I gave a talk at a recent event where I defined two different types of communities based on content and relative freedom. These two communities were “Free” and “Specific.” Allow me to explain in more depth. Read More
Interesting how it takes polarizing viewpoints to sometimes find the more nuanced center. Richmond BizSense’s Aaron Kremer, with the unsurprisingly shocking title, “Why I still hate Twitter” recounts how he went from being booed about his stance to proving himself right. (Meaning: he went from “hate” to “still hate.”)
Full disclosure: I use Twitter. I am not always a very frequent user and I tend to go in spurts based on subject, speaking with audiophiles during Bonnaroo season, consumer electronics around CES, social media news and my adventures in fatherhood pretty constantly. Also, I sometimes advocate the use of Twitter by businesses when it is appropriate. There are lots of reasons to dive in if your targets are there, and especially if their influencers are (the latter being the most important when you consider Twitter’s recent effect on SEO and that many Twitterers send their posts to Facebook as status updates, further making a Tweet sail to readers). Similarly there are many reasons you might not want to engage in Twitter, from a lack of targets to time to engage and more.
I applaud Kremer’s tackling of the subject and his courage to dive in despite his publicly unpopular preconceptions. What I find strange is the way he set up his test case. He followed only 50 people.
After stopping at 50 people he concludes:
My study is complete, and it’s just as I thought: a waste of time and completely useless for business unless you want to reach lots of marketing people.
Now, if you just look at the top 50 Twitterers in Richmond according to Twitter Grader, you’ll see that it is filled with marketers. That’s a complaint I have of Twitter in our town as well, but it’s the price you pay for being a major southeastern city with one of the nation’s top advertising agencies – the marketing culture will be early and voracious adopters.
But that top 50 list is also filled with Kremer’s media competition, local businesses and more. Lists curated by other Richmond media sources peg hundreds of frequent local Twitterers, the majority of which aren’t marketers from what I can tell. A new local business, presumably the target of BizSense, seems to join Twitter every week. Here’s two different lists by RichmondGL that contain nearly 900 Richmond Twitterers.
So it’s a statistical marvel that in three months he, “did not find one helpful piece of information that I could use for a news story or even something that made me smile.” I’m not sure what three months he was on, whether he saw the way Richmond took to Twitter during the Ukrops sale, Flying Squirrels, or if he ever noticed that every morning Twitter spreads links of his news stories. Maybe it takes a lot to make him smile.
His comments on the experience, or more pointedly his comments on his opinion (he doesn’t actually detail his experience past a few sentences) belie a focus only on his strange sample of the Richmond scene. He claims it’s for “teens” and yet Richmond teens are minority of our local Twitter culture – I would venture to guess that the local pet culture online is even a stronger presence.
The good news is, Twitter is just a potential channel, just like BizSense and email publications are. Many local entities have found regional, state and national benefit using current internet culture as a driver for sales. I think I just expected a more thorough (and less inflammatory) “study” by BizSense considering they are a publication based in that other medium used by teens, “email.”
UPDATE: I think everyone should see for themselves what his “study” looked like here. Certainly there wasn’t any Tweeting for three months straight (not even consecutive months) and his last Tweet was in October of last year. Only twenty-nine Tweets total, most in June and July, one in August and then the four in October. No conversations with other people. More to his blog post’s point, here’s his list of 49 he followed.
I posted a comment that hasn’t been approved (or was deleted) in reference to all of the comments on the original story:
I’m not sure which is more hilarious, that we’re debating the usefulness of a tactical medium, or that we’re doing it on something tagged, “blog” on the website of an email newsletter of news story links, where all of the respondents have written short-form responses while standing agape and pointing at this horrible Twitter concept full of short form responses that frequently link to blogs, news stories and newsletters.
If the signal of a medium is to be judged against the noise, I’m pretty sure BizSense doesn’t want to have that fight inside the realm of email.
Pot, Tweet Kettle.
P.S. I guess this is why BizSense didn’t pay any mind to my want to get Richmond’s business adoption of social media as a story worthy of year-end focus. :)
My suggestion for Richmond BizSense’s stories-of-the-year:
I think I’d have to say that there are some obvious Richmond-related stories of the year (recession, Flying Squirrels, Ukrops, blizzard) but I would be remiss not to point out that 2009 was the year that social media really conquered Richmond. Not meaning just social media “gurus” squeezing tightly around the tactics, but a true floodgate open of the average consumer, non-profits and small to large businesses hitting the ground running. So much so that every one of your likely year-end events has a traceable footprint in social media due to the buzz or bust the news created or the ineptness of some to respond quickly or appropriately to the activity. It mirrored an adoption rate (in the public sense) of the rest of the country, but Richmond, as always, tends to do things its own way and at its own pace. Consider that one of the most surprising and swiftly-large, multi-generational Richmond groups is the brand-new Social Media Club of Richmond (SMCRVA) who routinely sells out their excellent events despite having come into existence seemingly out of thin air, even before Ashton Kutcher and Oprah put their hands in social media.
Even though this is coming from me, I don’t mean for this to be an all-glowing, positive take on social media as a story-of-the-year. Social media is what it is, defined by the online community and real-life cultures it reflects. Richmond learned some lessons this year in its embrace, but the starkest one was clear: this is a medium run by the people. Businesses of all shapes are just guests. As I tell those I teach for the Virginia Department of Business Assistance or the day-long workshops at University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy (two types of classes that show you the reach of emerging media in Richmond): make sure you listen first before you get into this space at all, because the party has already started. We don’t own the house where the party’s at, and nobody needs us to get to or from the event. In 2009 the party was joined by such a massive amount of Richmond in some way, from a surge of LinkedIn and Facebook joiners to individual restaurants within hotels being on Twitter, that it certainly warrants its place at the table among any other respected medium for our region — like it or not.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday full of family, food, football…and in this case, social media. I have created a social media guide to Thanksgiving, with 5 picks to make sure you have a tech savvy, and of course, a Happy Thanksgiving.
Bring social media and giving together this Thanksgiving- with Tweetsgiving (@Tweetsgiving). Tweetsgiving is a global celebration created by Epic Change that is scheduled for November 24- 26, 2009. The whole idea is to give thanks using social tools and give back to a common cause.
You can participate by attending a gratitude party, spreading gratitude on the web, or by hosting a house party: http://bit.ly/1VoyKS
Tweetsgiving in Richmond through Social Media Club: http://tweetsgivingrva.eventbrite.com/
There are tons of free, pro football apps (the one I use is Pro Football Live) that you can get scores with- so you won’t have to miss a touchdown while at the table on Thanksgiving.
Also, NFL online has your Football guide for Thanksgiving day. Here’s the line-up:
Packers Vs. Lions
12:30 pm on Fox
Raiders Vs. Cowboys:
4:15 pm on CBS
Giants Vs. Broncos:
8:20 pm on NFL Network
If you love technology as much as I do, you’ll want to know what deals are out there on all the latest and greatest high tech gadgets…especially on Black Friday.
I’m sure your Thanksgiving menu is almost complete, but if you find yourself in need of a last minute recipe, you can turn to Facebook or your iPhone for help.
The Food Network on Facebook has a whole page dedicated to recipes for Thanksgiving. You can even “attend” an event called “RSVP for Food Network Thanksgiving” and get special planning tips and recipes.
Embrace Thanksgiving, Socially.
Are you a fan of Thanksgiving? If so, literally become a fan…on Facebook.
Love Turkey? Follow @Butterball on Twitter.
Other ways to embrace social media on Thanksgiving:
• Send your friends and family special Thanksgiving wishes via Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace
• Post your favorite pictures from Thanksgiving on Flickr
• Check-in on FourSquare while running around on Black Friday