There was a time when I was not a sarcastic, cold heart (curse words). At the time I was 4 years old. By the time I turned 5 I already was this SoaB.
I look at the twittverse and it reminds me of what I know of the 60s. Too much flower power, high hopes and interest in changing the world, but little real action and tangible proposals.
Take into account the recent events that had to do with Iran's election. I'll grant you that technology played a pretty decent job allowing the world to find out about what was going on at Iran (to some extent).
Yet the problem is when poeple that don't live in Iran start acting like they could actually have an impact. Like that idea of changing your twitter location to Tehran to confuse Censors.
For intelligence sake! Do people actually think the Iranian government is moronic enough to completely ignore IP location or trace routing technologies. I can picture the Secret Service guy in some government bunker thinking: "Oh, Gee, I'm so confused this guy with a Manhattan IP says he is located in Tehran, what will we do? Lets re-count votes".
Don't get me wrong, I know this is all well-intentioned, but it lacks thinking.And it lacks real action.
The impression I get is that most of the twitters actually go to bed at night with the notion that by changing their Twitter Avatars to green and using the #IranElection hashtag the world has become a better place.
That is our 2009 perception of activism: type something in 140 characters, that ought to have an impact, Right? Wrong!
Then of course we get hit by news telling that the US state department asked for a maintenence reschedule so that the Twitts about IRan would keep coming.
"If the US state deparment asks for that then Twitter must be really important! I'll sleep soundly tonight!"
Sorry, but: Holy Fucking Shit.
We have been amused to idocy. We are so bombarded by information, we have been positively reinforced so much that we actually think we are that important.
Saddest thing about it is that people could actually make a difference in a lot of aspects. But not by twitting, or using hashtags or changing avatars to green, but by actually doing stuff.
Now we also find out that despite what media and new media tries to make the crowd believe Twitter did not play an important role in Iran.
The whole "changes happen one step at a time" thing has rooted so deeply that people actually believe a 140 character message has an impact. Change happens when people take real steps. Not twitted steps or verbal steps. Things happen when people act, not when they hashtag.
I think we need to grow up and grow out of this self-inflicted deceit. We need to go back at thinking at lenght. And by length I mean longer than 140 characters.
I've just went through a tough couple of weeks. Nothing epic, just trying to move houses with a 2 month old, with both the wife and I hit by the flu and trying to do everything in a 4 day time window. Add a lot of family visiting and you'll have a picture of how busy I was.
That rendered me disconnected.
But it also serves as a good analogy for the disconnection I've been feeling with social media in the last couple of months.
I don't like where most things are heading nor the way many agencies and companies are handling Social Media campaigns or initiatives.
There are some exceptions, but the general rule of thumb is that 90% of the SMM initiatives I see are either a. not authentic; b. not original; c. poorly executed; d. lack an objective; e. all of the above (in most cases).
Maybe it is just a sign of the times, but it does not suck less because of that.
Knowing myself this will yield 1 result: I'll try to come up with something interesting to cut through all of this waste of time and resources.
I find I'm spending incremental time trying to understand the hidden strings behind the web-as-a-whole behavior.
Something is brewing under the hood; and many pre-conditions for massive changes are starting to get deployed all over the web.
We've all read posts about Web 2.0 being dead and headline-seeking link-love-hunting titles of that sort. It is my understanding that "2.0" is not dead, but being taken for granted. Novelty has worn off. It is no longer "cool stuff" but becoming increasingly "everyday stuff". May this be precondition #1: 2.0 is now mainstream.
There are quite a number of things brewing under the hood. For starters we have the greatly publicized "Semantic Web". It is a good concept, an interesting thing, which might make finding, correlating and aggregating content easier. Yet it has not gone mainstream. There are some good implementations and early adopters. Aptana is a good example, but I still feel it only scratches the potential for the Semantic Web.
Cloud computing is another trend on the raise.
Let me rephrase that: Cloud computing is becoming more common as a buzz word.
Here's my take on cloud computing (something I am becoming more and more involved with lately). It is a nice concept. Not new. Not at all new. Sun has been preaching that "the network is the computer" for almost two decades now.
