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Tag Archives | social media

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Twitter, developers, and the future of social media

The Bloodied Twitter Bird

Have you been paying attention to what’s happening with Twitter and developers recently?

Twitter’s relationship with developers is turning into a social media shit show, and we’ve all got a front row seat.

This storm has been brewing for a while now. It started in 2010, when Twitter acquired Tweetie to be its first official Twitter app. Things got worse from there when Twitter told developers to stop making Twitter clients. This past week, Twitter reiterated that position, laying out exactly which type of software it thinks developers should make using Twitter’s API.

And that blog post pissed off a lot of developers.

Developers have a lot to be angry about. They were the ones who made the first apps for Twitter. They were the ones who made up the @ reply, hashtags, and retweets. They developed software to put Twitter on your desktop and smartphone. Hell, they even came up with the idea to use a blue bird as the Twitter logo.

In short, a lot of what we know about Twitter today is because independent developers took the time to create it based on the first version on Twitter’s API. And now, Twitter is blowing it up in their face.

Arguably, most of this is occurring because Twitter is transforming from a venture capitalist-funded social network into a media corporation supported by advertising revenues. Twitter is slowly rolling out features such as “Twitter cards” to deeply integrate rich media into the code of tweets themselves. This integration creates a more dynamic experience while also giving advertisers better ways to reach users than with a 140 character messages.

Unfortunately, what’s good for the business isn’t necessarily good for the developers. Developers are migrating to App.net, a subscription based carbon copy of Twitter. That means all the smart, passionate people who care about doing cool thing with Twitter are moving away. While I am doubtful about the mass adoption of a somewhat elitist subscription based social network, the migration is an indicator of a larger trend.

We’re in the middle of the biggest shake up since the current crop of social networks began. Just like how social media professionals can’t talk about rainbows and puppies and engagement as business goals, the social networks themselves must prove their ability to make money.

And they’re floundering miserably at creating the massive revenues investors were hoping for.

In response, the once pristine newsfeeds are becoming cluttered with ads. More and more of our friends profiles are becoming electronic billboards with more stuff to click.

Is this the future of social media, where the social network becomes the media corporation, focused on creating a consistent experience to deliver ad units? I’m not sure. But, I do think we’re going to be seeing this shake out over the next few years, finding out what people are willing to pay for access to their social network.

Somewhere out there, some nerd, scorned by the mainstream social networks, is looking at these models and working on a better way to make these social network things both efficient and profitable.

That’s what I’m excited to see and be a part of.

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No one is old enough to handle your social media

Am I old enough to handle your social media?

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about what the right age is for your social media manager.

For the past couple weeks many of the major social media influencers have been discussing a two articles. First someone says that every social media manager should be under the age of 25. Then someone else says your social media manger should be older than 23. And then the whole Internet gets into a pissing match over an argument that can’t be won.

As a social media professional, and a young one at that, I think it’s important for me to share my overwrought and extremely important opinion without having read either source article.

How on earth should you, a marketing or corporate communications professional, know what the right age is to hire? How are you going to know who the right person is to manage your social media channels? If you don’t know their age, how can you decide if they’re the right person?

What’s even worse? As the hiring manager, you can’t ask someone their age here in the US. So how are you going to know who’s old enough and young enough to manage social media properties?

The answer is simple. There is no one old enough and young enough to manage your social media properties.

If you need to hire social media professional today the better answer is to not hire a social media professional. You will never find someone eho is simultaneously old enough and young enough with the perfect skill set to be your social media manager.

I know how hard it is to accept that. Once you learn that no one can manage your social media appropriately you’ll learn that it’s better to live your business life without social media.

Still, if we as social media bloggers focus on the age of social media managers, we will never discuss the real things that matter to social media professionals and the businesses they work for. Things that matter, such as measurement and enterprise social media scaling. Things that could get you hired, like real and demonstrable skills. Or things that change the very nature of our work, like the convergence of social messaging and social advertising into paid, owned, and earned media.

But that shit is boring and doesn’t get page views.

So fine. Let’s just focus on age of social media managers. We don’t want to get anywhere productive in our social media conversations. Who seriously wants to discuss what the right skill set is for an entry-level social media position?

And if you’re going to seriously discuss that, I’m going to need a drink.

 

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Social Media is like Something

What is social media - The Anti-Social MediaHave you heard about social media? Apparently, it’s a hot new thing, like Web 2.0 or the Information Superhighway.

Well, I haven’t heard about social media yet, so I did some research. Social media is like something, but nobody know what that something is. For example:

What. The. Hell.

Make up your damn minds! What the hell is social media like? A strategic game? Sexy clothing? Marshmallows covered in a fattening condiment?

Social media is anything. Whatever you want social media to be, social media can be it.

Just don’t make social media chess-playing, ranch covered marshmallow in a string bikini. Someone already has that twisted fetish covered.

