Sunday, 22 February 2015

Shapes Of Things Before My Eyes ; Social media cul de sac, Sharing content a la Dale Carnegie & Zuckerberg looks to the future

The unstoppable rise of social media and it's usefulness, has been increasingly prevalent in the last five years. More significantly, once facebook floated ( the IPO - initial public offering- was on the 18th of may 2012) onto the stock market with such a phenomenal valuation, it opened the eyes and minds of all the other tech companies in the same pool. Twitter followed suit and Alibaba.com had the biggest IPO at $25 billion. That's a lot of money for something in a category that was once derided and blamed for the stock market slump of 2001, also known as 'the dotcom crash'.

Whilst there's thankfully little danger at present of such a scenario happening again, it's interesting to note that social media marketing has had an increasing amount of dissent  poured onto it, in the last year or so :-

To Be Blunt, a Lot of Your Social-Media Marketing is Getting You Nowhere

CopyBlogger made an interesting decision to not use facebook as part of their marketing strategy anymore. And it wasn't a knee jerk decision either :-

Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page

A bold move in the face of current trends? Maybe not. This isn't the first time I've heard that people are drilling down regards the marketing strategies on social media, and I dare say it won't be the last.

The primary reason given, is the old Click-Check problem. There's a swathe of click-farms out there, all waiting to help you generate popularity on your page or presence. In real terms, however, they amount to a risky self-deception, both in the short term and the long run. For those not in the know, click farms are where you can pay for 1000, 10000 or even 1000000 followers or likes etc, and this is done to improve your 'social standing' amongst other corporates. This in turn has a halo effect on brand value, pricing and so on.

The trouble is that it's use has become so openly prevalent in the last year or so, that the game is up and the joke has worn thin. The lack of actual engagement, follow up and interactivity are the clearest signs of click-farm troubles. However, you don't even have to be a willing part of the scenario in order to end up being targeted by such third parties. I've had all manner of 'bot' ( robot) style, data farm/ data mining accounts follow me on twitter in the last 12 to 18 months, and I wrote the 'click check' article referenced in the above paragraph, as an 'en garde', just in case anyone else out there was going through the same. The signs are pretty obvious and I've covered this in the article.

Clearly, the whole point of using social media is to win friends and influence people. But you don't have to resort to 'buying them' in bulk :-

How to Win Friends and Influence People (While Sharing Social Content)

The Dale Carnegie flavoured vibe here is not to be sniffed at, and is all valid and actionable. In effect, keeping criticism, condemnation and complaints online to a minimum, pays dividends. This doesn't mean you should entertain an anodyne, plasticised version of yourself by any means, but no-one likes a moaner. Unless of course, it's for comedic effect.

Sustaining a stream of whinges online of the 'woe is me' variety, should be best dealt with offline first. I try NOT to go online if something isn't right in my life, as although I love interacting on the interwebs, I find it a bit odd and slightly gauche to be throwing 'I'm down' stuff out there before I've had a chance to deal with it and move on in the physical world.

Thinking ahead is key in the world of technology and even more so with social media developments. Mark Zuckerberg isn't a man to rest on his laurels :-

Mark Zuckerberg's Grand Vision for the Next 10 Years of Facebook

With over 760 million users of facebook per month ( at the time of writing), it's with a large degree of confidence that Zuckerberg can soldier onwards and create a vision that encompasses VR ( virtual reality) technology integration, publishing of magazine and newspaper content, and much more besides. In effect, the only thing stopping him and his team will be the competition that he knows about, and those who are waiting in the wings trying to find a way into the scene, in order to get as big as the menlo park outfit. A tall order, considering the size and scale of facebook as an operation, but anything is possible in the world of social media technologies.

The other potential thwart, may be international laws and  practices. Witness the ever increasing dissent regards data privacy and consent (or lack of), with regards to it's useage and manipulation. Which in itself also brings me back to the start of this post, and the choices that lie ahead for many social media users, both on a personal and corporate level. How much to engage and where best to put those energies, will require a bit more thought, patience and strategising before the markers and flags are put down.

Social media engagement and the pay-off, are no longer as instantaneous as they used to be, due to the sheer volume of users creating their own stories and tribes. That means continual rethinking, regular innovative content and most importantly patience, are now the order of the day to get results.

And of course, a smidgeon of good karma and luck, helps to seal the deal. Reciprocating kindness and passing the gratitude onwards, is always a good thing.

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