So how is it that Sun is not Google? Or Amazon?
Because Sun had the overall concept right but: a) they were too early (the infrastructure was not ready) adn b) they never even tried a user-friendly approach for cloud computing. Yet Sun might just be in a good position looking into the future.
If you push me a little bit I might risk it and say that the infrastructure is not ready even today. At least not for household private users. It is one thing to use an online spreadsheet or word document, that works; but what about online storage and backup? Not to mention more complex tasks such as image editing on the cloud or other data-heavy things people might want to move over the cloud.
My take is that the cloud will be among us when a consulting or accountant firm starts using it. Why? Because this sort of firms stand on the opposite end of "early adopters". Gosh, I know accountant firms that use programs in DOS this very day. And yes, account firmswould benefit greatly from using cloud applications.
Another very important fact right now is the economic downturn. In the internet world we've seen much of the push happen thanks to individuals or small startups driving big changes. Even when those projects get acquired by the established companies the germ came from the garage. Yet to drive things from the garage to something that gains a userbase some money is required.
Under the current circumstances funding for new projects might be just too hard to get. This does not mean that ideas will die, but that they will be stalled.
Also, big companies that have scheduled releases and upgrades to existing technologies as well as new products are already considering delaying things. Most people and companies won't buy or upgrade until they are forced to.
Until economy smiles down on us again we will witness some degree of stagnation in the innovation area. The result is that after an economic downturn thre is an explosion of new ideas.
Since people don't stop having new ideas, but stop having the chance to realize them those tend to accumulate and pile up.
So basically: where do I think things are heading in terms ofthe internet?
- Web 2.0 will be given for granted
- We will see improvements on already existing and implemented technologies
- We will witness some degree of stagnation on visible innovation
- Things that we know are on the brew right now might be delayed or slowly implemented
- Lower end technologies and services will do better than more complex and more expensive counterparts.
- Overall cheaper alternatives will flourish
Then again, I might be completely wrong. Yet, as a marketer, it is imperative to try and do some sort of futurology exercises so that I can stay on top of the game instead of finding myself reacting to it.
Recent news about changes on Facebook's ToS have spread like wildfire. To make the legal mambo-jumbo short: users renounce to all their content's rights and hand them to facebook (depending on the privacy setting).
Since controversy did not wait long, Mark Zuckerberg decided to post at Facebook's blog to try and clarify things a little bit.
While witnessing the entire soap opera and especially while ruminating Mark's reply it is quite evident that the never seriously addressed problem of an ever-outdating legislation is at the core of the entire thing:
When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information.
Facebook's argument is that users need to entitle the social network with usage right to enable sharing with other users. And, truth must be said, with the current state of the law-technology relationship that point is valid.
I will not discuss if I buy or don't Facebook's possition of "you need to trust us", since it is irrelevant for this post.
Am I the only one that thinks that the fact that a user needs to recede his content rights in favor of facebook so that that same user is enabled to share stuff with his/her friends is inappropriate?
The whole thing reminded me of Lawrence Lessig's introduction to his book "Free Culture". In it Lawrence retells the story of the early days of flight. Before airplanes existed the legislation granted land-owners right of the airspace above their piece of land.
This was bound to be a major source of trouble as flight became more of a commonplace. Mr. Lessig describes what happened when things went to congress in a wonderful fashion:
But Justice Douglas had no patience for ancient doctrine. In a single paragraph, hundreds of years of property law were erased. As he wrote for the Court,
[The] doctrine has no place in the modern world. The air is a public highway, as Congress has declared. Were that not true, every transcontinental flight would subject the operator to countless trespass suits. Common sense revolts at the idea. To recognize such private claims to the airspace would clog these highways, seriously interfere with their control and development in the public interest, and transfer into private ownership that to which only the public has a just claim.
"Common sense revolts at the idea."
This is how the law usually works. Not often this abruptly or impatiently, but eventually, this is how it works. It was Douglas's style not to dither. Other justices would have blathered on for pages to reach the conclusion that Douglas holds in a single line: "Common sense revolts at the idea." But whether it takes pages or a few words, it is the special genius of a common law system, as ours is, that the law adjusts to the technologies of the time. And as it adjusts, it changes. Ideas that were as solid as rock in one age crumble in another.
