by Sherry Heyl
This week’s blog post was going to be a recap of a podcast I participated in with Michelle Batten. The podcast can be found here.
As I sat down to write this week’s blog I realized that it would be wrong for me to let this moment in history not go recognized, so I decided to change directions and reflect on what is happening in Iran.
I am not going to claim to know even a small percentage of what is going on in Iran, nor will I get into the politics of who should be doing what. But what I do realize is that this is an important footnote in history.
I call it a footnote because I do believe what we see happening right now is the beginning of a new movement, a new spirit of empowerment.
This is equivalent to the printing press. It has been said that Martin Luther’s act of rebellion was not the first act against the Church, but it became an important footnote in history because his act was furthered by the invention of the printing press.
When we look at our own Revolution in America we recognize that support came from the vast distribution of the great writings of our founding fathers.
Benjamin Franklin was a strong defender of the Freedom of Press. He wrote:
ON THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
by: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
And Learning Largesses bestows,
And keeps unlicens’d open House.
We to the Nation’s publick Mart
Our Works of Wit, and Schemes of Art,
And philosophic Goods, this Way,
Like Water carriage, cheap convey.
This Tree which Knowledge so affords,
Inquisitors with flaming swords
From Lay-Approach with Zeal defend,
Lest their own Paradise should end.
The Press from her fecundous Womb
Brought forth the Arts of Greece and Rome;
Her offspring, skill’d in Logic War,
Truth’s Banner wav’d in open Air;
The Monster Superstition fled,
And hid in Shades in Gorgon Head;
And awless Pow’r, the long kept Field,
By Reason quell’d, was forc’d to yield.
This Nurse of Arts, and Freedom’s Fence,
To chain, is Treason against Sense:
And Liberty, thy thousand Tongues
None silence who design no Wrongs;
For those who use the Gag’s Restraint,
First Rob, before they stop Complaint
Without going into the debate of “Old Media” vs “New Media” what we are witnessing today is that the business of media has restricted our access to a free press. Whether it is political favoritism, pressure from advertisers or the need to stay between the established lines as a means to not look biased, or to not cause trouble – our media is no longer free.
I love the work that most of our reporters are doing and I respect their art and talent and most of all their bravery to get the story to the world, but as we have seen the past few days, there are limits to what they can do.
Those limits exist because there are still those who feel they are in control of the message, much like the Church was in control of the message before the printing press.
Today, we witness people taking control of the message, using “new” media to tell their stories. What amazes me most is the tireless efforts of developers around the world working to help people in Iran to get past the media blocks.
The tools, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are there to empower this movement, but the movement is the spirit within the people.
Perhaps Twitter will be a footnote in this moment in history just like the printing press is a footnote in the history led by Martin Luther. The Printing Press became a footnote because of what it enabled which grew and changed all of humanity. Just like the printing press, what Twitter has enabled is just a spark, a lesson, of what we as humans are able to overcome and how much we can achieve through the freedom to communicate.
by Sherry Heyl,
Friday I ‘Pinged’ an observation;
When I ‘ping‘ a thought or observation it is posted as a status update on my personal Twitter page, on Facebook, LinkedIN, Plaxo, MySpace, and Google Talk. Ping.fm actually will update over 40 networks at one time.
I started using ping.fm when it was still in closed beta (meaning only people with an invitation code could use it). Initially I was not sure of it’s value. One thing I realized is that with ping.fm I can only update my status, I can’t listen to the other conversations happening, I can not respond to what it going on in the community or see who has responded to me. It is simply a tool to broadcast my thoughts throughout my communities.
My other concern was something that my friend Justin Rubner expressed yesterday in response to my update on Facebook;
I thought about that for a couple of hours. It was truly a concern I had when I first started using ping.fm, but that concern faded after one specific post a couple of years ago.
I had just started using Ping.fm and I was not sure if I should have added LinkedIN to the networks that I update with my personal information. Afterall, people expect LinkedIN to be strictly business, right?
That day I posted;
A very random post indeed. I received three times more responses, casual conversational responses, from my LinkedIN network than I did from any other network. That day I realized that the expectations from LinkedIN were changing and that since we are dealing with people and communities that are constantly evolving, we can never make assumptions about what content is expected or appreciated in the various networks. We actually have to get into the communities and participate to see what works.
For two plus years now I have used ping.fm to update all of my networks and I am often surprised to see which updates gets a reaction from each network. I have also started seeing a new trend which is going to affect how I measure the influence of a blog. When I post a link to my blog on my networks I am noticing that the responses are coming in a variety of forms, not just links to my blog or comments on my blog. People are responding to my blog posts on the status updates that mentioned the blog post.
Back to Justin’s concern about linking all of your updates together, which is a concern that I still share.
The other responses that I received from Friday’s update helped me see what is happening when it comes to content distribution. Many of the responses express appreciation for my observation and commented that they simply stop following such a person on twitter or block their updates in Facebook. I thought for a few hours about this. I have over 1000 people in my LinkedIN network, my personal policy is that I pretty much keep that network open to anyone who wants to connect with me, I prefer to keep Facebook limited to people I actually know, and on my personal Twitter I only follow people who I would hang out with on a casual basis. However not everyone that I would hang out with on a casual basis is on Twitter, many are connected to me on Facebook and several people I know are not on Facebook yet. So if I limit my updates to specific networks I would miss connecting with people I still want to connect with.
