Friday, February 06, 2009

Reading :: Social Media Marketing an Hour a Day

Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day
By Dave Evans

I'm not terribly familiar with marketing, but I know that some social media marketers were fairly forward-thinking regarding the broad social implications of social media. The Cluetrain Manifesto was an early contender, but many others have followed. And they've built their arguments on the same essential insight that Cluetrain provided, which is that social media entails a shift from broadcast to dialogue, impressions to conversations, and information to participation. Many fields and disciplines are feeling the effects of social or participative media on their own practices, most obviously marketing and advertising, but also journalism, education, and of course my own subfield, technical communication.

Turning these disciplinary ships takes a long time, so the message bears repeating and developing. And that's where Dave Evans' Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day comes in. Evans has been in marketing for a long time and has done much of that work in social media, so he has developed a fuller understanding of the media's permutations and how to operate in them. Here, he supplies background, operating frames, and even exercises and worksheets to get marketers up to speed on the new landscape. He starts with the basic message of The Cluetrain Manifesto -- becoming a proper social media marketer means giving up control and instead participating in conversations in order to build up the social capital that affords influence in that space -- and develops that message in terms of practical applications. For instance, he extends the traditional funnel model into a social feedback model, taking into account the lateral communication among purchasers and potential purchasers. In this new space, he says, marketing efforts are less about what the marketer has to say and more about what the consumer needs to know now (p.86).

The social web, he points out, is being reorganized around connections between sites rather than around specific sites (p.265).

With these lessons in mind, he develops metrics for social media marketing, crystallizing around content, relevance, and impact (p.295).

Although the book is for social media marketers, I see many potential lessons for other content providers such as technical communicators. In particular, holding conversations with users, facilitating their connections, and reorganizing around web services rather than tightly controlled sites are all steps that could be productively implemented in formal documentation. I hope they will be - and Evans' book is a good place to begin thinking about what this would entail.


When I am trying to figure out a particularly difficult question, I reflexively think about how to formulate Google queries. But how would you formulate a Google query for a question like this one?
What the resteraunt that has peacocks walking around on the lawn. It's near downtown in a old mansion type building?
That question came from someone I follow on Twitter. I supposed he could have Googled for "austin restaurant peacocks" and sifted through the results. Instead, he tweeted it. And within five minutes, he had the answer ten times over.

This incident is a nice example of how crowdsourcing can provide an alternative to search engines, or more accurately, how the ongoing differentiation of our online space can lead to the development of different information niches.

You can also see why relating status messages to geolocation can open up new possibilities for archiving and extracting this sort of local knowledge for such questions. Yet another reason why Google might be interested in that application space.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Title my new project

So I've been working on a new project here in Austin, based on recent work but ideally slanted toward a more popular audience. I'm interested in how people are using looser work arrangements in order to perform knowledge work in Austin.

And I need a great title for the blog, book, or whatever comes from this project.

I'll be
  • Visiting coworking spaces and interviewing their proprietors and customers
  • Visiting Jelly locations and interviewing people who work there
  • Visiting and interviewing freelancers, contractors, subcontractors, and sole proprietors
  • Visiting and interviewing people working in loose arrangements within the tech industry
  • Visiting and interviewing telecommuters
I'll be examining how they get their work done, how they replace organizational resources with their own, how they share resources, how they network, and how they socialize. Based on Manuel Castells' studies, I think that Austin is one of the leading edges of development of these alternate working arrangements. It's a fascinating story that needs to be told, and I'm interested in telling it.

But I need a title! Think along the lines of something Clay Shirky or Malcolm Gladwell might use. Punchy, relevant, expressive, interesting to a popular audience.

Have something in mind? Tweet me your suggestions.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I'll credit the person whose title I use.

More background here:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Jaiku is gone, but Google unveils location-based service that does what I thought Jaiku would do

I predicted several times in the run-up to the Android launch that Jaiku - which combined the microblogging of Twitter and the location-based service of BrightKite - would be a key part of the launch. I was wrong - Jaiku never did come out of closed beta, and now has been turned into an open-source project unsupported by Google.

But functionalities tend to flake off of these acquired projects and float into other Google projects. Today, Google announced Google Latitude, which floats on top of Google Maps for desktop and mobile. As Google's "About Latitude" page states:

With Google Latitude, you can:
  • See where your friends are and what they are up to
  • Quickly contact them with SMS, IM, or a phone call

  • Maintain complete control over your privacy

Enjoy Google Latitude on your phone, PC, or both.

It rolls out for Android, Blackberry, and WinMo phones that run GMaps 3.0, and for the iPhone and Sony Ericsson phones soon.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Not just owning two phones simultaneously - using them simultaneously

That sounds extreme even for me, but apparently it's becoming more common. Phones are

Optimized for one-handed operation. It means we can rather easily learn to use two phones in two hands. This gives the mobile a powerful advantage over other digital mass media, whether the PC or Playstation or Digital TV - we tend to only consume one of those at a time. But we can rather easily consume two distinct mobile phone based services - on two separate phones - from two competing networks even - simultaneously. Or, we can consume mobile services while we are supposedly paying attention to the other older media such as our broadband internet (sixth mass media) or TV (fifth mass media) or a video game (ie recordings, the second mass media channel).