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I feel the earth move under my feet October 28, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, intent, social networks, strategy.
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5 comments

There’s so much talk about platforms – Facebook-this, Twitter-that, more specific but no better than loose conversations about blogging or podcasts. I overheard someone say “It’s OK, there’s a slide on Twitter in the client deck”, which stopped me in my tracks. These tools are not the kinds of things that make sense when being described; who in their right mind would want to tolerate 140-character updates among a sea of people you barely knew? It in no way describes the vibrancy of using Twitter, nor the opportunities inherent in it.

Your friend and mine Tim Beveridge has a great saying: in order to understand change, you have to be part of it (it probably isn’t his saying, but I’m not sure where he got it from, so it’s his now).

The point is the best way to explain Twitter to somebody is to take 30 seconds to sign them up, another two minutes to follow some people they might be interested in, and then sit back and let them have at it. On the (often false) assumption you have a strategic reason for using Twitter, if your client doesn’t already use it then paying it lip service is not going to get you anywhere. Only by engaging  do people actually understand, or as I just commented over at AVC, being heard is not enough, you must also be understood.

Starting a strategy conversation by talking about a platform is a recipe for disaster. It is like deciding what kind of house you are going to be build based whatever hammer you have handy. It needs to begin with intent. Every. Single. Time.

For those who’ve just joined us here by way of Digital Strangelove, thanks so much for stopping by. We’re going to keep talking about intent for a bit, at least until the rest of the world starts to understand the power of it.

Image courtesy of onkel_wart, with thanks to compfight.

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On to the next one (Commented on “Gary Vaynerchuk”) September 24, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, digital strategy, social media, technology.
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1 comment so far

Seems everything is moving so fast right now, I’m finding it hard to take the time to write. So instead I’m trying to read more, comment, and where I can bring those comments back onto this blog. I wish WordPress had a Disqus plug-in for their hosted sites (which is what this one is) as that would mean we could continue the larger conversation wherever we were, unfortunately they bought a Disqus competitor, so that is unlikely.

Your friend and mine Gary Vaynerchuk posted a video saying social media wasn’t the “seasoning” to the changes going on, it was the steak. I have a slightly different take on this, which I commented on. Watch the video then see below.

I feel like the “steak” is made up of so many things though, of which social is a part of.

Or to put it another way, we’ve operated under the guise of the Internet being, well, the Internet, and “social” being a part of that.

The reality is the web is *inherently* social, and given every business must have a presence online, every business is now missing something core if they don’t have a social aspect to what they do.

In the ridiculous growth that we’ve seen the web go through, I think we’ve confused maturity with expansion. We’re still figuring out exactly what this beast is, but I think we can assume bringing people together and giving them something to do is not going to go away.

So, here’s to the steak. I wonder what else it comes with? =]

Originally posted as a comment
by davidgillespie
on Gary Vaynerchuk using DISQUS.

This is an echo of something I said to Fred Wilson last November which he re-blogged here, which is itself an eho of a post I made last October. Social media is not part of the web, it is the web. The sooner we all realise that, the sooner we get onto the next thing.

And as a fan of buzzwords and technology, I always love the next thing.

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Let’s give them something to talk about July 6, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, technology, work/life.
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4 comments

So while waiting for Toronto‘s subway system to get its act together this morning, I caught Clay Shirky‘s latest online lecture, given as part of the TED series. The title, “How Twitter, Facebook and cell phones can make history” does a lousy job of conveying the depth of information and the ideas contained within. Back in November I touched on issues around social media and the gross misunderstanding of what was important in this new revolution, making the following statement:

It is a period that will forever be known as a time where it became as easy to create content as it was to consume it. THAT is the important part of what is going on.

Now, I’m on the record as being a fan of smart people agreeing with me, and in this case, Clay’s latest talk is bang on the money.

The moment we’re living through is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.

He says it far more eloquently than I, granted, and the rest of his talk is loaded with fantastic insights and examples of how technologies, once ubiquitous, develop interesting uses (and not the other way around). The TED Talk is below. Enjoy, then go change the world.

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Make your problem somebody else’s November 18, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, marketing, social media, web 2.0.
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2 comments

Experiences facilitated by brands but not about brands – David Gillespie (broken record).

Entertainment, content of all shapes and sizes, offline, online, anywhere you like it. The problem could be a lack of conversation, and when you give the community around your offering the tools and platforms to make themselves heard, you take a step towards something much bigger than where you’ve been before. As I said when I called social media out, the exciting thing about where we are in our digital evolution is for the first time in our history it is as easy to create content as it is to produce it.

So what are you doing with this opportunity?

User-generated content was the first ham-fisted attempt to do something creative in this space, but it is only going to get better as organisations get more comfortable with the conversation going on about them. There is no silver bullet when trying to harness the enthusiasm of your tribe and align it with an organisation’s goals, this quote from Henry Jenkins though will steer any effort in the right direction:

The key is to produce something that both pulls people together and gives them something to do…I don’t have to control the conversation to benefit from their interest – Henry Jenkins – MIT

If your problem is nobody knows about you, make that the community’s issue and give them a reason to talk. Rally the tribe and give them purpose, make your anonymity their problem, let them solve it in their way. If you’ve been good to them along the way, they will reward you more than your own efforts ever will.

Image courtesy of paf triz, with thanks to compfight.
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As she rises to her apology August 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in conversation, digital strategy, intent, social media, web 2.0.
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2 comments

Somewhere early Sunday morning (sober, I swear Mum!) I was talking to a friend about intent, and the revelation of intent through actions. She suggested action wasn’t enough, that consistency was required. Consistency then perhaps becomes the actual revealer of intent – or at least of priorities.

You can have the best intentions in the world, but your priorities will always one-up you with a slow reveal (or sometimes not so slow) of what your true intentions were.

This is no where more prevalent than corporate intrusion into social media spaces, where increased sales is the intent, revealed by the lack of consistency (which itself a form of consistency I suppose). I’ve actually been talking clients down from the social media ledge recently on account of so many other aspects of their online being fundamentally flawed. I’m always amazed at an organisation’s willingness to drop $50,000 on a “viral” campaign while being happy to ignore things that are fundamentally wrong with their main website.

The fact is we used to call social media “community management”, and much the same way that had a dedicated employee playing that role, social media requires the same. Companies who want to get involved have to ask themselves how much they want to get involved, and how much they’re willing to invest in it. It will only work if you are consistent, you can only be consistent if it is somebody’s job to handle every day.

If you’re not willing to hire someone to do the day-to-day on your organisation’s social media, to deliver consistency, you need to pick a different game to play.

Tomorrow we’ll look at why the barrier to entry is more than a 30-second spot (and why that’s a good thing).

Image courtesy of spud murphy, with thanks to compfight.