Twitter hasn’t quite reached the must-use status of fellow social networkFacebook: Twitter only has 145 million users while Facebook dominates the social network sphere with over 500 million users. The Guardian, however, recently reported on the strengths of Twitter that no other new media source can currently provide. “For people in the media business, [Twitter] has rapidly – in less than four years – become their peripheral nervous system,” writes journalist Charles Arthur. “It tells you what’s going on around the world, or within your sphere of interest; it helps for bouncing ideas around, for staying abreast of what you have to know.”
Twitter offers instantaneous delivery of news without social barriers. On Facebook, users are required to befriend others in order to access their online activities, while Twitter allows people to follow whomever they want and thus encourages a liberal flow of information. This permits reporters to search for real-time content that is vital to today’s face-paced news industry. “Reporters who once sat glumly watching news wires now watch and comment in carefully curated Twitter search streams,” notes Arthur. “Once you follow a certain number of the ‘right’ (connected) people, it becomes an indispensable news source.”
Facebook may seem like the primary source for spreading news, as users are more likely to trust article recommendations from friends rather than strangers. Arthur disagrees with this sentiment, claiming “Facebook isn’t meant for spreading news; it’s meant for linking up people who know each other. News doesn’t work that way: news, after all, is often about people you don’t know personally but discover you’d like to.”
Robert Hernandez, Professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, explains the necessity of Twitter for today’s reporters. On Annenberg’s website Neon Tommy, Hernandez states “[Twitter] allows me to find potential sources who are actually there. And because this person is announcing to the world that they’re there, that increases the likelihood that they’re willing to talk. Instead of going to a place, or cold-calling, or going up to people and interrupting them or going on a fishing expedition, you can find very specific eyewitness sources.”
Likewise, Hernandez cautions journalists to be wary of content on social media networks, emphasizing that Twitter sources can not replace traditional forms of journalism and fact-checking. “You can also use crowd sourcing, but you’re a lazy journalist if all you do is rely on social media for your reporting. And you’re a lazy journalist if you don’t use social media at all.”
While claims can be made that Facebook is a satisfactory means of information consumption for “news gazers,” Twitter is vital for media professionals. It’s safe to say that Twitter is becoming a serious tool in the journalism industry, and tweets should be regarded with the same professional integrity as other forms of reporting.
Twitter is also making strides in keeping up with technology trends, such as geotagging tweets (Which is similar to Facebook’s Places application). This could indicate that Twitter will probably be a useful tool for content sourcing in the future. Will Twitter’s split-second distribution of breaking news ever be regarded as the main source of information for the general public, or will Facebook continue to dominate new media?
Are you struggling with social media engagement? Struggling with building your audience? You have thousands of Twitter followers, maybe even 50 or 100 people who have clicked “like” on your Facebook page.
However, even with this early success you’ve seen in social media, people just simply aren’t engaging with your brand? You are not feeling the social media love that others talk about.
Top 10 Reasons Why Your Audience Doesn’t Like You
1. You are not engaging. You spend all day listening or retweeting. You are not genuinely engaging with your existing network. You are on the sidelines watching the game go on. Tip: Engage. Have a conversation. Get in the game.
2. You are not providing value. Your website may lack content that resonates with your audience. Your tweets are well let’s say, tweets. They look, smell and act like everyone else. There are more than 10 Billion Tweets sent in a year. Tweeting a simple tweet that looks and smells like every other tweeter will get you no where. Tip:Provide value. Inspire and connect with your audience. Get in their head and learn who they are and what they need. Provide content that helps them solve real business problems. Provide tips that help them move their business forward with new skills.
3. You are not following people back. If you have people following you and you are sitting on your arrogant Twitter mountain thinking you don’t have to follow them you might want to think again. This thinking drives me nuts. Show the love. Be a good friend. Tip:Develop a follow-back strategy. There are different schools of thought on this. My personal recommendation is at minimum make an effort to follow people back. Don’t sit high on your Twitter mountain with the expectation everyone owes you something. They don’t.
4. You are not a good social media friend. You don’t retweet. You don’t thank people who show you love. You never follow back. You don’t comment on other blogs in a genuine way. You don’t thank people who comment on your blog. Tip:Show the social love. Genuinely engage and make your audience and network know that you care about them. At minimum let them know you know they are there! Often times if I don’t have time to thank all of my retweeters or send a series of #FF follow friday recommendations on Twitter I will send a couple tweets during the day thanking my network. I let them know I appreciate them and all the social love they gave me!
