Archive | June, 2010


You Don’t Own Social Media

When I see people really think about social media and business, they always ask the question, “Who owns social media?”  This question has a lot of answers.  Some people argue marketing.  Other people argue PR.  I’ve even seen it be argued that HR owns social media.  At the end of the day, most people agree that no single department in a company owns social media, and it’s up to the everyone to use it correctly to promote and serve the busineses purposes.

That’s positive, wonderful and unfortunately idealistic thinking. When I look at the question, I tend to turn it around on itself. I think about who really owns social media, and when I boil it down, the answer is always a corporation.

Facebook owns Facebook.  Twitter owns Twitter. Google owns YouTube.  News Corp owns Myspace.  Pick your network; the list goes on.  This problem is one of the most inherent and troubling aspects of social media.  All of these networks are under the guide and plans of corporations.  Some are privately owned.  Others are public.  Still, they are under the guiding principle to make money by keeping you on their enclosed, private network.

This is something we often forget with social sites compared to e-mail.  While your e-mail address may be owned by Google or Yahoo or whomever, the system that e-mail uses is not limited to something owned and controlled by a single company.  Twitter, Facebook and the like don’t do that.  When they go down, and they do go down, the entire network suffers.

And what about the content you put on there.  Sure, as much as you can you retain the rights to it, but you also submit some of those rights to the discretion of the company who is hosting that content.  I know I am vastly oversimplifying this issue, but while you lose full control of things anytime you post them online, you lose even more control when you submit them to these services.

So, should we stop using social media sites?  No.  For right now, those sites are the best we’ve got.  However, with fail whales on the rise and deeper issues to think about, I think there exists an amazing potential for someone to create an e-mail-like system for tweets, or a better open profile.  The need to own our social media is there.  It’s time for someone to make it happen.


Let’s Celebrate Anti-Social Media Day!

I detest the idea of Social Media Day.  To me, it seems like a couple of Facebook friends got together and said, “Hey!  We don’t pat our own backs enough online, so let’s make a fake holiday to celebrate how much time we waste online!”

Social Media Day reminds me of the old Earth Day slogan, “Make Earth day every day!”.  If you use social media in any sense, you probably use it at least once day.  If you do that, then every day is Social Media Day in some sense.  And if Social Media Day is everyday, do we really need to pick a day to celebrate?  Is there any point beyond self-satisfaction?

So, I’m going to propose another holiday for us to celebrate.  A day where we avoid social media.  A day where we take the time to actually connect with people in meaningful, physical ways.  I call this day Anti-Social Media Day.

Anti-Social Media day is the day where you put down your smartphone and close your laptop.  You take the time to make real, physical things.  You communicate in ways that mean more than a blast of text.  It’s like living in 1986, but without the bad hair.

Here are things you can do to celebrate Anti-Social Media day:

  • Call someone on the phone.  Actually hear their voice. Converse about meaningful things.  Maybe you can go crazy and start a FaceTime chat, or maybe you could Skype someone.  Either way, stop hiding behind your text and use your voice to communicate with someone.
  • Spend time with your friends.  Sure, you can go to a meet up where everyone is glued to his or her phone and Twitter, but where’s the fun in that?  Stop hiding behind your smartphone and go see people you like.  Play a video game, play a sport, or go for a walk.  Do something besides sitting behind your computer all day.
  • Write something for just one person, with a pen and paper.  It doesn’t matter if you write for yourself or for a friend.  Write something down. Write postcards and letters.  Write in a journal.  Just write something physical for someone to read later.  Writing creates real things people can keep and treasure, not just tweets and texts that are cleared out once a month or forgotten into the oblivion of the internet.

Every day can be Anti-Social Media Day if you want it to be.  It doesn’t just have to be June 30.  Make every day count for something other than a fleeting tweets and Facebook updates.


This is not social media news, Mashable. I’m trying to…

This is not social media news, Mashable.

I’m trying to figure out who the hell this piece is written for, since it is a fact that all people hate Nickelback.

Also, Tapulous, if you were going to name the app Nickelback Revenge, at least let us take revenge on them for their assault on our ears all this time.


The Value of the Small Community

I’m sick of reading articles that focus on growing an online community to epic proportions.  These articles and their authors look at community members not as people, but rather as an amount of money for your brand.  I imagine these authors walking through their neighborhood and looking at every person not as a human, but as a bag of money.  I also imagine they can’t wait to stick their hand into that money bag to grab as much as they can before running off, cackling like a madman.

