Archive for January, 2009

flog a dead horse

Today I noticed that @ChrisBrogan is still talking about robot behavior on Twitter.  And while I think it is a worthy conversation of having, and I understand that the new people just finding this conversation are keeping it fuelled, what I don’t understand is how Chris is able to continue to talk about it?

There are interesting vantage points to every topic.  Certainly a multitude of unique viewpoints, but with so many people continually flocking to the big conversations and with many of these conversations happening around a few key people, I wonder at what point Chris, or other people continuously involved in these types big conversations, start seeing recycled ideas and when they get tired of them?

Every idea is unique and special within the situation it presents itself.  But when the situation goes global, I can’t help but feel that in the larger conversations, the golden nuggets are even harder, rather than easier to find… And that, while I do love finding people with similar viewpoints when I tend to beat to the sound of my own drum on occasion,  are all of these people eroding the ‘unique’ viewpoint I once thought I had?

Maybe I’m getting it all wrong.  It is all about conversation after all.  But sometimes these conversations can feel like the girl who’s over analyzing what she did or what she said wrong when her date doesn’t call her back.  At what point have we flogged that dead horse?

The Twitter Tipping Point

Posted: January 12, 2009 in Twitter
Tags: , ,

A new buzz word to add to your list these days… the tipping point.  It’s the new saturation point.  Today I read about another Twitter… TryMyFashion.  A summary is over on TechCrunch.

I’m struggling with the idea of too much segmentation here.  There is segmentation and niche markets… and then there’s REALLY segmentation and niche markets.  How will we know when we’ve gone too far?   Is Twitter really already the next sliced bread in that, even though so new, it’s becoming such a part of our everyday life that now we can make different brands of Twitter?  Twitter for the Fashionistas, Twitter for the sports players, Twitter for Mommies….

My sense of social media and the internet is that it’s a long, overdue swingback from corporations controlling the market to consumers controlling the market.  For too long, the big corporation without the human face has been setting the rules.  Now, its our turn.  Except that it’s been so long since we, the consumers, have had a say in anything and had someone listen, that I think we’re going to push it as far as we can until we find… you guessed it.  The tipping point.  The thing that is going to make that pendulum swing back yet again in the direction of the corporation after they have gotten tired of all of this hullaballoo from the consumer.  It’s a continual balance of power that may never be truly in check…

I’ve taken myself a little bit off the beaten path there from my original thought.  The one where we already have Twitter knockoffs and what that has to do with segmentation and the web.  And how much it goes against the grain of social media.  Social media is about uniting.  It is about conversing.  And with so much uniting and conversing, there also comes a lot of noise.  The cafe shaped conversation in such a big arena is hard to hear and focus on.  Trying to find people shouting in the masses about anything is hard to do… only the hundred plus people around him will hear, maybe a handful will take notice.  But those that like what he is saying will move closer, the 100 closest people will soon be people who want to hear what he is saying, be it for a cause… or for shoes.

If Twitter was just one big room with a bunch of people shouting at the top of their lungs, yes, please do make me a quiet place to talk to my girlfriends about how my bright red purse doesn’t match my green top and black and pink jacket today (it actually happened).  But Twitter isn’t just one big room.  I think people who want to talk about fashion on Twitter will do that.  And that they will follow other people on Twitter talking about fashion.  I don’t really see the need for a whole other copycat to show up unless it was as an umbrella profiling already existing Twitter users who talk about fashion.  Maybe a page that aggregates all tweets relating to specific brands or topics… who’s spent the most for their Prada purse; that all major names (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc.) actually put their stuff on sale in July in Europe (at least in Nice); do I wear the little black dress or the little red dress to make my ex jealous tonight?  That would be a smart way to segment Twitter.  You show me a page I can visit at any time to see conversations happening around a topic of my choice and you’ve got yourself a happy customer (the ‘save search’ feature over on Twitblogs is a step in the right direction).  You show me yet another site I’d have to sign up for, find more people talking about topics within topics within topics that I still have to search through to find more users and I’ll tell you you’ve gone too far.

Social media can be a bit of a wild ride sometimes.  I’m never quite sure where I’m going, who’s going to be there and what I can expect to talk to someone about. I don’t know who else is listening or who they’re talking to either.  But I can definitely be sure I will find SOMETHING interesting.

