Government 2.0 Movement Seemingly Passes By Twitter, Inc.

A recent story, titled "Twitter to hire White House liaison to help policymakers 'tweet more effectively'" reported that Twitter, Inc. of California plans to hire its first employee outside headquarters – in Washington, DC.  Great idea, except that the position seems like something useful from one or two years ago.
 
From the Telegraph UK:

The company, which has yet to employ anyone outside of San Francisco, is looking for someone to be the “closest point of contact with a variety of important people and organisations looking to get the most out of Twitter on both strategic and highly tactical levels”, according to the job advert.

The ‘Government Liaison’ will be responsible for helping Twitter understand what it can do “to better serve candidates and policymakers across party and geographical lines”. They will also “support policymakers use of Twitter to help them communicate and interact with their constituents and the world” and help set the culture and approach of a “fledgling public policy department”.

Twitter, Inc. needs a dose of reality here. Besides people like me who were using Twitter and other tools in and near government two years ago and more, there are now countless consultants working inside the Beltway to develop and carry out plans for using the service in combination with other tools for diverse government missions ranging for public affairs to military recruiting to national security. And while savvy senior leaders may certainly meet with someone from Twitter, they certainly don't really need Twitter's help to figure out how to use it for diplomatic relations; sorry, the State Department is better at using new media in a holistic manner than any group I know.

This appears like a company out of touch, hopping on a bandwagon. Good luck with this initiative Twitter Inc., but in all honesty, one person in DC to "advise policymakers on tactical issues" is trivial, and the help is really not needed. (Ironically, the leaders of Twitter are not the best at tactically using Twitter to help their company communicate with stakeholders … I'd rather see someone like Guy Kawasaki advising government public affairs on creatively communicating.) On the policy side with regard to telecommunications or privacy or related issues, it is not obvious that Twitter is as big of a player as say, Facebook. I'm curious to see who gets this job and how they make the most of it, but if I were Twitter, I'd get a better feel for Washington DC and then rewrite and advertise this six months from now.
 
What Twitter Inc. line employees really need to do is show up and participate and get some ground truth. I recently attended the wonderful Gov 2.0 Expo (in… wait for it… DC) and Personal Democracy Forum (in Manhattan, not exactly a hardship assignment) events, where people from Twitter could have mixed and mingled and listened and learned. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think anyone from Twitter attended. They must have been busy writing an uninformed job description from a San Francisco ivory tower.
 
Twitter's chairman Jack Dorsey is perhaps the single employee most in touch with Washington, DC.  As I type this he's in town, at least partly for a political fundraiser last night that used his innovative new device, Square (side note: I think Square is revolutionary and totally underappreciated as yet), and he among other things has participated in some work with the State Department and spoke at the Government 2.0 Summit last September. If nothing else, his advice might be more valuable at headquarters than people think.

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (2)

Blog Comments Are Unnecessary For Influence

Four days ago I published a post for O'Reilly Radar called, What Does Government 2.0 Look Like? Well, it's not so much a blog post as an abbreviated white paper. I thought it was a really good post, and then I published it and received zero comments. Not one. And my posts on similar topics on the same well-trafficked site often get numerous comments, and sometimes even many.
 
So, I thought that perhaps this post didn't really indluence anybody.
 
But I was wrong. I was also co-hosting the giant Government 2.0 Expo in Washington DC this week, and because I was on stage most of the attendees knew who I was, walking around the halls. Quite a number of people stopped me to say that they saw my post and it really changed how they think, or some variation on that.  And meanwhile well over 100 people have shared the article on Twitter alone.
 
The article generated word of mouth, and was influencing people.  Perhaps too much – they didn't quite know what to say about it because it was somewhat outside the box.
 
Comments on blogs are one way to measure influence, or more generally readership. But they're certainly not the only way. You can generate a lot of comments by being a complete idiot and asking for feedback – lots of people will help you with that.  On the flip side you can write something brilliant but outside the mainstream and influence a lot of people who don't have immediate feedback because they need to gestate for a while.
 
So if you have a blog that rarely gets comments, don't forget that there are other metrics of audience, word of mouth, and influence.

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (5)

Are You Determined To Change?

Seth Godin wrote a blog today called, "You Can See The Determination In His Eyes," which I'm reprinting below without any permission whatsoever. (I think Seth would want me to share.)

["You can see the determination in his eyes."] That's the way a friend described someone she had just met. She was sure (just as I'm sure) that he's going places. Once the determination is in his eyes, the learning will take care of itself.

On the other hand, if I can see the fear in your eyes, then I'm not sure that learning alone will take care of the problem. No one can prove that the path you're on is risk free or guaranteed to work. Searching for more proof is futile. Searching for more determination makes more sense.

This really resonated with me, as someone who's not only doing my own thing at work, but also educating/training/inspiring colleagues to change some aspects of how they work. I think it's true that learning alone is not enough.  I keep getting asked to speak at company events, sit in on conference calls, and brainstorm with other teams.  But my teaching is not enough; people have to be determined to hear the message and act on it.  That's way harder.

Are you determined to change?

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments Off

Top 10 Ways How Not To Socially Engage Me

Here are the Top 10 general rules to follow if you want to socially engage me in a completely unimpressive way:
 
(1) Work for a company I’ve never heard of. Tell me impressive yet non-specific things about it.
(2) Make a lunch reservation at an expensive restaurant. Offer to pay.
(3) Be sure to have a vague agenda that I cannot prepare for.
(4) Email me repeatedly to make sure we’re still on for lunch.
(5) Don’t show up. Definitely don’t call the restaurant, because that’ll be the best way to get in touch with me.
(6) Show up at the restaurant 30 minutes late and wonder where I am. Claim that you didn’t know how to get in touch.
(7) Visit my office and ask the receptionist to meet with me later in the afternoon.
(8) Get rejected.
(9) Email me and apologize and tell me you “owe me one.”
(10) Never hear from me again.
True story.
 

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (2)

Governments and Citizens: You Don’t Own Your Tweets

Just finished video blogging about this for GovFresh.com but I felt this warrented a written blog too. Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post about plagarism and microblogging that no one really seemed to take seriously.  The point of it was that it wasn't really clear what "plagarism" means when content is one sentence, or 12 seconds, long. If I retweet you but change one word, am I lying? If I copy and paste a tweet of yours and pass it off as my own, is that stealing? No one really knows. And frankly, no one really cared much. Until now.
 
There's a bit of outrage about Tweet Nothings, a book where, essentially, the author scraped tweets and published them in a for-profit book. People aren't happy about it, and are giving it reviews of "1" and writing nasty rebuttals. But this is sort of like complaining to the king after he's chopped your head off – it doesn't do much good. And it's not even clear who's right or wrong, on some level. And this is what I wrote about in my O'Reilly Radar post above.
 
Well, it gets bigger. It was recently announced that Twitter was going to give it's entire archive of tweets – everything going back to 2006 – to the Library of Congress. For research. Now, there is a tremendous amount of research that can be done with this information. But I don't remember Twitter polling its users about this. I don't remember a discussion. I don't remember getting asked how this might affect me. And now it's all out there, from the first tweet on. Just so we're clear, for a long time people had been asking for archives of their own tweets and couldn't get them from a deaf-eared company, and now it turns out they have everything and the first thing they are going to do with it is give it to a third party so that yet other parties can data-mine it for their sociology Ph.D. dissertations. But if I write to the company and request a text file of all my tweets, I wonder what the answer would be?
 
You don't own your tweets. They do. But this goes still further.
 
Let's think about FourSquare, which is the "Twitter of 2010" that cannot be escaped, whether you use it or not. What if someone wanted to make a "mini-book" of the FourSquare habits of moderately famous people? I have a lot of moderately famous friends and acquaintances, what if I do four pages on each one, with photos of me with them, maps of where they go, what restaurants an hotels they like in New York and Las Vegas, and so forth. Maybe even predictions about places you might find them. Would that be okay? If it's not, and those people didn't like it, what are the ramifications?
 
Governments. They're adopting all these tools. We went from a phase where everyone's arm had to be twisted to take Twitter seriously to a phase where everyone is experimenting with it all over the place, sometimes with a reason and sometimes without one. One thing is for certain – they are providing gobs of free content to anyone who wants to suck it up, analyze it, graph it, mash it, publish it, and share it. When does the ethos of Web 2.0 come around to bite your agency in the ass? We will see an example of this – and probably multiple ones – before Obama's first term ends.
 
You don't own your tweets. What else don't you really own? Probably stuff on your Facebook fan page. What if I went to Vin Diesel's fan page (which is awesome, engaging, and incredibly popular) and took all the information, collated and edited it, and made an e-book called VIN: A Life Online, and took everyone's pictures with him, their notes of admiration and so forth and compiled a book? Who would stop me? Would anyone even know? I mean, you had a private photo with Vin, but then you publicized it on Facebook, tagged it up, and uploaded and shared. What are the ramifications?
 