5. You are boring. Sorry folks but it could be you are just boring. I am seeing many people who have a boring profile picture, boring content. They are the same ones who sit all day and retweet news feeds of mortgage rates or market news. They are providing no value and not engaging. Tip:Brand yourself. Understand your audience. Who are they and what do they need. Who are you and what can you offer them. Give your business and brand a personality. Dare to stand above the norm. If you shoot for status quo that is exactly what you will receive, if you’re lucky. It may be less.
6. Your website stinks. If you are boring, your content is boring and your website stinks you have three strikes and you’re probably already out of the social media game. Tip: Social media is about conversation. Engage in conversation with interesting content, design and brand. Hire a web developer and freshen up your website. If you don’t have the funds to do such then find a self-help site or teach yourself WordPress blog at minimum.
7. Your social profiles stink. If your Twitter background is the default and your Facebook Fan Page has no customization you once again are shooting for status quo. Tip:Hire a consultant or an agency to spice up your profiles. If you don’t have the funds the leverage an off the shelf service. There are several Facebook Fan Page engines you can use yourself that are affordable.
8. Your Facebook Fan Page is all about you. What are you doing to engage your audience? Tip: Engage your Facebook audience. Have fun. Ask them questions? Do some research. Ask them what they need, what they want. Leverage the discussion tab to invite people to introduce themselves.
9. People don’t know the real you. You are hiding behind an avatar (social media profile photo). You are not sharing the real you. You are using corporate speak. You aren’t using video, no interesting blogs. Tip:Let yourself shine. Try out video. Come out behind the avatar and let people get to know you. Don’t be afraid of video. If you use video you will attract people who like you, people who want to business with you.
10. You are afraid. Because of what I said above you are afraid to come out and play in social media. You have been intimidated by the mean blog posts that are surfacing the net on social media gurus, wannabe gurus etc. Tip:Don’t let the bullies scare you! Be confident. Have fun. If you don’t you are never going to make it in social media, business or life.
What are you doing to build community? Are you really engaging? What are you doing right that others can learn from? What do you find most difficult in building and engaging with your community?
Google has said nothing about its rumored social networking offering, but it may be that the company has just revealed its secret weapon to take on Facebook. The new Priority Inbox feature in Gmail hints at social media’s next great battleground: Relevance!
Facebook itself inadvertently demonstrated the value of relevance and what is most wrong with the current Facebook user experience. The Facebook Places announcement event two weeks ago was the geeky event you’d expect, but there was an unexpected moment of clarity and beauty in the midst of the typical discussion of APIs, partners and functionality. Facebook VP Chris Cox told a story set in the future that defines the true promise that social networking has yet to fulfill:
“In 20 years our children will go to Ocean Beach and their phone will tell them this is the place their parents had their first kiss, and here’s the picture they took afterward, and here’s what their friends had to say.”
It’s a great story, isn’t it? But today’s Facebook experience offers no chance this experience could actually occur. Instead, here’s what would happen based on the current Facebook functionality: Those kids will visit that beach and their parents’ precious story will be nowhere to be found on the Ocean Beach Places page. That wonderful 20-year-old status update and picture will be buried under 500 pages of less meaningful messages such as “Don’t buy a hot dog from the snack bar,” “Here’s a picture of some hot babes I took here,” and “Beach kegger party this Saturday night, dudes!”
The noise in social media is getting deafening. In addition to the hundreds of friends we follow in Facebook, brands are putting the full-court press to capture user attention and “likes” in Facebook. Not only can you “Like” JCPenney on Facebook, but you can also “like” their stores, JCPenney-sponsored concerts, a weekly store ad application, and a pair of Faux Leopard Fur Socks (plus every other item in their online catalog).
It used to be that only social media professionals complained about the “drinking from social media firehouse”; today, I am hearing more and more “Facebook fatigue” from average users. Of course, few are turning away from social media; no behavior within Forrester’s Social Technographics ladder has grown as substantially in the past two years as that of “Joiners” — people who maintain a profile on a social network.
More people, more apps, more Facebook-enabled sites, more places, more status updates — it all adds up to a cacophony of voices vying for our attention. I recently missed a friend’s announcement of the birth of his child on Facebook — that important news was lost in an ocean of viral videos, places check-ins and summer vacation photo albums.