I’ve had 3 local people follow me on Twitter this week.  All of whom have mentioned they are new to Twitter.  People I work with have signed up, not sent out any updates and received 7 followers.  They wonder ‘why is anyone following me? I don’t want them following me yet… I’m not ready to say anything!’  Well, hold onto your socks.  By opening a Twitter account, you’ve already bought your ticket and stepped on the plane.

You are the driver, you decide where you will take us.  Wherever you go, your Twitter followers will follow.  Unless they don’t like where you’re going, then they’ll pull the emergency break and exit to the left pretty quickly.  So, where are you going?  Have you thought about what direction you would like to take?  Are you tweeting for business or pleasure?

I got on the ride for both.  The thrill and the excitement of all the experiences people are having, the new connections I am making, the knowledge I’m soaking up like the thickest sponge…  I’m finding new business and new social opportunities.  And I love that they are so intertwined.  The world is full of interesting facts and people.  You are most definitely one of them.

So, we’re all on board.  You need a destination.  What do you want out of this and what brought you along for the ride?

Tonight I watched Canada win the 2009 IIHF WORLD U20 CHAMPIONSHIP.  Not only did I watch the game in the comfort of my own home.  I watched the game on my laptop with a Twitter screen running right beside it and talking to other people also watching the game.  Thank you to TSN.ca for streaming all of the games live on their website.  During the 3rd period, my not so original vision was of the day that I can do that with all TV.  I know many have dreamt it before, and I’m sure many will continue to dream it, but today I was a step closer to believing it’s possible.

Movies and video are going the same way music has.  I’m sure of it.  I’m so sure of it, I refuse to buy DVDs anymore or to even upgrade to blu ray.  YouTube now has some high definition videos available.  Webcasts and podcasts are available on my oh-so-lovely iPhone.  I cannot wait for the day this technology integrates so easily into our lives.  We’re well on our way now.  My inner geek embraces it.

I’ve found myself participating in conversations lately around the role of automation in social networks.  As everyday users of these technologies, we each seem to have our opinions about how much robotic behaviour we will tolerate.  Today, I took my head out of the sand for a moment while over on Facebook and took a look at an event invitation I had received for a friend’s going away party this evening.  I was trying to find out who was going to be there as well, but the vast majority of the invited guests haven’t even replied yet.  This may be a one off situation for other people, but I’ve seen it happen with a handful of events that my friends (and myself included) have organized via Facebook.  Today, I stopped and looked at this more often than not occurrence and I ask:  Why won’t people respond?

I have a few (very basic) theories in the works on this:

1.  I’m the only one in my offline social circle that’s really taken a hold of these tools (which is entirely possible) and it just doesn’t cross my friends’ minds to check out their Facebook pages for upcoming events (if that’s the case I have some serious work to do to bring them all around).

2.  It’s their silent protest to the impersonal, mass invite they’ve just received via Facebook.

3.  They just don’t care.

I would like to think that it’s the first option.  But there’s a little voice in my head telling me there may be  truth in the other two as well.  Especially in the second one.

I know the advantage for the organizer.  The ease at sending out those invitations with a couple of clicks of my mouse button and I get to sit back and wait for those responses to come rolling in.  Except that my friends don’t have an auto responder to accept my invite.  Tit for tat, no?

Online and offline, relationships are the most valuable tool you can possess.  Your relationships will take you places you didn’t know you could go.  But people can tell when the effort behind the relationship is half-assed.  This is something I was guilty of in 2008.  I thought these social networks were a great way to easily keep up with everyone (my parents even joined Facebook to try and keep track of me).  While this is true for the day to day and for people I would not normally keep track of, the relationships I value most have suffered because this is pretty much the only effort they gotten from me.  The event invitations I sent out on Facebook could have also at the very least been followed up with a phone call.  Seriously, these people are supposed to be important to me??

Honestly, I’m thankful for the conversations online like this that are making me think about where social media and social networking fit in my life for business and for personal use.  Either way, robots can’t convey a sense of value to our friends, customers, whomever we are interacting with.  The human follow up is required in most instances.  If you’re just half-assing it, why shouldn’t they?