My colleague danah boyd of Microsoft Research recently wrote an article about "privacy" vs. "publicity" and I think everyone who cares about the above should read it. One big point from it is that just because someone makes something public does not necessarily mean that they want it publicized. But who's really in control here? Is putting all my 35,000+ tweets in the Library of Congress forever publicizing my content. Kind of. What about publishing a book with (say) Merlin Mann's funny tweets in it? Certainly it is. What about my Vin e-book? Yes.
 
So, let's review. You don't own your tweets. It's not even clear who does. And it's not clear that Twitter cares if you know or not. And this is not just about Twitter – it extends to the ENTIRE Web 2.0 ecosystem. Do you own your Diggs? Who does? What can they do with them? Don't think for a second that you are in control. You are not. I could write a book today about what geeks dig. (Get it?) Who will stop me?
 
Use all these "free" social tools with caution, try to solve your business or non-profit or government or societal problems, but don't mistake the usefulness of an emerging platform with the notion that they care what you're doing with it. They have a different agenda, and it's not necessarily helping their "customers."

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (3)

My Thoughts on Geoff Livingston’s “Retirement” From Blogging

In a post today on his blog The Buzz Bin, blogger and PR/non-profit communications guru [and buddy] Geoff Livingston announced in a post called Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow that he would retire his contributions, and only guest post on occasion at Mashable.com and some other places, in line with his new passions.

I completely understand this. When I used to write journal articles for scientific audiences, you take ungodly amounts of time to write them to last for all eternity. The thought is that someone might go searching for your dusty journal article in a library 100 years later – better think about what you say VERY carefully. I liked that. Half of what we wrote was wrong anyway, but that's because we were pushing the limits of knowledge, not because we didn't have any knowledge to begin with.
 
Blogging has become, for most, exactly the opposite - writing in real-time for an audience that spans a week at most (more like a day or two). Three days later, who remembers a blog post? Hardly anyone for the average post. Even the quite above average post. There are simply too many above average posts and above average people writing in real time, and a tremendous amount of overlap. Let's face it, compared to the human genome project, pretty much anyone is qualified to write about the White House social media policy or how they feel about music or apps or potholes or anything else.
 
If the former is the "Cult of the Expert" and the latter is the "Cult of the Amateur," then where does that leave us? Neither is great. I don't think that everyone should try to think like an academic nor taking on their writing style thus, but I'm with Andrew Keen on this one – all this blogging is a total mindsuck beyond any reasonable proportion or logic. (I'm not even sure what that means, but who cares? This is just a blog.)
 
The primary research and cultivation problem with the blogging ecosystem that has evolved around this cult of the amateur is that rarely does someone go back and research the archives of a blog. And unlike academia, there are not good databases like ISI's Web of Science for uncovering historical blog posts, nor truly unbiased ratings systems that interface with such a database for how influential a blog or a post is.
 
So what happens to a blogger trying to achieve greatness is that they write something good once and then never talk about it again, and if a blogger is really ahead of the curve no one really sees them write about it (Geoff mentions his personal example of writing about FourSquare once, eight months ago) and so then when your audience catches up or new audience joins, they want you to write about "it" again. Guess what? Maybe I don't want to explain my thoughts on SXSW four times in one year – do some research in my archives.
 
What's the solution? Well, one can call it a day on the blog, or one can pull a "Gawker" and continuously crank out material on the topic of the day, linking everything together in a faux-journalism search for the almighty eyeball. That's fine but it's not for everyone and it's surely not for intellectuals. And very few people can be like (say) Clay Shirky or Clive Thompson and just have one great post every month or two that everyone pays attention to.
 
So, I don't blame Geoff Livingston for "retiring" from his Buzz Bin blog in the slightest. It's not great to have a blog and not be passionate about it. And when you're not running the blog to make money, who cares about numbers of eyeballs? It about the passion of the audience, however large. I imagine that Geoff will pour his passion into slightly different topics, and write for slightly different audiences, and ultimately this is what's best for everyone.
 
Some people in my audience might take a lesson from Geoff. Not every blog has to be like Gawker or Mashable or whatever, and just like your blog doesn't need to be updated eight times a day, neither does it have to last forever. Follow your heart.
 

