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I Did A Guest Post You Should Read

Posted by 40deuce on 8:42 AM in , ,

I've been very busy with work lately and haven't had time to really write a post here in a while. My apologies.

However, I did write a guest post for the blog yesterday that I really liked and I think you should read it. Rather than re-posting it here and stealing their readers, I'm just going to link to it. It's about finding an easy way for all departments in your company to have a handle on what's going on in social media without really disrupting their regular work flow. Check it out and enjoy:

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Why Would I Do That For YOUR Brand?

Posted by 40deuce on 8:55 PM in , , , , , ,
Yesterday on the Sysomos blog, my colleague Mark Evans wrote a great post about what's in it for consumers if they "like" or follow your brand in social media? Some people will do that out of a real love for a specific brand, but most brands are trying to get anyone and everyone to also "like" them. But what are brands doing to earn that? Some aren't doing anything besides just asking you to "like" and follow them. This idea ties in perfectly with a picture I took this weekend.

This weekend I went out for a friend's birthday to a bar I've never been to before in the Toronto area (the name isn't important). What was interesting about this bar was that up on the wall was a giant poster, which I took a picture of because I thought it was semi humorous and I'd never seen a poster quite like this one before. This is the poster that was in the bar:

I thought it was semi clever of the bar to have a big reminder to check-in on Foursquare, Gowalla or Yelp. I would have checked in anyways (I need the points so I can beat my friends), but perhaps some people wouldn't have thought about it until they saw this sign. So, I checked in and... and nothing. That was the end of it.

I've seen posters and signs in places before reminding people to check-in, but usually it's because there's a deal to be had with that check-in or at least something for the mayor of that specific place. In this case though there was nothing beyond merely checking in. I thought that a bit strange.

What does my check-in do for that bar besides possibly a tiny bit of publicity to those that check where I've been on Foursquare (as I don't push my check-ins to Twitter or Facebook or anything). You would think that since they were clearly asking the pubic for a favour, by asking them to check-in, there would be some sort of "reward" or something to go along with that check-in, but there wasn't.

This goes back to my original question; what did this brand do to earn me checking in? I'm not really a fan of the bar in question, so I didn't do it out of my love for them. There was no deal for anyone who checks-in, mayor or otherwise. So what's in it for the average consumer to actual check-in? In this case nothing and I learned my lesson.

This also goes back to the Sysomos post from yesterday. Brands need to offer something to get people really engaged with them. It doesn't have to be a free something-or-other or even a discount, but there should be something to make us want to engage with these brands. Otherwise they're just asking us all to do some free advertising for them with absolutely nothing in return. That's not really a way to keep people engaged with your brand, that's a way to try to get people to advertise for you for free whether they really want to or not.

So here's my question I'm going to ask and you can answer in the comment section; What are you offering your audience in return for them taking time to engage with you? Content? Discounts? Engaging conversation? Anything?

Or, am I just being petty?

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Can You Have Privacy In Social Media?

Posted by 40deuce on 8:06 PM in , , ,

People by nature are social. That's pretty much the reason that social media has become so popular. We like to talk and connect with people over all kinds of things. But is there ever such thing as too much connecting? Can someone be fully into this social media revolution of "let's all be connected" and still have some kind of online privacy?

I face this challenge every day. Yes, I love social media. Yes, I love connecting with people over all kinds of things. Yes, I'm open to meeting and becoming friends with almost anyone anywhere in the world. However, sometimes I don't need the whole world to know EVERY little thing about me and what I do. That's why I'm pretty much open to connecting with people almost anywhere in the real world and online, but I reserve my Facebook for just select people.

I look at Facebook as a place to stay in touch with my real friends. Most of my good friends aren't into the whole social media lifestyle and Facebook is the one place that most of them are online. It's a place where can share pictures and talk and whatever. It's not like there's any incriminating evidence of me doing weird and/or illegal things there, but it's the one place online that I keep for just me and my friends.

I don't think it's that strange of a practice. I'm sure a lot of people do this. I mean, we've all heard the stories of people that have been fired because of something they said on Facebook forgetting that they're Facebook friends with their boss. Sometimes there's just a need to have a little private space.

I've been fairly good about sticking to this rule. Every once and a while I get a friend request from someone who I spoke to once on Twitter about business and I kindly let it slide. However, some people get offended when you don't become their "friend."

Here's my question though; do they have the right to get angry about it? Am I an asshole for not accepting their friend request?

I would understand if they were someone who considered you to be a real good friend, but someone who you sent two tweets to hardly constitutes a friend. I add work colleagues to Facebook, but only the ones that I've gotten to know and really consider a friend. People assume though that because I'm available to connect pretty much everywhere online, why wouldn't I let them into Facebook as well?

Is it too much to want a little bit of privacy online in a social media world?

I don't want to sound like a jerk or anything when I write this. I actually kind of mean it as a serious question. I've told you what I think of this, I'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let me know if you think I'm a jerk or not. Do you have a private space on the internet? Do you wish you did?

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Countdown to SXSWi

Posted by 40deuce on 9:33 PM in , , , , ,

Hello friends, it's been a while. Been a bit busy with work and havent found the time to blog lately, but today I have an alliterative motive to blogging. It's because I'm going to SXSWi and I want to be able to meet as many awesome people as I can while I'm there.

I've been working as a community manager for Sysomos for almost a year now (about 10 months) and I've built up a great network of people online, but haven't had a chance to meet many in person yet. I think a lot of these great people will be down at SXSWi beacuse it's a gathering of social media and tech people, and I want to meet as many as posible. I want to meet current clients, potential clients, social media writers and bloggers and pretty much everyone else that will be there.