Or at least, this is how things happen when there's no one powerful on the other side of the change. The Causbys were just farmers.
Sounds awfully familiar, right?
The law around Copyright is outdated and obstrusive. It does not apply to the current state of affairs. At the time most of the Copyright legislation was put in place infromation and content could not flow (and be transformed) the way they do so nowadays.
To over-simplify here's the scenario: technology moves much faster than legislation. There are two main reasons for this: 1. the way the legislative process works and 2. pressure groups with interest in keeping things as they are until they can find a way to profit under the new scenario.
This needs to change. We can no longer afford remaining in the dark ages in terms of the laws by which we try to do things. Copyright is just one of the areas where outdated laws cause problems. Under the current circumstances the highest risk is that everything might turn into a black market of sorts.
Back to the Facebook problem: under the current law facebook must act as if it were a content publisher. It is not, and there is no legal place for services such as Facebook, YouTube or Flickr.
Things such as Creative Commons help. A lot. But they fall short, and are initiatives that are -not at all coincidentally- started by users and consumers, not by law makers. Things such as this yield the innevitable question: if law makers fail to do what they are supposed to do, wont people start to question their validity? The result posts a serious threat to the order of things.
One more thing catches my attention in a powerfu way: How Social Media Marketers and luminaries as a collective fail to address such a central issue.
Let me be clear here: Social Media is all about content. What happens to that content (and the way it is distributed) should be on the top on the priority list for anyone that makes a living out of social media.
I guess I can understand people trying to keep away from such a hairy issue. Yet the time has come to become responsible and start acting up.
Perfect scenario for Social Meda to go profitable. And Ugly.
Since I've been recently called out "Emo" due to the nature of my recent posts and Mark made the valid point that "We need to [...] call out the frigtards", I decided to go upbeat and have a little fun with how ugly some things will turn out for social media this 2009
As CFOs shake up the dust and make a comeback to steering companies' fates we're witnessing budget cuts everywhere. If you can't prove what you do can earn money (not just save, but earn) your have good chances of facing a difficult reality. Difficult as in "job hunting" difficult.
I'm prepared to witness a ton of experiments that will make me want to go and live as a hermit in some obscure and inaccessible cave with no internet access. Dire situations require desperate measures. This can be the recipe for:
a. unprecedented originality or, much more frequently:
b. nasty efforts that smell, look and taste like desperation.
This can be a good thing for a couple of reasons. For starters it will be fun to watch and blog about. It will also put many the self-proclaimed social media experts in evidence as little more than hot air.
As water levels go down stuff that was previously hidden starts to pop-up. Exposure can be ugly. Particularly for those exposed.
Accountability is an excellent concept to stay somewhat in the safe zone. At least it can keep you in the safe zone if you have some results you can be accountable for in the first place. So, in case there are results to be proud of the challenge then becomes one that is common ground already: how to measure in Social Media. But that is a matter for a separate post.
Generating direct revenue and increasing ROI should also be high on any social marketer's agenda. Signing off the papers to wipe out a department or team is always herder to do if that same department or team is earning money.
Yet the risk resides in trying to make money at any cost. The infamous bread for today, hunger for tomorrow. Spam email is the perfect example of this sort of behaviour. It might generate some revenue. It will sell a few products, but the negative impact on the brand is perdurable and undermines future profits. It is the same principle that yields Soil degradation as a product of overgrazing. Fit too many cows in a plow of land (or try to sell too many products through the wrong channel) and you'll have one moderately good year and a nice desert (or lack of customers) soon.
That is what we'll witness during 2009 and that is the sole futurology attemtp I'll make. It is going to get nasty. And that is always fun.
One of the reasons accountable for the lousy number of posts in this blog in Jannuary is probably disenchantment.
Let me frame the picture.
For starters I'm not a summer person. I was born and raied in Patagonia, cold is my game. If it is hot I don't function, I can't think, I can barely react. Air conditioning helps to a certain extent, but it is not 100% effective.
