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The online journal of Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon.

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Some social media links (and thoughts)

Posted on Sep 16, 2009 by billsimmon in Digital Culture, social media | 0 Comments

I’ve linked to this NYTimes piece on the so-called Facebook exodus before, but I wanted to mention that the anecdotes about why individuals decided to leave Facebook were not an indictment of FB, per se, but of how these users managed their own online time. I’m not saying these folks are wrong to leave FB (and by extension, one assumes, social media in general), but their bad experiences say more about them as people than they do about FB as a web service.

In fact, the article’s author admits that FB’s numbers are actually up, meaning the piece is nothing more than a list of some of the reasons why some people choose to quit FB, despite its ever-increasing popularity. Really, NYTimes? Will you also run a story on why “some people” choose to avoid the most popular restaurant in town?

This analysis of the use of various social media platforms is fascinating. The short version:

  • Online social networks are much better at certain types of person-to-person networking than meatspace social networks are.
  • The thing that social media users do more than any other thing with these services: look at pictures of other people.
  • Twitter attracts people who like to communicate in words (hence 10% of twitter users accounting for 90% of tweets).
  • Dismiss MySpace at your marketing peril. MySpace is so 2005, but there are still 70 million users who log on once a month or more — way more than Twitter has and only 20 million fewer than FB. It turns out all those MySpace users are in geographical areas away from mass media markets so the action there doesn’t get as much play in the press, but that’s a huge number of folks actively using the service.
  • Marketing-wise, just being in the social media space isn’t enough. “A good analogy is to imagine sitting at a table with friends when a stranger pulls up a chair, sits down, and tries to sell you something while you are talking to your friends. You will not get far with a strategy like this.”

BTV’s own Gahlord suggests some reasons why engaging in “the big three” social media networks is a good idea for your business. My only reaction comes from the HBS piece linked above. MySpace is bigger than Twitter and probably bigger than linkedIn in terms of raw users — it’s just passe these days. Is it more important to appear to be cutting edge or to reach more eyeballs?

From the “no duh” department of social media marketing advice comes this article about 3 Things to Tweet That Aren’t About Your Brand. If you’re seriously confused about what to tweet about that isn’t specific to what you’re selling, then you obviously haven’t even spent ten minutes cruising around Twitter. It’s a conversation — it’s not rocket science. When you’re chatting with someone you just met IRL, are you at an utter loss of what to talk about unless it’s related to your business? Same rules apply. The wheel need not be reinvented. (As a side note I’ll add that in the list of 3 things suggested in the piece, numbers 1 and 2 really are about your brand.) (Side note #2: I don’t mean to pick on this piece’s author — he was asked to write about this — he’s just more tactful than I am about answering the question.)

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