This is why the new Gmail feature may provide a hint at what is up Google’s social sleeve. According to Google’s blog post, it launched Priority Inbox because people are “getting more and more mail and often feel overwhelmed by it.” (Sound familiar?) Google adds, “Our inboxes are slammed with hundreds, sometimes thousands of messages a day…. It’s time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply.” (This isn’t a problem you have on Facebook and Twitter, is it?)
Gmail’s Priority Inbox doesn’t require users to set complex rules. Instead, Gmail intuits what is important to users. It can predict what you care about by observing the people you email the most, which messages you open, and to whom you reply. You can also click buttons to mark a conversation as important or not important. The new Gmail feature is meeting with great interest and approval — “Priority Inbox” became a Twitter trending topic within a day of Google’s announcement.
Will Google tackle the problem (and opportunity) of relevance in social media? If Google can make our inboxes more relevant, why not our Facebook and Twitter feeds? (Back in February, I predicted that Google Buzz would be a Relevance Filtering tool; perhaps I wasn’t so much incorrect as I was premature.) And make no mistake — Facebook understands that social tools need relevance to attract and retain users. I expect 2011 to be the year of relevance in social media, and the winners will be the social applications that make our lives richer, not noisier.
What does this mean to marketers who are seeding millions of messages into social media every time someone uses a loyalty program, enters a Twitter hashtag sweepstakes, makes a purchase or “likes” a pair of JCPenney socks? If a status update reaches a social network but no one sees it, does it exist? My friend and associate Nate Elliot is working on a report about how marketers can overcome social media clutter. I’m anxious to see his recommendations, but this much is clear: In a future where being relevant will be vital, marketers must get people to have authentic conversations about products and services and not merely to click “Like” buttons or tweet hashtags.
It’s that time of the year again. Summer vacations wind to a close and a return to school moves once again to the forefront. For many families, schools are identified; students enrolled; and supplies purchased. In 2010, those preparations no doubt will include a technology component, often times more than one technology. So here are a few safety tips to help your student stay safe as they prepare and use their electronic media devices back at school.
One of the first steps a student takes in any academic setting involves determining who they are going to be interacting with for the next nine months and the attendant peer interaction. As much as one wants to be social, let’s keep some social media do’s and don’ts in mind. Educate your student in being prudent in adding new “friends” to their social networks. They wouldn’t invite their whole class, be it kindergarten, middle school, secondary school or university to their homes and pull out the family photo albums, the last year’s online-exchanges, etc, so why be in a hurry to allow those same folks to see into one’s social network pages, online photo albums, notes and stream of thoughts by the act of “friending.”
As your student signs up for the various online networks associated with their educational level, please make sure all the privacy settings begin at “opt-out” then selectively “opt-in” for those which you need or desire to access. In addition, be cautious about over sharing of activities and locations. With respect to the use of location based services (Foursquare, GoWalla, and Facebook Places) be circumspect in posting about where one is or might be. This also applies to parents using carpools and the pick-up and drop-off of younger students.
Device Security and Configuration
Will your student be taking a device to school, be it laptop, smart phone, iPad, or other device to access the Internet? Make sure your student is able to physically lock down those devices which won’t fit into their pocket should it have to be left unattended. These devices can be locked down to a non-movable object (desk, commode, sink, etc.). One might also wish to invest in a “screen filter” which will cut down on the opportunity and capabilities of any “shoulder surfers.”
Data backup is also crucial for the student, especially the student whose entire life is contained in the hard drive of a laptop. Daily data backup will ensure schoolwork is not irretrievably lost. Available options include portable hard drives (lock and store separate from your primary device) or online backup services or virtual disks. Any of these options will help keep the stress level down should a hard drive fail or a device go missing.
With respect to your device security, always ensure your antivirus/antispyware software is installed and up-to-date. You will want to set your privacy filters within your browser with respect to your web-history and “auto-fill” capabilities to a level that you are comfortable. Configure your device to never “auto-run” anything — be it a USB, Smartcard or CD. This allows you to run your security software against the file(s) prior to their executing for the presence of malicious software. This inspection should occur on all media that is new to your device or has been out of your direct control (even if from the school or a friend, you just don’t know if their device is corrupt and contains malware. Data hand carried between devices is one of the leading methodologies of having an otherwise clean machine become infected — the truth is, your machine may be very secure, but your neighbor’s, school’s or friend’s machines might not be kept as secure as your own.
The above tips should serve you well to ensure your students heading back to school do so safely.