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Why Isn’t Social Media Marketing Getting Better?

Why isn't social media marketing getting better - The Anti-Social MediaA year ago, I challenged social media marketers to do better. And guess what?

Social media marketing is getting worse. Much, much worse.

We have more networks. More tools. More apps. There’s more noise, more ads, and less meaning. I can’t name a memorable social media campaign from 2011.

But the blame isn’t only marketers fault:

  • The social networks are failing us – Constant refreshes aren’t making our lives easier. Mindless games prevent real conversations. Sponsored stories are diluting the organic conversations we’re fostering. As soon as people figure out what role they want these networks to play, the network is changes.
  • Our mentors suck – Social media advice on blogs has gone from bland to useless. We share overly generic case studies, anecdotes, and near meaningless advice in an attempt to build our miserable personal brands and one man social media agencies. Where we used to get a nugget of advice, now we get a half-baked idea.
  • We’re failing our customers – Instead of monitoring, asking questions, and anticipating our customers’ needs and desires from social media, we post mindlessly as usual, click share, and call it quits.
  • We’re failing ourselves – We all have grand plans for social media. Planning and creating a great idea to start conversations is easy. But carrying out those conversations, every day, twenty-four hours a day, is grueling. It takes a dedicated team of psychopaths to make awesome social media happen.

When you break it down that way, it’s depressing.

But there’s a bright side.

We get the chance to make it better every day. We’re in charge of making more meaningful conversations. We control how we use each network, what messages we send, and what standards we hold ourselves to.

No matter how awful the messages and networks get, we’re still in control.

So stop making excuses. Stop pushing a ton of crap into Buffer that no one will read. Quit telling people to be passionate and get them to do their damn job. And stop being concerned with what people wear when all we see is their damn avatar.

There’s real work to be done on social media. Get off your ass and do it.

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F%&k You Friday! Corporate Share Buttons

Corporate Share Buttons - The Anti-Social MediaBusinesses – I get it.

Social media is scary. You see the potential to develop strong relationships and loyalty with your customers. But you also see all the pitfalls and hear stories about businesses being screwed royally by one stray message.

Honestly, no one wants to deal with one more inbox of angry customers.

But adding some buttons so people can share your website isn’t a social media strategy.

A social media strategy takes time and effort. It’s hard work that most of us avoid when we’re on social networks because we want to escape our lonely existence of sitting at home in our underwear watching another episode of Roseanne on Netflix. You need to figure out what the hell your goals are, who will do the work (because it is work, chump), and what your worst case scenarios are.

And as soon as you create it, you probably need to adjust it. Doesn’t that suck?

So when you put an icon on your website to share it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, that’s not a social media strategy. That doesn’t even make sense. Most people want to share useful and fun content. Not a corporate website. Your corporate website isn’t fun.

Those buttons say “Promote me even though I’m doing jack shit for you.” Is that what you want to tell the people who pay you?

Figure out how to talk to human beings. Human beings who love you, hate you, and who are complete psychopaths. They may be crazy, but at the end of they day, they are human, and however feeble and weak the connection they create on the social network, they’ll feel better for it.

So take down your crappy share buttons. Say “Fuck you” to the idiot who put them up there, and get to work creating real conversations and relationships with the people who care enough to praise, complain, and interact with your company.

It will be worth it.

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3 Ways to Attain Social Media Godhood

Darth Vader - The Anti-Social MediaSocial media is supposed to be a fun way to connect and share with your friends. But you know what’s also fun? Using social media ruthlessly and at the cost of others to attain your personal goals such as greed, gluttony, and the envy of others.

So what kinds of goals should you set to reach the pinnacle of these vices? I’ve narrowed it down to three easy categories:

  • Sell Crap – This is so easy. Find a cheap product to sell (I recommend knock-off Viagra or imitation Coach bags). Then pester everyone you know to sell it. Tell them they get more discounts when they share it with more friends. Eventually, you’ll start building a social pyramid that will have you raking in cash while people you’ve never heard of are selling products that have no value. The goal and execution are easy. You just have to hope it all workout in the end.
  • Endlessly Annoy People – Sure, you can tell people anything you want using e-mail, websites, TV, mail, billboards, and countless other forms of advertising. But why not  penetrate their groups of friends and use them against themselves? There is nothing as pleasurable as the feeling when you successfully use friends to keep saying the same thing and promoting the same crap for your benefit.
  • Build a Cult – Some people call this loyalty. I say who needs loyalty when you can have blind devotion. If you can get your followers to jump off a cliff based on a tweet, it’s a cult. Building this cult is the most important thing you can do. These are the people who will troll your enemies, feed you, and pay your mortgage. Do whatever it takes to build this cult. The cult is great and worthy or your undivided attention.

