This post veers off of a bit with rambling thoughts on Social Media (SoMe) and its use in today’s marketplace from my pure observational perspective.
If you use any Web 2.0 tool or service that is user-generated then you know there is a lot of energy around SoMe lately. SoMe has been around for a few years now, but just recently has it taken hold in the marketplace as a viable collection of communication and marketing avenues.
In the big scheme of things there are still a couple things missing: how and when to use SoMe, and the policies that surround its usage.
One focus in my day job is how to implement SoMe as a training tool in the workplace – the how and when. In of itself is overwhelming, but it is interesting to see all the usages in News, Marketing, Entertainment, Human Resources, Risk Management, Personal Branding, and of course Personal and Professional connections. Policies on its usage shouldn’t be too hard as it follows the same phenomenon when email first entered the workplace. It’s the “how” and “when” that seems most challenging.
I participate (as often as I can) in a weekly chat session (TweetChat) on Thursday nights at 7:30 PM CST via the Twitter hashtag, #lrnchat. Last week’s discussion was how to use SoMe for customer or employee feedback. Needless to say with varying degrees of opinions during that chat, it was enlightening to share thoughts with others in the same industry faced with the same challenges. That in itself is powerful to be able to collaborate with colleagues on a topic that a year or so ago would not have happened unless we all converged at a conference somewhere. Even then it would have only been an hour long facilitated discussion.
Paul Greenberg has a great article just published on his blog, PGreenblog and on ZDNET titled, “Time to Put a Stake in the Ground on Social CRM.” His article is more about CRM (customer relations management) than employee usage and/or social media’s potential as a learning platform, however it certainly sparks the focus around policies.
What does this all mean and where is SoMe going? It is safe to conclude the likes of the more popular tools like Twitter, LinkedIN, and Facebook are no longer a fad. Sure, there will be new players, and the consumer (us) will decide which ones work best. What will be the next big SoMe attraction? Is Twitter the best? You have to admit it has set a standard of…well…simplicity.
Should I care if I only have 500 hundred followers on Twitter, 300 friends on Facebook, and 200 connections on LinkedIN? That seems like a lot writing it down just now! Should I want/need more? Seriously, if everyone had 10,000 followers and I had 10,000 followers, what is the likelihood my tweets ever get seen at all? Am I caught up in all the newness of it all sort of like the “honeymoon” period? Or am I participating in what is truly the foundation of the next generation of global communication? History will tell.
While I ride this wave, I’ve gotten myself into a pickle. First, I go to bed much later than I used to because I have this new found thirst for knowledge. I am amazed at what I discover late at night. Just about the time I’m ready to retire, I get a tweet from a friend in the UK saying “good morning” and offers a new question or link to an article, or an old high school friend’s daughter is graduating from H.S., or a couple of mutual friends just announced they’re getting married…whooda thunk!? I can’t go to bed now! Secondly, how does one manage all the different spaces and all this stuff?
There are several great clients and tools that have been developed to help me manage all my SoMe spaces like, Tweetvisor , iTweet for Twitter on the web and TweetDeck which is a desktop client and great for managing multiple identities. I have two: @learnnuggets for my profession and @delanotho my freelance cartooning biz. TweetDeck is a great tool because I can post a tweet and decide if I want one or both identities to post it. And I can post to Twitter and Facebook at the same time, plus it’s on my iPhone!
FriendFeed is a another tool to help manage multiple spaces at once, like Twitter, Facebook, and email. Aside from micro-blogging feeds, there is all the other blogs I read. I use several different RSS readers to manage those blogs, but I must admit I am not very good at it and always get way behind on reading them.
All said, there are hundreds more, but it all seems like a big whirlwind right now with no certain direction…then again, should there be? I mean, SoMe is user-generated and user-centric communities. If we (the community) don’t like what we see or use, we stop using it. Does that need a direction?
SoMe has tremendous opportunities in the future of how we communicate and collaborate with friends, co-workers, and customers even more so than today. Each of the SoMe tools have their place where one is good for news and marketing, the other is good for entertainment and socializing.
There is no argument SoMe is here to stay. What needs to be figured out next are the strategies behind the different uses. Should there be a global strategy proposed by self-proclaimed SoMe experts, or is each strategy developed for its particular use?
Thrilling ride nonetheless!