On top of the Sysomos community, I have a great bunch of people in my online networks that I know from outside other places whom will also be down in Austin. I want to meet all of them too. If you can't tell I'm really excited to go down to Texas and pretty much meet everyone I can to expand both my company's and my own networks (although, they are kind of one in the same).

So if you're going to be down in Austin for South By South West Interactive, please let me know and lets meet in real life. If you're there and looking for me, because I hide my face in most of my online avatars, this is what I look like:

Meeting people isn't the only reason I'm excited to go though. I'm not sure if anyone knows this but I used to work in the music industry. Before there was an "i" on the end of SXSW, South By South West was a music festival/convention that I always wanted to go to. Tons of big bands and smaller emerging artists always play there and I always wanted to go down to check it out. I always attend NXNE which happens in Toronto, but I heard that SXSW was much crazier and better. I hope I can catch some wicked music while I'm down.

And of course, I'm also excited about the "geek parties". To go along with my wanting to meet people, I've heard the best way to do this is at the parties that go on during SXSWi. I have also heard many an epic story that has come from the parties for geeks at SXSWi and I can't wait to attend some of them. I don't think I have to say any more about this. You understand.

SO, if you're going to be down at SXSWi, I want to meet you. If you're not going to be there but know someone who is, chances are I want to meet them too. Leave me a comment here and let me know you're going. Also, tweet at me, I'm @40deuce, so I can add you to my list of people I need to meet at SXSWi.

See you in Austin!

[The great photo of me above is courtesy of Rannie Turigan]

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Popularity, Influence and Social Circles

Happy new year everyone!!

I've been meaning to write a post on the idea of online influence for a while, but every time I think I have all my thoughts in order I think of something else I want to say. This morning though, I read a great article in Advertising Age about the difference in popularity and influence and it really seemed to be on the same thought wave that I am about the whole concept. It really got my mind racing, so I thought today would be the day to sit down and bang this out.

A lot of people in the social media community seem to be talking a lot about 2011 being the year of "influence". The only problem, in my opinion, is that no one really has the concept down properly. And that's probably not just my opinion, as a lot of people have been up in arms after hearing that Klout, a company that measures online influence, claimed that Justin Bieber is one of the most influential people in social media. According to the way Klout ranks influence though, it's absolutely true (and they back up their statement well here) To me, I see the problem as this not being the true idea of influence.

Now don't get me wrong. I have nothing at all against Klout. I've participated in one of their campaigns and loved it. I've had the Klout people guest moderate on my #smmeasure chat. I even met a couple of the Klout employees here in Toronto and keep in touch with them. When we met, I spoke with Megan Berry and I believe that Klout really is intent on constantly refining their process for determining online influence. However, for now and from how I understand their metrics to work, it plays off a bit more like online popularity.

To me, the difference between popularity and influence comes from an internal motivation. Liking and respecting someone are different than being influenced by them. We as people like a lot of stuff. It's part of our human way of classifying things so that we can understand. One of the easiest classifications for us is "things I like" and "things I don't like". Things we like we tend to pay attention to and things we don't like we tend to ignore.

In the online world there is so much stuff floating around and we tend to be drawn to search out the things we like. This includes web pages, products and even people. In social media we tend to follow people we like, people we respect and people we think are interesting or have interesting ideas. Some of these people seem to have large followings because they do embody one of these categories. These people are popular. Are they influential though?

To some people, yes. But I think to a majority of people they are popular and because of that are likely to have more people hear what they have to say. They have the ability to make sure thousands or even millions of people hear what they have to say, which is great, but just because I hear you doesn't mean you necessarily influence me.

To me, influence means that I trust someone enough to have their thoughts and opinions actually motivate me to do something. The key for me is the word "trust". When I really deeply trust someone I let their thoughts affect my own. And trust, I mean real trust, takes time to build. This is why I think the only real influence we get as people come from our trusted social circles and not some of the big "talking heads" we like to read online.

An example I like to use while talking about this with people is the online wine community. There is no doubt that Gary Vaynerchuk is one of, if not the most, popular online wine aficionados. People all over the world watch his Wine Library TV to see what he has to say. However, while Gary may bring new and interesting wines to the world's attention, does he necessarily influence what people think of wines?

In what I know of the world of wine (which really isn't too much) I've found that wine lovers are small communities of friends and acquaintances that like together and sip wine. They are usually like minded people who trust each others opinions and thoughts. These people influence each other on their wine thoughts. While Gary Vaynerchuk may bring new wine to their attention, it's when someone in their social circle recommends the wine that really gets people to act on it (in this case it would be buying or trying a wine).

It's through these much smaller social circles that I think real influence comes from. These social circles are made up of people whom we like, respect and most importantly trust. The trust is the key to motivation, meaning influence. I think that that if marketers and communications people really want to get a handle on influence they will need to find ways to penetrate these smaller social circles and reach out to the people there rather than go for the big popular talking heads.

I also want to point out here that I do think that popularity does have a part in the role of influence, but not nearly as much as a concept like trust does.

Going back to Klout, I think that they are working on ways to find these people that are influential within these smaller social circles. A problem they face though is that a lot of these social circles exist more offline than they do online. It's not to say that they aren't online, but there is something that these offline bonds have that just isn't found as much online.

In the meantime though, are a lot of people still going to see what popular people like Justin Bieber and Gary Vaynerchuck have to say? Of course. But are these people really having true influence over those that hear what they have to say? I don't think so. They may turn our heads to something we previously didn't know about, but true motivation to do or buy something new will come from inside of us and our feelings of trust towards who is telling us.

I know personally I trust my actual friends a lot more than the word of someone I've never met or spoken to but follow on Twitter.

And that's my rant on the idea of online influence. What do you think? Are we ever going to be able to truly measure the idea of influence?

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