Jumping on the social media bandwagon, a panel at Media 140 DigitalBusiness, April 26, Perth.
Louise Bourke, Venessa Paech, Kate Carruthers, Rod Farmer
Disclaimer: Live blogging
LB – constant innovation in social media platforms. FB and Twitter as obvious, but unclear whether there is a broader market for some of the smaller services. VP – nature and level of investment in smaller services is the question: how much time and effort if less reach? K – there is a danger in rushing to the next big thing just because it is there (for example Pinterest) – is it actually useful for a particular business. RF – brand is about conversation, so ask where you need to have those conversations…what is the context for the new social media service?
A useful point: RF – while there may not be obvious costs involved in social media exploitation, it has hidden costs relating to time and also the diversion from other aspects of the business.
K comments that social media services may appear to be ‘an answer’ but first you need to determine the specific question to which they are an answer!
VP – different platforms promote different kinds of interactions, so Pinterest is not a strong conversational space, but works well for visual display. VP emphasises that discussion forums are ‘bigger than ever’ especially for deep discussion, lots of peer to peer interaction, and the possibility of creating a sense of community. KC also has positive support for forums as an ongoing and important space online. RF comments that forums don’t have a strong ‘brand’ associated with them; draws a parallel with LinkedIn.
Discussion turns to Google Plus and how it is not being used as much as Google might have thought. KF worries that it might disappear, as did Google Wave, with a consequent loss of trust in Google and general reluctance and frustration with the next innovation.
“what are the ingredients of a social space that hold people’s interest?” RF answers – power, prestige and place. People want to have a voice, they want to participate and create change, so that things they want done are indeed achieved. KF discussing the rise of Twitter, claims it became popular because people were there, and it established a sense of community.
[There is significant use by the presenters of the word 'community', in a very loose sense, but rarely is the word network used. I think part of the failure, at times, of social media marketeers and promoters to 'get' the medium they are attempting to use, is a failure to grasp the looseness and dispersed form of a network]
VP notably raises the issue of personal branding, in relation to Linkedin: we perhaps can understand more about user behaviour through social media as ‘branding’ and attempting to draw attention to oneself, not unlike the way brands attempt to do it to us!
LB – comments that journalists on Twitter makes thee journalists part of the real world, if you like, part of their community. Social media, indeed, presents people as ‘open’ – they are branded in a way as accessible, sensible and so on. LB continues that you can do this face to face with people, making you seem human and ‘intimate’ – [perhaps this is what twitter etc allows us to do, in a very wide-ranging way],
KC – importance of reputation generation online, the economy of reputation is mediated by online contacts which then turn into financial opportunities. VP – all about reputation and how it is generated through what one does is and connects with online.
KC – describes how social presence online is an ecosystem of related activities, tuned to each platforum. VP – as do others – says automated cross-platforming posting is probably essential in some respects but “you will trip yourself if you are purely a robot”. LB – news is different, different strategies for different platforms.
Important question: who owns your network (and everything it implies, the actual and potential capital – social, and financial). If you have a network, does it belong to the user? or to the corporation for which they work. RF comments that his company actually makes this clear – users DO own their networks, not the corporation.
A key lesson, from the panel – passion and honesty – social media brings people together because of the sense of intimacy that the ‘personal’ tone of social media conversation brings, even when people do NOT have that kind of intimate relationship.
Another panel insight from RF and KC – there is a looming social media bubble based on excessive speculative investment (such as Instagram). RF is a strong advocate, instead, of more direct mobile device based links between specific businesses and their customers, the designed experience, which integrates devices into the total experience of transacting through that business: contrasts that with vaguely promises for what ‘social media’ might do. Excellent point.
Discussion of etiquette for mediated interaction. VP agrees with question: it is important.
Outstanding points for me: forums as the unspoken social media format; the ‘death’ of GooglePlus – many have it, but only a few use it; a rather worrying trend back to the use of ‘tribes’ in social media discourse; mobile devices – these make things daily rituals ‘curl up with it’ (VP); “discoverability”, openness as a brand attribute, through being on social media, constituting one as having ‘social presence’; role and identity confusion possibilities, as people blur lines between professional and personal communication, all within a public space;