob and others shed the light on this concept and I’m not seeing the term “viral” used as much, at least not by Social Media marketing practitioners.  While I understand the original analogy, let’s be honest, who wants to engage in conversation or interact with a virus? Aren’t viruses things to be avoided? Come to think of it, that’s how I think of a lot of the “viral videos” out there now. Quite frankly, I don’t want to see another video of people dancing in a subway station; or kids lifting their eyebrows to the beat (see, I’m not even going to link to them, you know which ones I mean though).  I think the term “viral” has seen it’s time come and go.

Social Media? When was the last time you had a cup of coffee with a blog post?

Let me go back to the original article, in which Adam asked: What if the term “social media” is wrought with flaws from the onset?

 “In two years, will the term ‘social media’ still be relevant?” The alternative being that all media will inherently be social, and ultimately treated as such. The multiple choices were:

  1. Yes
  2. Yes, but I am not happy about it!
  3. No
  4. I sure hope not!

I was shocked by the response. All but one of the respondents answered “yes.” The outlier answered, “I sure hope not.”

It is my belief that the term “social media” will still be around in two years, but I hope the industry matures to a point where we realize that all media is inherently social, and that what was once deemed “social media” is now part of a larger trend in media — participation.

Let me reiterate: All media is social!

I’m not sure I agree with this, and here’s where I’m going to put forth my alternative term.

All media isn’t social, all media is shareable

I don’t think we can attribute a quality like ‘social’ to an inanimate object. To me, people are social (or not); videos, posts, photos, podcasts, etc. are simply content. Now, that content can generate social interactions between people – generate conversations, drive debate, challenge preconcieved notions – but the content itself is just that, content. If I write a blog post but never publish it, is it still ‘Social Media’?

I think the term Social Media still has relevance, when you add the word Platform at the end. A Social Media Platform (or Network) such as Twitter, Facebook or Flickr provides an opportunity for people to be social.

Shared Media – Now we’re talking

So what is good content? It’s shareable. In the PR industry they talk of earned media, as opposed to the paid media of the advertising industry (aside: Check out Greg Verdino’s take on earned media v. earned attention as well as Matt Hames’ piece on earned v. social). I think Shared Media fits nicely between earned and paid. Yes, your paid media can be shareable, but you have to earn the share by having quality content and by sharing it with the right people in the right way.

I think the term Shared Media also speaks more accurately to what is actually happening. When you pass along that great content you are sharing it. The content isn’t doing it (like in ‘Social Media’), the person is. It’s not inherent in the content (like the notion of ‘Viral Videos’), it’s based on how the content is utilized.

Let’s hear from Adam again from his Imedia article:

The word “media” itself involves two parties — a sender and a receiver. The word “social” is based on theories that involve the co-existence of people. If two people co-exist in an ecosystem and one does not respond to a message, there is still information that is sent back to the point of origin (the information being, “for one reason or another, I am not interested in your message”). Given the advanced nature of our information technology, the excuse, “I had no way of responding” does not hold water, leaving us in a state where the lack of a response is, in effect, a response.

Yes, but a lack of a response does take the ‘Social’ out of ‘Social Media.’ Shared Media allows for the possibility of one-way as well as two-way engagement.

I’d love to hear from the folks who participated in Adam’s article, as well as Adam himself, Mike and Faris too. And please share your thoughts here as well.

Is Social Media working for you, or are you working for Social Media?

In Ideas on May 11, 2009 at 9:15 am

Last Friday I attended the Blowing Up the Brand event at the NYU Journalism Institute. The keynote speaker was Rob Walker and, among the many interesting things he said, was this little gem: “Is Social Media working for you, or are you working for Social Media?” [or at least something pretty close to that].  I think it’s an interesting question and one worth thinking about and discussing.

Does constantly updating your Twitter/Facebook/blog/Flickr stream seem like a lot of effort sometimes? Are you really benefitting from it, or are you just adding to Facebook’s growing database? This particular issue has become even more acute for bloggers like myself who are part of the Ad Age Power 150. The recent addition of PostRank as a metric source means that every blog post that is published needs to then be supported by Delicious, Digg, Reddit,, Twit Army, Twitter and a couple of other content aggregator/content curator sites. Keep pushing that rock up the hill!