When a community starts getting overpopulated with users, you also begin to lose the brand advocates and community leaders who helped shape the community and form it when it was just beginning.  These are the people who actually care about making it a nice place and promoting the truly interesting and deep discussions.  Losing these users destroys the social capital they’ve built with existing users as new members pour in and act like complete fools.  When these leaders leave, they will go elsewhere, and someone else stands to profit from their experience and opinions.

Overpopulation in online communities is a problem.  When too many people start interacting and communicating, users lose track of the people and conversations that matter to them.  It’s easy to keep track of a comment thread with three or four people talking.  Add twenty more, and you’re bound to get lost quickly.  Add one hundred more, and you lose semblance of any clear type of conversation that could have ever existed.

Relationships build through shared experiences.  Think of the people you were close with in school.  Now, think of whee you sat with these people in your classes.  I bet they were within one or two desks of where you sat.  I bet you still talk about the time your teacher put the two of you in detention for smiling at an inappropriate time, and you all laugh about it now.  Do you still talk with all twenty-five people in that class?  Probably not.

In a well-developed online community, the users build relationships with one another through their communal experience.  They grow with the people close to them.  Having thousands of users chatting at all the same time is daunting and intimidating, and isn’t the right strategy to draw people in or keep existing users.

Does this mean you need to stop growing your community?  Not necessarily, but it’s time to start thinking about what kind of community you want, and what size that community is.  Bigger is not always better.  What conversations do you want that community to have, and can you have them with the people you have now?

It’s time to start thinking about what purpose does this community serve to begin with, rather than building a huge community and then trying to figure out what to do with it.


Clearly, I meant to upload this yesterday, but YouTube decided…

Clearly, I meant to upload this yesterday, but YouTube decided it hates me.  Still, I want to know what you all think.  Did you wait in an iPhone 4 line?  Have an opinion on the crazies like me who did?  Let me know in the comments.


Using criticism for the power of good, not evil, and other lessons from pundit Jay Dolan of The Anti-Social Media

Using criticism for the power of good, not evil, and other lessons from pundit Jay Dolan of The Anti-Social Media:

Karl Sakas interviewed me this week for his blog.  If you want to know more about me, like my philosophy behind this blog, how I think about criticism, and what I actually do for a living, check it out.  It’s a pretty in depth read, so be forewarned.

Also, I am still considering using criticism for evil, especially if Mashable is considered to be good.


Social Media 101: Facebook Isn’t Real

Social Media 101: Facebook Isn’t Real:

My friend Laurie Ruettimann wrote this hilarious piece about how to use Facebook.  I know her blog is called Punk Rock HR, but it’s one of the best blogs I read consistently, whether you are a HR professional, a job seeker, or just stuck in a job you hate.  Go read this post from her and start following her blog.  You won’t regret it.


How to do Follow Friday the Right Way

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about Friday on a Thursday.  Won’t this break the space-time continuum?  If it does, I’m sorry, but I can’t stand half-assed Follow Friday recommendations anymore.

Every Friday, it happens, like another awful M. Night Shyamalan movie.  Your Twitter stream fills with hundreds of recommendations of people you need to follow at this instant.  Often you’ll see tweets like this:

#FF MY GIRLZ @JaneDoe1 @MerryMary @JaneDoe2 @CatGirl7 @JaneDoe3 @QueenPrincess @JaneDoe4

Beyond the list of names, this list tells me nothing.  It tells me that you know how to recite and properly spell out the usernames of your “GIRLZ.”  While there might be someone in the world who wants to know who they are, the rest of us couldn’t care less.  Your list is a mess of pointless names, and I don’t want to click through to try to figure out who writes about what.

I need a concrete reason to follow someone.  I want information and entertainment.  I want to know who is the best of the best on Twitter.  I want to know that @JaneDoe1 is better than @JaneDoe2 because she writes hilarious tweets.  I want to know what they tweet about.

Here’s an example of how to do it right:

Follow @jeromius because he always makes me laugh.  Always. #FF

But what if you still want to have that huge, awesome list of people to follow?  My friend Chris Moody makes a list, but he makes an awesome list.  He makes the list, and puts it on twitter with a link to his blog.  You can see not only does he recommend a number of people, but he also writes a short sentence about why you should follow each person.  Through this method, I’m learning about lots of new people, rather than just one without clogging my Twitter stream.

Still, I want to know how you do Follow Friday.  Do you recommend a list of people or one person at a time? Also, if you don’t start making better, more thoughtful recommendations, I’m going to start unfollow Thursday.  Don’t make me go there.