Tuesday, September 30, 2008

what to watch for in social media this fall

The Christian Science Monitor's doing some of the best observation of the Web 2.0 world, and today, it offers a take on why you should start taking social media seriously. In What YouTube's 'Charlie bit my finger' tells us about Web 2.0, Cole Camplese riffs on that video--seen by 53 million people, thousands of whom adapted, emailed or otherwise made it their own--and what it means for incorporating or adapting to new media. First, he addresses the people who, in my world, call LinkedIn "Facebook for adults:"
It's easy to criticize the rise of participatory social media as a giant waste of time...But that criticism misses the point: This trend is setting the stage for greater long-term engagement. It's an indicator that people are working to find new ways to collaborate and to be part of something larger than they are individually. The sheer immensity of the participation is the story.
Then he describes the teenagers who are driving this train, and are:
...driving new business models and shifting the way people connect, share, and collaborate across every node of the Web. They intuitively understand that participation requires promotion. When they post content, they market it aggressively via word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook, etc....In the next few weeks, pay attention as the big media personalities do the "real" reporting. And then watch how many iReports are cited, how many Twitter streams are mentioned, and how many YouTube videos turn into real campaign commercials. You'll be stunned.
Participation requires promotion. Repeat that to yourself--it's a basic tenet of communication that too many organizations have forgotten as they aim to control the message and engage in "if we build it, they will come" thinking, whether it's about events, reports or issues. Facebook, YouTube, and blogging all make it easier for your key audiences to interact and participate in your goals and activities, be it a purchase or a policy initiative.

Lots of our clients are on the cusp of considering how to re-tool their communications and adapt traditional methods to capture the Web 2.0 potential. Check out our "get your toes wet in the new-media pool" orientation/strategy sessions for your organization--we'll conduct a customized orientation and brainstorming to show you how to use these tools to your advantage. How are you adapting communications to Web 2.0?

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