Pretty soon the exercise isn’t about creating quality content that has value for your readers, it’s about cranking out content, any content, and pushing it out as far and wide as you can.  It means adding ‘please retweet’ to the end of your tweet on your latest blog entry.  So, where does that leave someone like me? Conflicted.

In a perfect world I would write really insightful stuff like Mike Arauz or Rohit Bhargava just about every time and the rest would take care of itself. But I’m still pretty new to this and I still need to do a certain degree of self-promotion. And you know what? I’m ok with that. I’m ok with it because I genuinely believe that I do try to provide content of value to the best of my ability the majority of the time. But have I become a slave to the game in the process? When does that act of self-promotion start to take precedence over the actual creation of the content? How far is too far, how much too much? If you follow me on Twitter, do I self-promote too much? 

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject. Is Social Media working for you, or are you working for it? Do I self-promote too much? Is there such a thing?

Ford creates a Social Media Movement with Fiesta

In Ideas, Innovation on April 8, 2009 at 9:12 am
The Ford Fiesta, coming in 2010

The Ford Fiesta, coming in 2010

I’m not a “car guy” and I don’t follow the situation in Detroit super closely, but from a Social Media perspective at least, Ford seems to be doing things differently, taking risks and making a genuine effort to change the perception of the company by engaging consumers in new and innovative ways.

Yesterday they kicked off what they call Fiesta Movement. In a nutshell, they are giving a Ford Fiesta (which will be available in the U.S. sometime in 2010) to 100 people so they can test drive it for six months. Ford is even throwing in the insurance and gas I believe.  That’s a massive program with some serious logistics involved.  The kickoff yesterday in New York involved test drives on the streets of Manhattan and an early evening Tweetup at Nero.

Ford, to use a football term, was ‘flooding the zone’ on this one, with Scott Monty, Ford’s Social Media guy; Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy PR; and the gang from Undercurrent (Julia Roy, Bud Caddell with additional support from Mike Arauz) all pushing this thing forward. That a lot of horsepower.

(L-R) Rohit Bhargava and Scott Monty at the Ford Fiesta Tweetup

(L-R) Rohit Bhargava and Scott Monty at the Ford Fiesta Tweetup


The results? PSFK was very positive in their review of the Fiesta, and The Wall Street Journal gave the campaign a lengthy write-up. The chatter on Twitter was overwhelmingly positive from what I saw.

I’m intrigued to see how this goes, especially the content generated from the 100 ‘agents’ who have been given Fiestas. They’ll be posted videos to YouTube, using Flickr and blogs as well to tell their stories. 100 people for six months will generated a massive amount of content that will be (ideally) interesting to consumers, but should also yield incredibly valuable data for Ford.

As Social Media platforms are adopted by more and more consumers (and brands) it will be more difficult for marketers to stand out. Ford is wisely hedging their bets by producing a massive amount of content. I’m sure they realize that some percentage of the 100 won’t produce compelling content, but if four or five do, that could be enough.  If the program is ultimately successful, I think you’ll see more companies adopt this ‘saturation bombing’ technique, and some won’t do it as well as Ford/Ogilvy/Undercurrent.

March Marketing / Social Media Madness Preview #1

In Ideas on March 17, 2009 at 10:09 am

The field has been set, now it’s time for the previews. Today, we’ll do eight first round Thursday match ups. On Wednesday we’ll look at the other eight Thursday games, plus eight of the Friday games. Then on Thursday, we’ll preview the final eight Friday games.  Ready? Here we go:

#1 Malcolm Gladwell v. #16 David Mullen: Heck of a season for young Mullen, but his run to the tournament was, as Gladwell might say, an Outlier. Too much Gladwell in this one.

#2 Brian Solis v. #15 Jeff Pulver: Good matchup between two guys hanging out at SXSW right now. Pulver ‘owns’ VoIP, but I think this one is going to go to Solis.

#3 Aloha Arleen v. #14 Julia Roy: Julia, Mahalo for playing.

#4 Brian Clark v. #13 C.C. Chapman: I’d like to think Chapman has a chance here, but I think the title of his blog explains his like outcome.

#5 Guy Kawasaki v. #12 Shannon Paul: Two hockey lovers in this one – I think Guy comes out Alltop.