Recent events have also shifted the perspective in which I see many things. My job and my line of work included. I have been sort of forced to re-evaluate priorities, and the result is not that nice for Social Media. There are things far more important than that in my life.
With that in mind and the fact that I'm not too fond of where parts of the Social Media industry (is there such a thing?) are heading builds up my disenchantment.
I am still a believer. Heck! I'm more than a believer I'm a friggin' idealist, thus, chances are, I'll be back to my normal mood soon.
In the meantime I'll pay some attention to my family's needs (which I've neglected way too much) and divert some thoughts to different places to look for inspiration. I need to rest the mind, rethink plenty of stuff and get back to doing breaking ground stuff.
I'll be back, realoaded, and more of a smartass than ever before. Watch out.
(Editors note: bare in mind that disenchantment is not the same as disappointment)
I'll start by self-quoting and self referencing. After all what can be more reverberating that one's own voice? In March, 2007 I wrote:
Some “visible” customers yield a lot of power over companies. Possessing a blog, for instance can be used as a weapon to threaten with creating bad fuzz for a company. The result is that if you threaten or actually post a negative review, comment or experience, chances are you’ll get a sort of VIP treatment.
Now others have seen this light. Or so it would seem. Yet, the usual misconceptions and hurried conclusions seem to show up, at least
Chris Hall, inpired by Peter, wrote a post on Vocal minorities:
Just because I’m able to get on Twitter or (insert social tool here) and complain about a policy or an ad campaign that I don’t think applies to me, while amassing a bunch of sympathizers to take up my cause, doesn’t give me the right to automatically get my way. Whether I’m in the majority or I’m part of the minority in any given group, bullying is not cool.
After visiting Chris's post I read two related tweets by Aviansh:
I have the highest respect for Aviansh, he's one of those rare cases of people who actually generate well thought and valuable content. Yet, I have to agree with David's Tweet reply to him:
So, after way too many quotes: what is the point?
Social media is about minorities.
It is about the minority that connects through facebook because they went to a certain school, about the minority that works for a company and connects through yammer, it is about the minority that takes UFO's pictures and places them at flickr.
The whole point (and one of the original flags) of social media is that minorities and the underpowered get to have the same voice than the majorities and those in editorial control. And that is nothing more and nothing less than plain good old democracy.
I have a personal problem with majorities. Huge atrocities have happened in the name of majorities. I tend to feel that when you try to please too many people at once no one gets what they want.
Although I am a believer of croudsourcing I think it does not apply to every single situation and that the masses can numb individual creativity.
Masses are great to aggregate collective knowledge, but I have yet to see enough examples of collective creativity to become a believer of that.
So I can drive to my point I need to quote Chris again:
I smell a trend… What gets me is that these vocal minorities of less than 1% of their group’s total population are imposing their collective wills upon millions of other group members because they have realized that they have a platform.
Is that right?
Nobody’s asking that question, so let me take a stab at it. I’m not an unreasonable man, I think that a case can be made for the vocal minority. However, I don’t think that people with complaints are always right, nor do I think that they’re ever immediately always right.
For starters: I already made that question
There are several observations I have to make.
It should be noted that the 1% Chris mentions might be influencing the other 99%. People use to think the world was flat, remember? A minority came, stating the world was a sphere, were proven right and now the majority of thinks the world is not flat. Paying attention just to munorities does not seem like a smart thing to do. He raises the question of what opinion matters most and concludes:
Rather then proclaiming a groundswell every time the little guy raises a stink, we should be championing the opportunity for dialogue and understanding.
Well, I sort of agree.
The problem is that there is a lot of noise in the conversation. And that noise is increasing; probably more rapidly than the signal. The real problem then becomes how to tell what in that ocean of conversations is of value and what not. So we end up with "judgment". Nasty.
All of us in the social media world need to make judgments about where the important conversations reside. And that is an error-prone process. Thus we end up in a conundrum: we can't possibly pay attention to all conversations, so we make a selection and we end up either listening to the vocal minorities or just to those that agree with us (the infamous Echo Chamber).
Sound familiar? Yup. That are the exact problems Chris and Peter started complaining about.