Have your goal now? I’ve got mine. I’m offering you a spot in my new social media religion. “Liking” on Facebook is more than clicking a button, it is a way of reaching Nirvana. Join me. Do everything I say, and together we can reach social enlightenment.

Or we can make a few bucks selling fake pills to idiots. It’s win-win either way.

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Sex, Facebook, and Social Media Diversity

True Colors - The Anti-Social MediaLast week I read two great blog posts about diversity in social media thought leadership by Jay Baer and Danny Brown. Both are great posts and raise some really great questions about issues social media marketers and business leaders need to keep in mind. However,  they made me think of my own experiences with diversity.

I am as privileged as any white male in American society. However, I am gay, which is an entirely different kind of minority status. When I read about diversity, I think about the subject in broader terms than just race alone.

Online, it’s easy to think about race in terms of diversity. Everyone is an egomaniac, so their avatar, their Facebook profile, and their blog is filled with their picture. You make a judgement of what race they are based on what you see and then move on from there. Sexuality is something completely different. Unless I am puking rainbows in the pride parade and post a million photos about it, I look like every other geeky white male with a social media blog. My minority is invisible until I start talking about it.

What is most interesting to me about sexual diversity online is how it is treated on Facebook. Facebook doesn’t see racial diversity. You don’t enter your race when you sign up for Facebook.  Facebook doesn’t classify and segregate you by the color of your skin. Only Facebook users classify other users by race.

But, if you choose to enter the information, Facebook classifies you by your sexuality.

I may volunteer this information, but by doing so, the factor that makes me a minority is public knowledge. Even if I don’t enter that information and state I am in a relationship with another man, my status becomes known.

And once this is known by Facebook, it starts targeting you based on your sexuality like a shark that has caught the scent of blood.

Even after being in a domestic partnership with my cat for two months (who is listed as female), I still get ads that are targeted at gay men. Ads for websites like “Bear City.” Ads for “Pants that give you a Great Butt.” Ads for “Cute, sexy underwear.”

This is horrific. As marketers, why do we find it acceptable to target someone on ANY minority status? Why is it OK to target a woman because she is a lesbian, but not because she is black?

Imagine if one of these ads that targets gay men gave me a discount code and I use that discount code. Now that institution knows my minority status. They can’t target you because you are black or white, but they can capitalize on every penny because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight.

We can talk all we want about diversity online and the need to include people of different races and sexualities. Those are always good things to have at the top of mind. Today we can make an immediate difference. Marketers: stop targeting Facebook ads based on sexual identity. Tell Facebook is it unacceptable to target people based on ANY minority status.

Start thinking about diversity beyond just what you can see on the outside of a person, and start thinking about the whole of their life. There’s more to any person than the tiny portrait they present online and the color of their skin in that avatar. As leaders on a new frontier, it is our duty to lead the way on this issue. Stop discriminating, and do a better job.

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Chrysler, Storytelling, and Social Media Responses

You're Doing it Wrong - The Anti-Social MediaEverything you share on social media, whether that content is your own or produced by someone else, tells your story.

Last week was very busy for me with my professional events, and at every single one of them my peers and colleagues spoke about Chrysler. I haven’t heard anyone talk about Chrysler this much in my entire lifetime. This even includes after the auto-bailouts and listening to Love Shack on repeat for hours.

So, either something is very right or very wrong.  I’d take a bet towards wrong because people love talking about disaster more than positive things.

So cut to Saturday night around 9:20, when I saw a friend retweet this message from Chrysler:

Chrysler – Somebody got it right http://blogs.forbes.com/joannmuller/2011/03/11/say-nice-things-about-the-motor-city-or-else/

I, feeling particularly anti-social media that night, replied.

TheAntiMedia – @Chrysler Somebody took your side. Big f*#%in’ deal.

Within a few minutes, I surprisingly got this reply.

Chrysler – @TheAntiMedia You missed the point. She’s not taking our side. She’s reporting the greater context. One f-bomb didn’t take down an agency.

I was amazed that I actually got a reply out of Chrysler at 9:30 pm on a Saturday. What were they doing, trying to tell their story to the world on a Saturday night when most normal people are only using Twitter to announce how much fun they’re having? Were they just asking for trouble from punks like me?

Looking back at this brief exchange, it seems surreal. I understand Chyrsler monitoring Twitter 24/7 right now because of the incident, but I don’t buy the response I got. They wouldn’t have shared that story from Forbes if it didn’t support the story they want to tell. I still don’t get why they responded to a user with a name The Anti-Media and whose avatar is a cartoon. That’s just feeding the troll.

Still, the story Chrysler is telling is focused on defense. It bears witness to their story alone, a story of a mistake, someone getting fired, and an agency losing its contract. There is nothing positive for people to take away or to make them feel like Chrysler has learned from its mistake.

We all have many stories to tell. The trouble is choosing the right one to tell, the  right time to tell it,  and the right way to share it.