Frequently, when I promote the advantages of social media to current and prospective clients, I hear the dismissive reply – “Oh, we don’t need this, since our customers are not on social media.” This is mildly horrifying to me, because I believe that any business, big or small, should know of all the marketing avenues available to them, especially one as expansive and inexpensive as social media. I recently found some great data that I will use to give more weight to my arguments for social media in the future. As you can see, every demographic is represented on all major social media sites. And more than half are over 35 (LinkedIn >75%, Twitter and FaceBook >60%), demolishing another myth that social media is only for the young.
Recently, I read an article which spoke about Lifelogging – the digital documenting of a your life. That is, you constantly record, either through audio or videos, every action or conversation that occurs in your life. Gordon Bell, a senior researcher at Microsoft, points out that there are millions of people who are already pouring out their lives onto social networks and Twitter; lifelogging is the ‘next step.’
There are several tools already available for the self-observing data-hound. A pen from Livescribe turns notes into digital images and records minutes from conversations and meetings. A data service called Evernote allows people to file away anything they want into a gigantic digital drawer.
Having an electronic memory could be useful in many cases. Having an electronic backup for your words and actions will prove useful in a lawsuit, for example. In a sense, lifelogging is a fact of life for many corporations, who have to necessarily record every little detail to counter today’s increasingly demanding tax, legal and compliance requirements. However, use of your data by someone else could result in an invasion of privacy, an increasingly vexing question when it is getting easier for Big Brother (Government or Employer to electronically monitor you.
Lifelogging seems to me to have many of the qualities of Facebook – it is exciting to awaken pleasant memories of long ago that you may have forgotten (just as it is to encounter on Facebook a long-lost but dear friend), and yet – does the world really need to know what one did in excrutiating detail (I had cereal for breakfast: 21 people like this…. as in some Facebook profiles I know)?!
Recently, I read a news article about an employee of eBay, who had begun tweeting on his company’s blog about the quarterly earnings calls and other topics. This made eBay’s lawyers jittery, and they required the blogger to include certain disclaimers in his posts.
This incident highlights the tensions that can arise as companies jump on the bandwagon of social media, a medium hitherto used in an informal and social way by individuals primarily. As more and more organizations sponsor their own blogs and Twitter a/cs, they bring with them a more ‘corporate’ approach, which does not necessarily gel well with the spontaneity and openness of the networks. While the hallmark of the social media networks so far has been its transparency and personal touch, a too-frank or open blog or comment about the company can run the risk of running afoul of the authorities, say for the disclosure of insider information.
So I wonder which way the wind will blow – will the company blogs adopt the informal and immediate approach of a social blog, or will the blog turn into another ponderous vehicle of information, lacking vivacity and being boringly safe?
The results of the national elections to vote a new government in the world’s largest democracy have thrown a few surprises. The Congress, one of the two national parties, has exceeded its own expectations and is all set to form the new government with its allies, while the BJP, the other national party has done far worse. One aspect of BJP’s camapaign was the use of online and mobile marketing to project their prime ministerial candidate, Advani (inspired by Obama’s campaign of course!). BJP reportedly spent in excess of $10 M for this.
The party created a good website, resorted to blogging, online forums, ads and SEM; all this was much written about and analysed. However, it failed to deliver.
What could be the reasons? This was a campaign obviously targeting the middle class and the internet savvy population who form a very small proportion of the 700 + million voting population. While the campaign was a successful activity ( drawing about 60000 or more unique visitors daily), it did not deliver the desired outcome it appears, looking at the way the party fared in the polls. For one, Obama’s strategy gelled well with his youthful image, while in Advani’s case it could have been a way to project a youthful image ( Mr Advani is 81 years old) and that perhaps did not resonate as much.
Two, with the electronic media doing 24X7 coverage of the elections, the educated middle class anyway had their fill of election news. Was there a need for yet another vehicle to target the same niche audience? I am not so sure.
Thus, while the orchestrating of the campaign was commendable, perhaps the concept was not right for India and for the candidate.
Would welcome any alternate viewpoints on this………
I was reading in the WSJ (Feb 3, 2009) yesterday, about how people, with so much time on their hands due to job losses, are turning to the Internet, not just for employment searches, but also to try and find ways to fill their time. Seeking social anesthesia from the stress of unemployment, people are turning to social media sites like LinkedIn to build up or reconnect with business contacts. Facebook is also seeing increased activity, as people seek to reconnect with old friends who spell familiarity in these uncertain times.
It is usual that there is a surge in online usage during traumatic times. There were bursts of Internet activity during 9/11, and also during the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, when many people went online to express their concerns and feelings. In such situations, people turn to Internet discussions groups, like blogs and other social media tools, as they sort out with others the enormous changes in the world around them.
The loneliness of being out of the workplace is in part mitigated by the support offered by these Internet groups. The loss of jobs has meant that people cannot afford costly therapy and other forms of escape, like travel, etc. they are hence blogging and reaching out to others to learn how to handle the uncertainty.
Another new use for social media networks?