Listening to conversations brought us to this point in the first place.
So, what could be the solution? Minorities. Ironic, isn't it?
Let me explain:
We need to connect with those representative of minorities to get in touch with what those minorities think. We shouldn't be trying to add minorities one in top of the other to get a majority, we should be respecting what makes them different, listening to that and we might be in good course for that concept called "long tail".
Minorities are important. Listening and respecting them is crucial. As I stated, Web 2.0 fosters minorities, so we will only see more of that, not less. We better start getting used to that. Need I remind the readers how Obama used to be minority facing both Primaries and Presidential election?
What we need to do is smarten up while connecting to and with minorities. They will have lessons to teach us. We also need to find ways to connect minorities between themselves so we don't all end up living and talking inside walled gardens.
Wait... that IS already happening.
Bottom line is: We need to break all the walls around our gardens.
A big number of posts, articles, studies and analysis attacking or undermining Social Media's foundations have surfaced lately. And that is a good thing. It is an awesome thing. I’m tempted to say it is the best damn thing that could happen at this particular moment in time.
Let me remind the casual and distracted reader that the individual writing this post makes his living out of Social Media.
I’ve been known to criticize Social Media and its experts in the past. To be fair I have also raised the flag of “we’re too cool to be true” from time to time. Mea Culpa.
Being somewhat violent and critic of one’s own line of work should be implemented as an exercise for all employees, but particularly for those of us who work in Marketing since, given our above-average exposure, we tend to believe we’re more important and enlightened than those working on less “gracious” activities.
Social Media Marketing is far from perfect or being perfected. It is a very novel field of work. There are tons of things to be discovered and explored and there are a lot of mistakes and learning to be made. Probably that is the reason why it is so exiting to work with in the first place and what causes what Joel Mark Whitt calls “Social Media Incest”: Social Media analysts and specialists tend to write and talk about just social media (I’m personally more fond to the term “in-breeding” for some undetermined reason).
Although I do speak about more stuff than just Social Media, I am guilty as charged in that matter as well, since this blog revolves almost exclusively around Social Media / Web Marketing / Web Analytics.
So, we’re in love with ourselves, like the sound of our own voices and are enchanted by the stuff we do for a living. That isn’t necessarily bad, right? It is when we fail to be critic about what we do and when we stop caring about what the outside world says about us and the things we do.
That is the reason why I think the recent attacks and criticism are positive: they get us off our pedestal. Royal pain in the ass, but a necessary and much needed one.
It is time to think again, guys.
We can’t base our work and expectations on just Cluetrain and The Long Tail. Both are awesome, interesting and radical; but things are changing: audiences, markets and companies are evolving and we need to revamp our “theoretic” baggage pronto.
Whether the current economic state is the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it or just a rather big bump on the road is irrelevant. Companies can’t or will no longer fund programs that can’t prove its worth. And by worth I mean money. We need to put “brand” and “reputation” in a slight pause for the time being. Let me rephrase that before I start to take flak.
Companies need to make profits while they build brand and reputation.
In other words, CFO’s and CEO’s won’t wait until Social Media programs are fully built, running and start to indirectly make profits. Might be tough, but such is reality.
The risk under such circumstances becomes one of trying to make profits at any cost.
That is why I don’t like the pay-per-post model. I don’t care how much sense it might make for some. I don’t even care if authors put “sponsored post” in double underline, bold and blinking text, pay-per-post it is (under my black-and-white perspective) just plainly inappropriate. Yet, the whole izea ordeal got me thinking that this type of program makes paid writing “official” and I’m certain that there is a lot of pay-per-post going on under the table.
But I digress. (I do that).
One of the latest attack has to do with the long tail theory, or rather a contradiction of it recently published by the times. Since the data set and sources are still undisclosed it is yet unclear if the authors have a real theory-breaker or just a minor setback of limited reach.
Even if the study has sturdy data to back it up it does not necessarily mean the theory is wrong, just that the model might not apply to everything at all times. It could also mean that just stating that something like the long tail is possible does not make it happen overnight.