My response to Justin was;
Control of what content is consumed and where it is consumed is now in the hands of the consumer. We each have the power to customize our networks. If you follow my updates on Twitter you can block my updates in Facebook.
For those who develop communities this is important to note, you must give the power of personalization to your community members. If you are a content producer you must make sure your content is in various places at one time as well as is distributable so that your fans (and critics) can share your content within their chosen networks.
by Sherry Heyl
I was seeking inspiration for today’s blog post and Stacy Williams suggested that I write about Social Media Etiquette.
That is a topic that comes up often, and I never have real exact answers or any playbook that I use with the exception that social media etiquette is similar to regular ol’ business etiquette.
Basically we introduce ourselves to people we want to meet. We speak socially as well as explore where some synergies might occur. We share information of interests and as we get to know each other we might ask and or offer to introduce each other to people they “should know.”
Obviously spam is just plain wrong. This past week there was a spammer in my Ning communities writing on everyone’s wall that she just learned about these fabulous ringtones. That is outright spam. But so were the times when people were using google to search out blog posts about enterprise 2.0 so that they could post a comment to pitch their software. I let it slide on the first post they commented on but when the same comment hit a second post within the same day I had to politely ask them to not spam my site.
What other social media etiquette rules are broken too often?
Kristin Colier mentioned that
I don’t like to be followed in one tweet – and attempt to be sold something in the next… I mean – if you’ve got a great product – I might want to buy it once I see what you have to say… but … at least (as the old saying goes) buy me a drink first. (or a Dwink).
Justin Rubner says
Devoting too much of your Facebook account to marketing and too much of your Twitter account to mindless chatter.
I agree with both insights.
I also came across Greg Verdin’s blog expressing his frustration that people’s Facebook status updates are simply feeds from their Twitter account, and therefore are often without context.
That made me question about the technology that people use to make managing social networks easier to manage – such as automatic responses.
That also got me to thinking about non-responses. Many people have been surprised when I have mentioned to them that not only is it OK to comment after someone comments on your blog, but that you should comment.
Social Media has allowed us to have a dialog with each other on a mass scale without the limits of geography or time. But we still have many other limits that we have to keep in mind as we engage in online conversations.
When someone is speaking to me in person, I can make eye contact, smile, nod my head, and provide many other visual cues that let the other person know that I am listening. Online the only way a person knows you are listening is if you respond to their comments.
We also need to consider our “tone” or choice of words more carefully online. When we are commenting on other people’s blogs or on the walls of their social networks, we have to remember we are virtually coming into their space. We must be respectful. We also need to realize what we say is transparent for many people to read and interpret in many different ways, so we need to think about how our words might come across to many people. Words such as “you” can come across as accusatory, inside jokes that you and a friend share can come across as slander, and so forth.
Finally, one that came up for me recently is that we need to respect which communication tools people prefer to use. Some people really do want to keep their Facbeook profile just for close friends and family and should not feel obligated to allow co-workers and peers into their circle of friends. Believe it or not, not everyone is a huge fan of twitter and constantly connected. With so many communication channels available, we need to start asking the questions how would you like me to connect with you and what is your preferred method for communication?
These are only a few of the learning curves that we are facing as many personalities and cultures clash on the social world wide web. I would love to hear what you have encountered, what you find frustrating and/or questionable.
Also, here are a few other links I found with some helpful information;
by Sherry Heyl
As more and more people join sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or begin to follow blogs or find that Wikipedia is their primary reference, there seems to be more questions about social media than answers.
This past week I sat at a meeting where everyone in the room was on either LinkedIN or Facebook and everyone in the room agreed that social media was the best way to reach their audience. The challenge was coming to an agreement of what the best approach would be.
I sat and observed as everyone expressed what they felt would be the best approach, from LinkedIN groups to Facebook groups to blogs and branded networks. The disconnect that I witnessed was that everyone was focused on a traditional top down approach. The goal was to decide what the organization wanted to do and then push the strategy down to the people they were trying to reach. The challenge with that approach is that there are no real established rules, no standardized approaches for how people use Social Media.
- There are the early adopters, the people who jumped on Twitter in 2007 and created a community, uncovered uses for the tools and developed add-on applications to enhance the tool. These are people who are on to something new by the time the rest of us figured out that this was something called Twitter.
- There are the casual users who have figured out that they can re-connect with old high school friends on Facebook and maintain their rolodex on LinkedIN but have not really integrated social media tools in their world of business.
- There are the strategic hunters who are actively using social media to find business opportunities and to stay connected with what is going on.
- There are the “project managers” who use social media for specific projects, whether it is to promote a brand or to collaborate with a team and share information.
Many people use social media for more than one of the reasons listed above and they uses different tools, networks, and communities for different purposes.
The very next day I was at a business lunch and the question came up about best practices of “friending” people on each network. Many people see Facebook as the place where they can “hang out” with friends and family and are trying to keep work relationships out of that network circle, so if your organization is trying to promote an event simply in Facebook you will not be able to reach the people who have chosen to keep their network circle closed. Many people are on LinkedIN but for lack of real training on these networks, do not know how to do much more than set up a profile and make connections, so there are stumbling blocks to reach your audience there.
The top down approach to a social media strategy can only work if you are truly able to mandate and manage which networks people will be on and how to use them. In the meeting I spoke about how social media needs to be a bottom up approach. We need to find where people are and then go to where they are. The challenge with that approach, though, is as mentioned above, people have different reasons for being in their various networks and different levels of engagement in each network.
As I explained the situation to my husband he identified that the best approach is neither top down or bottom up, it needs to be a center-out approach. We need to establish our goals and purpose and then reach out (or syndicate content) to the various networks throughout the Universe of Social Media.
What really strikes me is that no matter what we are trying to do with social media, we really need to remember that we are trying to reach individuals, not masses of people, and we are trying to develop a relationship with each individual based on trust, respect, and value. As our attention becomes more and more scattered and fragmented throughout online networks the only way to truly reach people is to not worry so much about where our message should be, but to make sure our communications efforts become more personal/individualized as well as more focused on adding value to the lives of each individual.
by Sherry Heyl,
The most common question I hear in regards to social media is “how can a person manage all the social networks that they feel they need to be a part of?”
I have two answers. The first answer is technical. It has to do with the 2 things I call “the math equation you have to learn to go any further in Social Media; Syndication and Tagging.”
Syndication is how information is pushed or fed to another site. The most common example is subscribing to an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed which would be fed into an RSS reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines. This allows the subscriber to receive feeds from various sites into one place.
Most sites have RSS. Even Facebook status updates have an RSS feed. This means that you can pull all the information you want to keep up with into one place. Beyond that there are sites such as Friendfeed.com and Plaxo Pulse which allows you to subscribe to all your “friends” various networks in one place.
Tags are how content is organized on the web. Many sites allow you to subscribe to updates from a specific tag or category. This enables the subscriber to filter just the type of information they want to subscribe to.
However there is a lot more to consider than just how technology can assist in organizing all of your networks. Before you join a network – or ten, and try to figure out how to organize it all, you need to know why you are in those networks in the first place. Who are you trying to connect with and why?
Recently I am getting lots of questions about Twitter. More and more people are joining Twitter, but they do not know why. They are asking me why should they be on Twitter, what value will they get from it? My standard answer, not just for Twitter, but for all social media tools, is it depends on what you want to get from Twitter. Once you know what you are trying to get from a tool or network, then you will know which tool or network will be the most effective, you will know who you want to connect with, and you will know how to get value from your relationships. For example many PR people are finding Twitter a useful tool to stay in contact with the media. Many others use Twitter to stay connected with friends and family scattered throughout the country or world. Others use Twitter to stay up to date on the latest innovations and trends in their industry. But the reality is, most heavy Twitter users rely on Twitter for all of the above.
The thing about online social networks is they have become an extension to our offline social networks. If we stop and think about our offline relationships we can see how many relationships we have cross many different networks. We may play a sport with someone we work with or someone in our spiritual center. Our kids my play with the son or daughter of someone that happens to be a client. Our old high school friend may have just landed a job at a company that is a hot prospect. The reality is our offline relationships have very few boundaries, so it is a curious thing to try to impose such boundaries within our online networks.
The other fascinating challenge of online social networks is trying to decide “what to say.” Back to the Twitter example, a network that allows you 140 characters to make your point. How can a relationship be nurtured in only 140 characters, and the question asked more often, why do I care about the random bite sized thoughts and activities of others?
In our offline worlds we all have many different personas that we exhibit at various points during the day. We are all multi-diminsional and that is what makes us so captivating. The bite sized information feeds keeps the conversations going, allowing people in your network to see the various sides of your personality, to find the areas where there are common interests, and to respond, in their own bite sized information, to you. So, it is important that your online persona is just as multi-faceted and personalized as your offline persona.
But who will care? Again, this goes back to why are you there? You can be on LinkedIN and Plaxo for business, but it will still be OK to have a few friends and family connect to you there as well. You can be on Facebook re-connecting with old friends and staying connected with new friends, but it is perfectily fine to have a few clients connected to you there as well. Imagine how you can strengthen the bond you have with your clients as you learn the little details about them such as their hobbies, interests, favorite music, and so forth. Twitter is much more interesting when you are following your friends but can also keep you ahead of the curve when you need to follow trends or to know where the right place is at the right time.
Finally, no one should feel obligated to stay connected to each network all of the time. You do need to learn what you can do in each community and you do need to spend some time nurturing you networks, but once you have established your presence, you can step away if needed. Recently I confessed to a peer that I am rarely on Twitter anymore. When I need it, I know how to leverage it but right now I do not need to be in Twitter. I explained that just like we do not carry a hammer around with us all of the time, we only have a hammer when we need to use it, we do not need to keep up with every network online. However the trick is knowing the right tool or network to be in at the right time in the right way and with the right relationships.