#6 Peter Kim v. #11 Rohit Bhargava: Will just Being Peter Kim be enough? Look out for an upset here, even if Rohit’s personality’s not included.

#7 Amanda Chapel v. #10 Faris Yakob: You never want to underestimate the Strumpettte, but Talent Imitates & Genius Steals this one in an upset.

#8 Pete Cashmore v. #9 David ArmanoWe predict Armano reaches Critical Mass and renders Cashmore Mashable.

So, we are predicting three upsets in these first eight games.  As a reminder, here’s how the games will be decided:

How will winners be chosen? Again, let me stress that this isn’t a scientifically accurate endeavor, it’s just a little fun. We all take what we do very seriously, but sometimes you just have to have a little fun. Losing a game here doesn’t mean you aren’t a pro, it means that in a completely meaningless little bit of Internet fun random selection didn’t go in your favor. Match results will be determined by a roll of the (10-sided) dice [Dungeons & Dragons flashback!] with a percentage weighting in favor of the higher ranked team. Here’s the breakdown in the first round (32 games total):

Number in parantheses is the percentage chance of winning:

  • 1 (73%) v 16 (27%)
  • 2 (70%) v 15 (30%)
  • 3 (67%) v 14 (33%)
  • 4 (64%) v 13 (36%)
  • 5 (61%) v 12 (39%)
  • 6 (58%) v 11 (42%)
  • 7 (55%) v 10 (45%)
  • 8 (52%) v 9 (48%)

Good luck to all the competitors.

Notes from Digiday: Social

In Ideas, Innovation, Insight on March 13, 2009 at 9:09 am

On Thursday I went to Digiday: Social, hosted by DM2:Events. Special shout out to Nick Friese for the invite. Lots of good people from the NYC Social Media world were in the house to here from a number of noted marketers, brand managers and researchers.  There were of course many things said worth sharing. Here’s a brief recap:

Scott Monty, Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company, was the keynote and his presenation was quite compelling. Among the insights he shared:

  • Before you jump into Social Media, have a strategy. Know why you are, or aren’t, blogging, tweeting, etc.
  • “Getting” Social Media doesn’t mean you understand the intracacies of Facebook or Technorati, it means understanding the importance of human relationships

Scott also shared a video of Seth Godin, who not surprisingly provided some great insight:

  • Networking isn’t amassing hundreds of Facebook friends or thousands of followers on Twitter. Networking is helping other people achieve their goals.

Reuben Stieger, CEO of Millions of Us, moderated a panel that included Monty, Robert Hayes of Showtime, Michael Lazerow of Buddy Media and Paul Beck of Ogilvy Worldwide. I can’t remember who said it now, but a couple of interesting comments:

  • Building buzz and then letting it die is worse than never building buzz in the first place
  • Social Media is CRM, Product Development, Customer Service, HR, Marketing…

It’s tough to figure out which department should own Social Media at a company because it can be so many different things, depending upon how you use it.

Richard Ullman of Ripple6 shared some thoughts on social media engagement:

  • Understand that people are people – treat them like humans, not numbers
  • Watch out for the creepiness factor – people still like their privacy
  • Engage people in their backyard – go to them, don’t make them come to you if you really want to know how they behave

Cynthia Francis from Reality Digital:

  • Like Scott Monty, she stressed the need for clarity before you begin. Make sure you have clearly defined goals
  • Then build a strong strategy that aligns with those goals
  • Also, be sure your measurement metrics align with the goals. Measuring page views doesn’t work if your goal is to change consumer perception
  • Think carefully about how you design online experiences. A sweepstakes will get a consumer to come to your site once. Create experiences that encourage repeat visits

Don Steele from MTV Networks offered the following:

  • Walled gardens are no longer viable, brands have to play in an open landscape
  • Sometimes it’s better to showcase the work of your consumers than your own
  • His four keys to engaging in Social Media
    • Organic
    • Smart
    • Engaging
    • Honest

The final portion of the day I was able to stay for focused on Measurement, always a hot issue in the world of Social Media. Stephanie Miller from Return Path moderated; along with Jon Gibs of Nielsen Online, Dr. Augustine Fou of the Marketing Science Consulting Group, Michael Burke from appsavvy, C. Francis from Reality Digital and T.S. Kelly of Quantcast. Highlights from the panel discussion included:

  • You can’t determine a program’s ROI without establishing your goals first – Gibs
  • The challenge is that the conversations are 1 t0 1; 1 to many; many to many – Kelly
  • The deeper the understanding of your goals, the better the ROI metric – Francis
  • Consider search volume as a ROI metric – Dr. Fou
  • A challenge in measuring Social Media is the fact that conversations continue and are archived past the length of the campaign – Dr. Fou
  • Efforts in more narrowly focused communities lead to better qualitative data.
    • My example: YouTube comments are filled with noise because it’s such a large community. But comments in a hardcore skateboard community are going to be much richer and more relevant (if you’re selling skateboards)
  • Website iInfluence can be measured by what consumers say after they have read an article on the site, not just by how many people read the article – Gibs
  • Should SocMed just be considered a sunk cost? – Miller
  • SocMed is not advertising – Dr. Fou
  • It should be called Social Marketing, not Social Media – Dr. Fou
  • Social Marketing returns come over time, they are not immediate – Kelly
  • When you stop thinking of Social Media as advertising, you realize you don’t have to spend a lot of money – Dr. Fou
  • Social Media is customer service, not marketing – Gibs
  • Focus on the audience, not on the media channel – Burke

 Overall, a really good afternoon of learning, I hope these notes did the event, and speakers, justice. 

Check out David Berkowitz’s site for more details from the Digiday event.

A Top 10 List of Top 10 Marketing-Related Lists I’d Be Very Interested In Seeing

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Everybody loves lists. Here’s several I’d be very interested in reading…

10. Top 10 Reasons I should wait outside your store at 4am on a cold Friday morning for your “Doorbuster” deals when we have this thing called the Internet.

9. Top 10 Reasons your brand doesn’t need to be engaged in social media.

8. Top 10 Reasons it’s cool to mindlessly follow/friend hundreds of people in the hopes they will follow/friend you back.

7. Top 10 Reasons I should give you my email address for that list of super secret social media strategies you’ve perfected.

6. Top 10 Reasons PR people don’t need to customize their pitches and should just bcc their press release to like 500 bloggers.

5. Top 10 Reasons I should instruct my PR agency to construct a fake blog, and then leave fake comments on it.

4. Top 10 Reasons I know my product better than my consumers.

3. Top 10 Reasons I should keep throwing the word “viral” around, as if I know what I’m talking about.

2. Top 10 Reasons I should keep talking about how important Twitter is to our customers, yet not have ever tried it out myself.

and the Number One list I’d be very interested in seeing…

1. Top 10 Reasons I should wait three or four days before responding to consumer complaints being voiced online, and then only respond via a press release issued via PR Newswire with no contact information.

Only as strong as the weakest link

In Insight on October 1, 2008 at 10:16 am

Todd Defren of SHIFT communications and the PR Squared blog highlights an important issue for all agencies: Have one or two ‘specialists’ isn’t enough if your entire agency is involved in a discipline – in this case Digital & Emerging Media PR.

I’m a big believer that in order to really understand social media you have to be engaged in it. That doesn’t mean that everyone at your agency should have a blog, but several probably should. And they should all have profiles with LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook or other social media sites. Have everyone on your team at least try Twitter for a couple of weeks as well.

Some team members will go through the motions and then let their online presence die. But others, upon being exposed to this world, will hang in there and continue to explore, eventually becoming experts in their own right.

Whether a team member only gets a cursory understanding or develops into a true ‘digital native,’ the benefits for the agency, and the clients, will be evident.

Brian Solis on the true meaning/purpose of social media

In Ideas on September 30, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Epic post by Brian Solis, a leader in our industry. Like Chris Brogan (see below) Brian advocates, and practices, a hands on approach to social media.

Social media, true social media, goes beyond the platforms and applications. It goes beyond a mere dialogue with consumers. It’s about living a core belief in the power of a shared “revelation that we the people have a voice and through the democratization of content and ideas, we can once again unite people around common passions, inspire movement, and ignite change.”

Now ask yourself: Am I truly commited to the above statement, or am I just trying to sell one more unit of product X?