The particular universe analyzed by the study published by the Times is the music industry. And although some of the fundamentals of the long tail apply to it better than they apply to other merchant models there are some dark spots in it which might of been overlooked when Chris Anderson draw his conclusions.
The music industry has over 70 years of doing business the same way: Scout or find an artist; make a record; promote, promote, promote; hope for a hit; sell millions of albums. This has two very obvious consequences: a. the audiences have been trained for over 4 generations to be spoon-fed music and b. the record industry knows no better model. This might very well be the two reasons why the long tail might not (yet) be successful for selling music.
But there are other scenarios where the long tail has proved to be right to its full implications.
Content publishing and distribution comes to mind as an obvious example. The proliferation of blogs that focus on a single topic and from a single perspective have had moderate success all around the globe. This has forced traditional publishers (Newspapers & Magazines) to change their perspective towards content generation and open blogs on their own to stay somewhat competitive.
There is another thing we tend to forget given how used we have become to changes. The Long Tail as a book and as a formal theory has only two years of age. I’ll risk it and say that most companies have not even give it a thought. Also, most consumers are unaware of the new and endless options available nowadays. How can I purchase a track from an obscure band at the other end of the world if I don’t even know they exist?
That leads me back to the need to develop new theories that adapt to shifting times. Long Tail, for instance could take advantage of a “nouvelle promotion” theory, or: “how to market for the long tail”. The risk resides in assuming that just because the options are available, they will be magically found by users.
When TV advertising was in its diapers, agencies struggled for well over a decade before they hit the right formulas and perfected their methods. and they have kept evolving as their target audiences evolved with them.
The real point now becomes: Now that novelty has worn off and that social media marketing needs to become mature: how will things evolve?
The criticism and attacks are just signs of the fact that people are no longer blinded by the glitter and brightness of “Social Media”; but are starting to demand real and tangible results. It is up to us, the people that make a living out of it (analysts, marketers, corporate bloggers, everyone) to step up to the challenge and prove its worth.
Remember the times when we filled our mouths with the "Social Media Marketing is about Authenticity, Transparency, Straight Talk"? It would seem those days are over, if they were not an illusion in the first place.
David made some criticism over his blog regarding the bloggers (erm, "writers") that will take money from companies to talk ang generate buzz about them. I won't spend too long going through his point, but I'll say that I agree overall.
So, I'll try to use logic to digest as much as I can of this.
People trust peers more than corporate blogs. So, let's pay bloggers to write nice things about companies. Yet, people have higher trust on emails from people they know. What are companies to do? a. pay every single person that has a friend to recommend your brand on an email or b. spoof addresses to make people think their friends are recommending our brand.
Of course someone will eventually find out and users will no longer trust "emails from people they know".
(need I clarify I tried to make a point through absurd?)
Using my crystal ball I can foresee: Programs like this will slaughter blog's credibility the same way miss-use of corporate blogs demised how much people trust them.
It is a program that is bound to fail in the long run. Once people start to be suspicious about if what they read on a blog is being "sponsored by Huge Inc." there's no turning back, since bloggers do not have the leverage mass media has to revert such negative perception.
In a couple of years we'll be gazing at a similar report, looking at blogs standing at the bottom of the trust pit, scratching our heads and wondering what went wrong.
But there are two major issues with this type of study.
- They tend to generalize
- They are impossible to compare against other facts and figures.
I agree that 80% of corporate blogs are rubbish. Nothing more than an ill-applied, poorly executed and sad shadow of what a blog should be. I wouldn't trust them myself, and I'm both a blogger (corporate and individual) and a blog-reader.
But there are some awesome examples of decent (and influential) corporate blogging as well. I wonder if that 16% of the people the study showed trusted corporate blogs read the decent ones.To be honest, forrester's report (available for free w/ registration) gives some advice into how to save corporate blogging.
Now, back to the title of the post: "riding every single wave"; that is exactly what (us) marketers are doing wrong. On a couple of speeches I gave this year I underlined that corporate blogging was not suited for every single company ("don't do it because its hot") and that before engaging into it those in charge should be fully aware of how it needs to be done.
