I'm suffering from jargon fall-out and and 'thought leadership' overload and I think I may just scream. Or blog. I'm sick of all the jargon and would-be "social media consultants" and oh god, the THOUGHT LEADERSHIP. I suppose its a way for overly articulate, exceedingly verbal people to actually matter...but how many actually DO anything? Social media is about doing-- not pontificating (and yes, I know I'm guilty and may even be so right this minute in this very ill-conceived blog post). I wonder how many "social media strategists" who say, believe in blogging actually BLOG? ("Blogging? thats just a little too 'tactical'...I'm a stategist!"). Or, how many "conversation" pundits actualy participate in the 'conversations' online through various enabling social technologies? And brands...BRAND? Can I say no one gives a crap about your BRAND, don't be so myopic. Wake up. Think (or blog) like a human.
And another thing..."social media" is the Web. Or rather, the current iteration of the Web as a platform-- its evolved as it will continue to do so. The surface is just being scratched. Also, there will probably be a backlash against social within the myopic marketing industry, but lo and behold people will keep chugging along, changing the face of communication and media and hopefulyl then, THEN there will be a shift in thinking-- and doing.
And one more thing that may or may not have any consequence-- I love Macs. I've only ever had Apple computers from my wee infancy (dad was a quasi-geek who first taught me the thrills of computing on our Apple IIe). I will only ever buy Apples as my BRAND LOYALTY (or, what humans call "preference") is well, off the charts skewed to Apple. You know who doesn't have engage in the "conversation" or have a "social media" strategy/presence/whateveryouwanttocallit? You guessed it, APPLE.
Mozilla wants to make simple web computing tasks easier, and bring the power of mashups to the end user via the browser: enter Ubiquity. The focus is of this experiment is to "connect the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily."
The overall goals of Ubiquity are to explore how best to:
* Empower users to control the web browser with language-based instructions. (With search, users type what they want to find. With Ubiquity, they type what they want to do.)
* Enable on-demand, user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs. (In other words, allowing everyone–not just Web developers–to remix the Web so it fits their needs, no matter what page they are on, or what they are doing.)
* Use Trust networks and social constructs to balance security with ease of extensibility.
* Extend the browser functionality easily.
Want to give it a try? Download Ubiquity 0.1 here
I've been blogging for a while about the disconnect between technology and start-ups' understanding of the market and marketing--but Jackie Peters of HeavyBag Media has perfectly articulated what this disconnect is and means in a guest post on Mashable in which she explains the situation she refers to as the early-adopter, startup entrepreneur, private-beta-junkie echo chamber.
But my favorite part is when she expounds on the future of "social media" (again, DEAD ON)
Social media in another year or two will be non-existent, it will just be the Web, same as it’s always been, just the next evolution. We don’t need to confuse the masses by getting over their heads with all of the technological mumbo jumbo. We just need to integrate the functionality into our products and services and make sure that there’s a good enough reason for doing so - that it adds value and fulfills the needs and desires of a market, the rest will fall into place. So rather than focusing on the technology, why not focus on how the product makes the user’s experience better.
Sound familiar? It should.....remember "social media" is not a silo!
"The social media stuff is probably the most important we do today, from a marketing stand point. The other elements of marketing mix has sort of become more and more transactional and more and more tactical in nature. Social media stuff is much more strategic... Use social media to power the fundamental of the business. That's what we're focused on".
The Web is a mass medium comprised of niches, formed around psychographic preferences and affinities
Just because you build it, doesn't mean they'll come (or stay)...a few things to consider:
Your brand is probably not something people will want to form a long-lasting community around. What's the bigger idea?
Note: Consider the concepts or values related to your brand and the psychographic preferences they feed into
Define clear objectives for your community.
Note: "so people can upload pictures and share their stories and stuff" is NOT an objective....it may be a result of an objective.
Consider the value-proposition for users.
Note: again, "so they can post pictures and share their stories" is NOT enough of a value-prop. Why? because attention is scarce, they can do that anywhere and data portability is not yet a complete reality (yet).
Plan how to be useful (and compelling).
Note: your technology platform is not the first thing that should come to mind here. Your users' needs are.
Note: You don't just make friends and drop them after you've gotten all you want out of them (or maybe you do, in which case you should get off the internet and take a long, hard look in the mirror), you build relationships. Assess the human resources you'll need to be there for the community-- to support and invigorate it.
....I know I said don't focus on the technology first...but once you have the strategic approach down, "design for community" points to consider: