Monday, December 22, 2008

No such thing as a social media expert

This blog is titled “Top 25 ways to tell if your social media expert is a carpetbagger”. 

I could probably list about a million other ways to tell if your social media expert is a carpet bagger (they work from home, they offer free services, they rely solely on you “trusting them”), so this blog doesn’t really tell you anything that new, useful or interesting.  If this blog wanted to actually say something-it would list ways to make sure your social media expert is NOT a carpetbagger.  But that’s not what they did, and here is my beef:

From my perspective-any social media “expert” is a carpetbagger.  Social Media is still being defined, shaped and developed.  It is not a tangible thing-so to be an expert in it is a silly thought.  It’s like being an expert of the paranormal-it’s measuring something you can’t see, feel or measure-so instead these so called “experts” measure indicators like electro-conductivity in the paranormal sector or impressions in social media. 

Just because you have impressions does not mean that you have ROI, just like if a room has a high electro-conductivity, that does not mean you have a ghost.

The last time I checked-there was no set standard, no regulating group and no universal way to measure social media.  Therefore, since success can’t be defined-how can anybody be an expert?



Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't like iLike

I read these easy instructions from a website about adding music to your blog:

iLike: Add a soundtrack to your blog

December 5, 2008permalink

Sometimes we stumble across gadgets that are just too cool to keep to ourselves. And such is the case with the slick iLike gadget, which should be a real treat for all of you Blogger audiophiles out there.iLike brings music to your blog by letting you embed and share playlists that you make yourself. Using their simple interface, you can organize and arrange your tunes, then seamlessly integrate them into your blog's sidebar.

To get started, head on over to the playlist editor and build up your list of tunes from the iLike database. When you are finished, simply click the orange 'Done!' button at the bottom of the page, and you will be taken to a preview of what your playlist will look like on Blogger.

If everything looks good, click the orange 'Add to Blogger' button to go to Blogger's Import Page Element Page (if not already signed in you will be prompted to do so.) Then choose the blog which you want to have the playlist, and click 'Add Widget.'

The iLike gadget will now show up in your blog's page elements editor for you to arrange as you wish. Pretty cool, eh?

Keep in mind though that playlist editor feature of iLike is still technically in beta, so the usual caveats apply. However, if you are feeling extra entrepreneurial you could help out the iLike dev team by answering their quick survey.

— Brett

Now, if you are reading this, you are on my blog, and will notice a lack of music.  Perhaps it's the functionality of iLike, or maybe it's the music Gods frowning on my choice of Beyonce's "Single Ladies".  Whatever the reason, right now I don't like iLike.  

Monday, December 8, 2008 is not scary

 A lot of people are scared of web 2.0, but what most people don’t realize is how easy and not scary it is to use and learn.  There is so much mystery around web 2.0, that if you know just the smallest amount of basics, you suddenly are credited as a maven or expert.  In reality, it is painfully easy to learn the basics, and set yourself apart from the masses. 

I’m going to discuss social book marking.  Working in the industry, I was confused about what that social book marking meant.  I knew that you could bookmark sites on your toolbar, but what were sites like Digg or 

Partly because I was bored at work, but I decided to open a account-to see what the big deal was.  I opened an account, but didn’t know what it did, or why anybody else would want to open an account. 

After about a month on, and really only using it once, I have a basic understanding of social book marking. lets you “bookmark” your favorite websites.  You do this under the “Bookmarks” tab.  Basically what is, is a list of your favorite websites.  This comes in handy when there are so many that you have to remember.  Some might also be technical, or have weird numbers/letters in them, so this makes it easier to access because remembering www.employer.example/fakeid3874943 can be difficult. 

Why is this a good/useful feature?  Why not just write down all of your websites on a piece of paper, or save your bookmarks to your browser toolbar at work?  Well, you might wash your piece of paper, or loose it-and you can access at any computer, not just your work computer.

There is also another feature called “People”.  This lets you follow other people’s bookmarks.  I see why some people might use this feature, but personally I prefer my privacy and don’t really care what other people are looking at. 

Lastly, there is a “Tag” tab.  This lets you group/organize your websites.  For instance, you can save your work calendar, or work e-mail log in page-and save them both under your “Work” tag.  If you collect recipes, and you have a bunch of cookie and cake recipes-you can create “cookie” and “cake” tags.

Advertisers also measure how many times their website is bookmarked, so there is another use for social bookmarks, although that is more for agency purposes, and less for individuals. 

Overall, I can see the utility of social book marking, and think that this is another trend that is only going to grow as more and more tech savvy youngsters step into the digital world.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Social Media experts

David Amano is a VP of Experience Design at Critical Mass, and also has a widely followed blog audience and twitter group.

Yet in Amano’s latest blog, he admits that he is not an expert.

I find this view very refreshing, and honest and respect Mr. Amano tremendously for it. 

Social media is a new medium.  There are no set definitions and no set standards, which makes it terribly difficult to rate anything.  Now there are some indicators of success (number of views, number of impressions, number of pass alongs or followers) however the technology is changing at the speed of light.  As soon as one indicator is defined and put into use, it seems to be outdated as something more new and accurate replaces it. 

Because of this changing medium, it makes if technically and physically impossible for anyone to be an expert in social media.  Granted, a person might know more about social media than another person, but they are not an “expert”. 

If I am a client, or an agency and am looking at expanding my social media department or spend, I would be extremely wary of anybody proclaiming to be an expert.  The social media movement has not been around long enough for anybody to gain enough experience to qualify themselves. 

If Mr. David Amano, who is considered successful by most of the current indicators of success in social media does not even consider himself an expert, I throw caution to anybody who does claim to be an expert.  

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aggregating Social Networks

Social networks.  There are a ton of them.  Personally, I use Facebook, have an old account on Myspace that I don’t use anymore because of the adds, an outdated profile on Linkedin and I’m on Twitter and delicious just to be on them.

When you are on multiple social networks, it takes up a lot of time trying to update each one. So lucky us, there are few new aggregating websites that attempt to tie all of your accounts together:

Loopster-this acts like an RSS feed for all your accounts

ProfileLinker-this is a single interface to all of your social networking accounts allows you to update your profile, pictures, feed etc., but you won’t receive other peoples updates acts as one central log in to all social networks.  You can post and receive information.   However, this site it has a lot of disclaimers about using your image for advertisement purposes.

Facebook Connect takes it one step further.  Facebook Connect allows members to log onto Facebook’s partner sites (Discovery Channel, Digg, Genealogy network Geni and Hulu) with their Facebook log in and see their Facebook friend’s activities on those sites. Obviously there are some privacy concerns here: 

Girlfriend to boyfriend: “Why are you watching ‘Arrested Development’ on Hulu when you told me you had to stay late at the office?”—And that’s a PG version of what I am sure will ensue. 

Friendfeed-this lets you get a feed of what your friends are sharing online, like news articles, pictures, videos etc.  Again, please look at my privacy concern above.   I can already imagine the fighting because partners are seeing what their other half actually do on the internet.

I personally have issues with these services.  For one thing, they’re trying to link personal identities, instead of documents, which is what Yahoo and Google and other search engines manage. Search engines do a decent job linking documents-but they are not able yet to pick up on the nuances of personal identities.  Heck, people can’t even pick up on the nuances of personal identities, and we’re the ones creating them! So to me, using a search engine algorithm to link personal identities is an impossible goal.

Secondly, all of these sites are trying to make a social medium into an advertising medium.  I think that advertising on social networking sites is for the most part invasive and unwelcome.  It would be like listening to a commercial every time you pick up your telephone. Social networks are simply a way for people to communicate-which is more similar to a telephone than to a television, or newspaper-which is how marketers are looking at it.