(As a general rule of thumb: if your corporate blog pisses some "old school" people within your company, you're doing it just fine).
So, now that the new trend is pay-per-post we'll find tons of companies jumping into that without really knowing who they are paying. Recently I was talking to a local a-list blogger (most probably Argentina's top blogger), a very controversial figure for some, but stainless in terms of ethics. He said "a company that advertises with me should understand that I might criticize them nonetheless". If I managed Argentina's Marketing budget he'd have a Lenovo ad over his site.
Once marketers understand the new game they should realize that some things that look bad on the surface can have a longer lasting possitive effect.
But advertising is different than pay-per-post. Advertising is clear and direct. Pay-per-post is misleading. It doesn't matter if authors disclose, there is still some degree of deceit happening. If a user goes to bigcompany-dot-com he expects that the copy is going to be biased towards what bigcompany sells. If the same user goes to averagejoeopinion-dot-com he expects to read what Joe has to say, not what bigcompany told Joe to say.
The move of advertising pay-per-post can (and will) backfire in the nastiest of ways. Because it is fundamentally flawed as a concept within that other type of marketing that "social media analysts" (I am one) are advocating. One based on openness and honesty. It is not easy to do things the right way, and often it takes a long time to pay off.
Sure, in times of crisis people do welcome some extra cash, but not everyone should become a prostitute for that reason.
To conclude and since Jeremiah spent his time commenting on my previous post on the subject, I'll take the time to reply.
I respect Analyst's work. Half of my time I (should) spend looking at facts and figures, understanding what is happening, what the trends are and how to improve programs.
The main issue I see with analysts is that they see half the picture. The half the people within companies don't see. The main difference is that we know we're missing stuff, we need that information and are willing to pay big bucks in order to get it. On the other hands many analysts tend to think they own an absolute truth.
Another problem I usually have is that some conclusions they draw seem to be a tad short-sighted and shallow. It is only when such type of research goes public and digested by bloggers, marketers and others that the real deal surfaces. Yet, those other people who re-read and re-analyze, share their opinions and expertise don't make a dime out of it. Shouldn't Forrester pay all of them as well? After all, they are making significant contributions to the final studies (sometimes before the study is finished, other times afterwards).
In case you were wondering why I have been so quiet on this blog lately, I am now entitled to disclose what I've been up to since it is all now in the public domain.
For starters Lenovo now has its first Japanese blog: Yamato Thinking. It is a actually dual language blog, both in Japanese and English.The guys at Yamato are responsible for much of the design of our computers, thus it shall prove to be an interesting read.
This is a big step for us in the right direction. Enabling a social media strategy on a more global basis is the way to go.
We have also redesigned our Lenovo social homepage. This should now prove to be a fairly useful hub for everything that goes on on the Lenovo Social Media Universe. This homepage will keep evolving and upgrading to usefully serve our visitors and customers. I have wild things in mind.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg for what's being going on.
We have also launched a new service for our customers called "Discover Social Media". The word "service" does not do justice, actually. I'll describe what the intent is and how we plan it should work.
Our aim is to build a community site where newcommers to Social Media can get up to speed with all the trends, sites and services around Social Media. Reviews and best practictices are written and revised by peers. For the time being the site works very blog-like, but that will transition to something more complex and social Networky.
Here's an excerpt from our welcome message:
When you hear about “social networking,” just know that computing is getting more personal, more about you, your success, your family, your interests and the ability to connect with people and information that can help you. Social networking is people talking… about everything under the sun and much more.
As usual the best part of this projects is the people I get to know.
Mitch Ratcliffe is in charge of much of the reviews you'll see on the site. He's done a terrific job, and, I must admit, I feared for his sanity, since he had to actually use all those services. And using them means Signing up and spending time on them. In case you don't know Mitch I strongly encourage you to subscribe to his ZD|Net blog.
On the design part we partnered with Erik Hahr. We got in touch with Erik thanks to our Forums. He is an active participant at the lenovo community and showed a lot of interest and will to collaborate with us. Our experience with him on this project is a good example of how good Social Media can work both ways, for companies and customers.
I'll probably be posting updates on how all this things evolve in the near future.
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