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (1)

Pre-boarding: A Novel Use of FourSquare

Last week, Robert Scoble wrote a great post about "malleable social graphs" and more broadly about the many different possible uses of location-based services like FourSquare and Gowalla (and more broadly, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and other Web 2.0 sites taking advantage of geo-tagging).
 
This got me thinking about notions of "checking in" to a crime in progress – a brief update on what you've seen and when, possibly with a photo attached, and geo-tagged. Imagine how useful that would be if law enforcement officials were monitoring such things. (This is kind of what Microsoft Vine could be when it gets out of beta, but tha'ts another story altogether.)
 
You can use Web 2.0 tools any way you want – not just the way the majority of bloggers say you should. The old notion about how you shouldn't tweet about what you eat for lunch is ridiculous – I've taken up cooking lately and I talk about what I made and what I'm eating, and people LOVE it.
 
So, in that vein, I've been using FourSquare in some interesting ways. One thing I've been doing is what I call "pre-boarding," that is, checking into real places that definitely exist but are not open yet. I became the mayor of a new cafe opening in May today in my work neighborhood. It's legit – I walked by it. And it benefits the community – Now when it opens, it's already in the FourSquare system, and a social network has been jump-started. And it benefits the business – it's free advertising on social networks.
 
I've started doing this around Washington, DC when I'm walking around. If there's a new place clearly opening, I check into it and often will post on social networks. Why not?
 
What do you think – is pre-boarding cheating? Is it innovative? Is it useful?
 

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (4)

Social Media in Isolation is Useless to Government, to Business, and to You

Umair Haque, the Harvard academic, wrote a post called The Social Media Bubble that advanced the following hypothesis: "Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn't connecting us as much as we think it is. It's largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships."

This hypothesis is not very original, but it did generate a lot of chatter (including a government-oriented post by Gartner analyst Andrea DiMaio called Government 2.0 and the Social Media Bubble), thus making it worth commenting on.

Thin Relationships Are Not Unique to Social Media

The notion that weak, artificial connections are somehow unique to social media is incorrect. Everyone has them – on social networks, on email distribution lists, people in your IM list, and in real life – your grocery checkout person that you kind of know, the mail delivery person you say hi to once a month, the person who works on the 7th floor that you occasionally see at Starbucks.

Thus, this "point" has nothing to do with social media. And it's not even clear that it's a problem. Does it really concern you that you have a "thin relationship" with your mailman, or the flight attendant on your regular NYC to LA redeye flight? Hell, thin relationships can even be a good thing – I don't want to know more about my mailman! I don't see how having a bunch of thin relationships on Facebook, Twitter, or other networks is a bad thing; it's all about how you organize that information and human capital and what you do with it.

All Relationships Exist in the Real World on Some Level, Not "in" Social Media Worlds

Haque's post on The Social Media Bubble discusses "relationships formed on the Internet" and the level of trust they build, the number of things they replace, and the amount of value they generate. He seems to think, not much. But wait. The post seems to assume that these relationships generated online via social media are online-only relationships which never translate to real-world interactions. That's where I think the whole post becomes fairly irrelevant.

True, some relationships are online-only. And those tend to be less meaningful. (Duh.) And there are situations, as Andrea DiMaio hints at in Government 2.0 and the Social Media Bubble, where (for example) open government enthusiasts might crowdsource an issue with the government yet never meet in person. And maybe that's hard to do; maybe it's hard to add value through online-only relationships, these thin relationships.

But that's the whole point. Relationships generated through use of social media are not supposed to be online-only relationships. Unless I'm wrong and the singularity is nearer than we think, the users of social media are humans who exist in the land of the real. We breathe, we eat, we sleep. All our relationships should be real-life relationships.

Hybrid Social Media + Real-Life Relationships Generate Trust and Value

In my experience, relationships can be generated through social media, but strengthened through real-life encounters – a hybrid approach. That looks different to different people in different situations – Maybe it's a one-on-one coffee. Maybe it's a giant conference. Maybe it's a tweetup. Whatever the case, when a thin relationship generated through social media has the potential to be something greater than that, people tend to try to meet up offline.

I have met countless people through social media that I have then met in real life. And yes, I have many thin relationships. Some of those may never grow for a variety of reasons (again, point one, so what?). But some of them definitely have the potential to grow. I had a mountain of emails and DM's from people I only know from social media who wanted to know if I was at the recent South-by-Southwest event in Austin. I have standing invites to many cities. (There is only so much time, money, and energy.)

Three Classes of "Social Media Relationships"

So, I would argue that while there is such a thing as a "social media relationship," those relationships have three main classes: (1) thin relationships, (2) thin relationships with potential, (3) relationships reinforced by real-life interactions (however infrequent). This third class is where most of the value is generated – One can generate "leads" through social media, take some relationships to the next level, create meaningful real life interaction in some form, and then strengthen the real-life relationship through interim social media use. This positive feedback loop is critical; IRL reinforces social media, and vice versa.

[This is also why there is truly no such thing as a "social media campaign" - the campaign does not exist in social media fantasyland, but rather social media is used to facilitate people's behavior in real life. But that's a tangent. Geoff Livingston has an amausing take on this issue in his post about being a social media carpetbagger.]

Assume Real Life First, Not Social Media First, When Thinking About Relationships

I'll go one step further. I think that Haque is looking at the entire problem backwards because he (and countless others) start from the point of Assume: Social Media and work from there. (Of course, this means that Anticipate: Social Media Bubble Burst also applies.) But if one starts from the premise of Assume: IRL Relationships and thinks of how social media fits into the human relationships we have been generating since the dawn of man, one sees the issue differently.

In my view, the biggest human relationship problem of the near future – with relevance for government, marketing, and a variety of other industries and topics – is not that too many relationships are being generated through social media with questionable value. The really interesting problem is that (starting from a premise that relationships occur in real life) relationships you form with people in real life have a greater chance of failure if those people are not adept at social media.

Think about it this way. You form a relationship with two people at a happy hour about a topic you're passionate about. During the next week, Person A connects with you on Facebook and LinkedIn, sends you an email from Hotmail, Gmail, or another personal account, and you follow each other on Twitter. Person B only uses their work email account, and doesn't have a social media presence. Clearly, the relationship with Person A will be strengthened by positive social media reinforcement as described above. Person B is at risk of being in a thin relationship with you.

Future Challenges for Relationships – Online and Off

There are two challenges here. One involves a "digital divide for relationships" – How does one build equally strong relationships with people who don't use social media to strengthen them? Or, how do we not let them fall behind?

Two, how can governments, businesses, and other organizations leverage the fact that many people are increasingly like Person A, willing to be activated in real life and willing to strengthen that activation through social media?

I'm not sure anyone has a serious handle on either issue yet.

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments Off

Knowing Your Online Audience (AKA I Don’t Need Twitter Advice)

Yesterday, I got the following direct message from someone via Twitter:

          please please don't use foursquare to update twitter with your location! so annoying to your followers

I'm not going to say who it's from, because I like and respect the person who sent it to me. And clearly we follow each other on Twitter. But what they DM'd me above is 100% wrong.

Know your audience.

I have been experimenting with FourSquare, as I do with numerous technologies and websites, because to experiment with something is to know it. So I've been getting to know FourSquare lately – mining its database of information about people and places, checking in to locations in various ways, and so forth. And sometimes I blast my location out on Twitter.

Now, the person above doesn't like this. That's fine. But their mistake is assuming that all my followers feel the same way. I tweeted:

         Just got DM telling me my FourSquare updates on Twitter are annoying. Also annoying? GETTING ADVICE ABOUT HOW TO USE TWITTER

Now, maybe that's a little mean, but it makes the point (and it's funny… never underestimate the funny). Shortly after, I got a DM from a different person:

          for the record, I like the updates :)

Clearly, different people in my audience have different opinions about my content. That seems like a "no duh" kind of statement, but I think that many people, getting the first DM above, would change their behavior, thinking that they broke some social norm.

There are very few social norms, and even when there are, so what? Often, the most innovative people (like, say, Guy Kawasaki and his AllTop site and related social media accounts) are the wrongs who tweak or break such norms and do something against the conventional wisdom.

I am experimenting with FourSquare so that I understand it inside and out, just like I did with Posterous, Twitter, and other things. That's how I know I can/cannot apply it to challenges I face in my personal or business life. I read Mashable.com and other blogs, and the content is good, but just because 99% of people are using FourSquare in a certain way doesn't mean I have to.

Thus, when experimenting, your audience will see you do different things. As long as you're happy with what you're doing (and you are not outraging everyone who pays attention to you), you'll be fine. It'll blow over. Trust me.

So, know your audience and stay true to yourself. Sometimes when you're being creative and trying something new, people don't like what you're doing, or they might not understand it. But other people will love it. And still others, new audience members, will be drawn in.

Your audience can change a little over time, because you change a little over time. If you aren't changing, experimenting, probing the limits of behavior, you will never be innovative.

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (4)

No More, No Less: For Business Problems, Social Media Is What You Make Of It

Many times, when I hear someone talking about social media, they are merely reciting talking points.
 
Let me say that again, so that the next time you hear someone talking about social media, you hear it differently than you do now.
Many times, when I hear someone talking about social media, they are merely reciting talking points.
 
I am forced manytimes to listen to people talk about social media. And manytimes they are saying the same thing. Don't talk about eating a ham sandwich for lunch. Don't broadcast, be part of the conversation. Cliche after cliche. Bullet point after bullet point. Everyone's an expert – the same expert. And they are all selling the same product, which is the common wisdom.
 
The problem with this is that the people who truly succeed know all these cliches and have mastered the common wisdom and then they proceed to break one or more of these so-called "rules" in a fundamental way, dazzling their audience. (And then all the run of the mill "social media consultants" blog about it, and then try to copy it.)
 
Social media is what you make of it. No more, no less. It is not a cult. It is not a community. It is a set of tools that connect people and information. They do the same thing for everyone, no matter who you are and what your goals. They are no different than a phone, an email address, or an instant messaging handle. Not fundamentally.
 
Let's break down one of the most common cliches about a popular social media too, Twitter. Many people have said many times, "It's not about telling people what you had for lunch." The naysayers are wrong. They are so wrong that you should probably stop socializing with people who say this.
 
That's not because everyone wants to hear what you had for lunch, though. It's for at least two reasons.
 
One, some people are so good at storytelling that they could make an audience interested in their lunch for 10 minutes, live, unrehearsed. If you can't, you're a BAD storyteller. People will listen to good storytellers, and will not listen to average ones. And ultimately, media – any media, including the social kind – is about telling stories to an audience. Thus, lunch can be interesting. How you cook it, where you shop, who you're eating with, the ingredients, the time of day, the place you're eating, the special occasion, and any number of other aspects. If lunch is just "I'm eating a ham sandwich" to you, news flash – you're boring.
 
Two, lunch is a huge niche. As are breakfast, dinner, happy hour, and brunch. As is the food and beverage industry in general. Let me give you a personal example. I've recently started cooking more, and from time to time I broadcast what I'm making. This morning I made an omelet with almonds and honey (why not?), tweeted about it, and posted my recipe on my Facebook wall. Numerous people were interested, complimented me, made additional suggestions even. Rachel Ezrin from New York (who I don't really know), even paid me this compliment – I'm her go-to person for brunch info! How did that happen? I must be saying interesting things to my audience.
 
It goes further. Elon James has turned brunch, his hobby, into a business with his We Brunch Hard website. He has photos, text, community discussion, and t-shirts. He's turned a passion in to cash. He has a Twitter hashtag, a Facebook group, and a following. He has broken the rule about "not tweeting about your lunch" so hard that he's changed the game entirely. Some chefs and other people passionate about food may want to follow his lead.
 
True, you don't want to use social media to talk about what you eat all the time. But you don't want to use it to talk about anything all the time. If you do that, you're boring, and you're probably a failure at utilizing social media in a productive way, too. I talk about tech a lot. Elon talks about how he is not white. Everyone – every person, every consultant, and every brand – needs to change it up a bit. A pitcher who only throws fastballs gives up some home runs once people figure out his game.
 
The point is that most of the discussion around social media is so follow-the-leader, so trend-of-the-moment, so completely amateur, that it simply isn't worth listening to. I hate to break it to you, but only 10%, or maybe 5%, or maybe even 1% of people saying anything are saying anything both original and worth listening to. And besides the repetitiveness much of the rest of it is fanboy and fangirl salivation over the new geo-location feature of Twitter, the new Starbucks badge on FourSquare, and the new Digg overhaul. To them, social media is not a tool – it's a club that they're part of.
 
None of that matters to you, probably. You probably have a serious job and have serious problems to solve, or serious competition to destroy. Whatever the blogging heads are saying, you need to figure out if social media applies to you, and if so, the details of how. Don't pay attention to what people say it should be used for, pay attention to what YOU think it should be used for.
 
Experiment, brainstorm, act, succeed.
 
And remember – brunch is the most important meal of the day.
 

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Posted in Mark's BlogComments Off

  • Popular
  • Latest
  • Comments
  • Tags
  • Subscribe

Search this website

Post Archive