Posts tagged ‘social media’
I’m currently prepping for my Northern Voice talk on “Finding Your Online Voice“. This post is the first of the series.
Since I figured saying, “Well, you start blogging and then, after a while, you find your online voice” might not be very inspiring to participants, I wanted to ask other bloggers (via a survey) about their process. Tomorrow I’ll be posting some of the cool responses I received.
As for me, my process was really trial and error (for both blogs – especially the humour one, which, as I’ve repeatedly stated, I nurture and feed much more consistently).
For Your Dose of Lunacy:
I really didn’t know what I would write about. I just knew that it was necessary to have a blog if I was to consider myself a person in-the-know about social media/technology. I had fancied myself a writer since I was a kid - and that wasn’t entirely an asset. My early writing was a bit too stilted and pompous (as far as I’m concerned), a little too long, and not very natural in tone.
I tried to write about the wacky occurrences that I had had in my life, and there’s still some of that in my blog, but I also realized that there were things I liked to rant about, and that I did that in general, in real life. And so I found myself ranting, but I really didn’t realize the theme until I read a description a friend of mine had written about my blog which described it as (something like) “amusing weirdness from the net”. I thought: “Really?! Well I guess I do write about that kind of stuff alot. OK then…” And an (admittedly very loose) theme was born.
For this one, Me Like The Interweb (which I started after the other, in order to somewhat separate the raunchiness from my business thoughts):
I originally considered doing (and probably did to some extent) what I thought was “de rigeur”. At the time, most seemed to be blogging about what they attended (be it conference session, webinar etc.), what they thought of it and what it made them think about on the topic. Also many would comment on items that were popular at the time. While that can be very valuable for those bloggers and their readership, especially if they had something astute to say on the subject, I really felt this wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. For one, I don’t have something smart to say about everything that happens – and certainly not succinctly. And secondly, I am too obsessive (and possibly long-winded) to put together a “quick” post that is still interesting and well-written. As such, writing is time-consuming and I have to pick my priorities.
So, unless I am really inspired to blog by a talk and/or feel there is something monumental to discuss about an event I attended, I won’t. This blog tends to be a bit of a brain dump – albeit it far more hygienic and organized than the inside of my head. I write more when I have a talk to give. Hence, these posts.
I can say that my Your Dose of Lunacy voice sounds much more like me – if you know me well, and catch me on a ranting day. (Also, I’m a little nicer in real life) This blog is my other half: more how I sound at talks, and when I’m being professional or introspective.
A critical thing I want to mention is: I never expect anyone to read my blog (at least not consistently) because of me. I really believe in the importance of the content, and overall write under the assumption that no one cares about who I am, and that the post better be interesting (or funny) even if they don’t know me or care anything about me.
What about you? Did you have a path to finding your online voice. Or did it just come naturally? Any tips?
P.S. I have a few comedy articles on Zug.com. The general theme of these concern FAILS in my life – and your reading will prove that they didn’t occur in vain…
(Note: This post was originally written for – and published on - OneDegree)
What constitutes an attack on the web and why does it happen?
Some situations are very clear while others can be interpreted differently from the angle at which one views or is participating.
One thing is certain, online communication may not parallel offline life. And it doesn’t always match the user’s “true self” or intent either.
A common rule of thumb in Computer-mediated-communication is that you view the other party as standing in front of you during the conversation. The inclination then is to be more careful, both in tone and in wording.
Psychologist John Suler refers to the online propensity towards the opposite as “The Online Disinhibition Effect” whereby people “act out more frequently or intensely than they would in person” (as well as self-disclose more).
The assumption with alcohol (which has a similar dis-inhibitory effect) is that we need help in loosening our tongue, and that the “true self” emerges under these conditions. Suler points out that that, in terms of online communication, this may not be the case:
“The self does not exist separate from the environment in which that self is expressed. If someone contains his aggression in face-to-face living, but expresses that aggression online, both behaviors reflect aspects of self: the self that acts non-aggressively under certain conditions, the self that acts aggressively under other conditions. When a person is shy in person while outgoing online, neither self-presentation is more true. They are two dimensions of that person, each revealed within a different situational context.”
Further, many consider making negative comments more acceptable and less severe than enacting such behaviors offline. One reason is that there are often no real world repercussions (especially when the commenter is anonymous) and for those wanting to bully it is a perfect vehicle.
I can’t see you …
But not all intents are as malicious, sometimes there is simply a “lack of awareness” for the other party’s emotions. Additionally, offline,“[t]he self-conscious emotions of shame, guilt and embarrassment” are shown to “play an important role both in regulating our everyday interactions and also alleviating interactions that have been disrupted.” But online it is easy to post harsh words as “[t]ext communication offers abuilt-in opportunity to keep one’s eyes averted.”
Avoidance of attacks or negative judgments is why some people choose to not post (for instance, a YouTube video, or not to have a blog), or why some may even opt to shut down their online presence on a social site pursuant to an onslaught of negativity. To consider the impact that just one “bad apple” can have, think about the way one person’s presence in the offline world can lend negativity to an environment. Just as a workplace can be tainted by the behavior of one colleague so can one’s interest in participating in online discussions be dampened by interactions with one person. What was once a comfortable and positive haven can rapidly morph into a minefield, one where a user may question each decision to post or spend unnecessary time dealing with a fallout.
Insult is in the eye of the beholder.
In a Master’s Thesis which studied of concept of “flaming” on YouTube , the author, Peter J. Moor, pointed out that interpretation was key. Just as in email, lacking knowledge of the sender and/or his/her body language leads to interpretation of message other than was intended. While some comments were made to insult the party, in some instances miscommunication was also present. Referring in this case to those posting videos on YouTube, though it can well apply to other forms of online communication (e.g. blog post comments, twitter responses etc.):
“posters may think too often that comments are primarily aimed at them, and they may think that comments are intended to be offensive or provoking when they are not. Also, they may interpret comments different from their intended purposes …”
A telling example discussed in the paper played out as follows:
“Thompsen describes how some of his ideas in a philosophical discussion are met with disagreement. The sender of the reply, who is called “B” and is known to Thompsen in real life, expresses his disagreement and ends his message with “Sorry, but knowledge/experience/reality in any formulation shouldn’t be subjected to that sort of crap.” (p. 54). Thompsen is not sure about the intent of this reply especially because the word “crap” is used. He feels frustrated and offended, which he makes clear in a reply to B. When B responds, it appears that his first reply had no offensive intent at all. Also, the word “crap” was wrongly interpreted as such: “Of the “crap” line, well, I have been hearing that line used about the kind of work I do for a long time now from hard-core quantitative types and I guess it just rubs off. Don’t take it personally.” (p. 61).” 
Another part of the thesis examined appropriateness of the communication, in that what one group would consider offensive another would deem completely acceptable. Within these communities, logically, the insult wasn’t, in fact, an insult. Interestingly, once we cross communities in any sense, we encounter these difficulties. But what constitutes a community? Family dynamics have some bearing on a person’s communication style (e.g. confrontation, non-confrontation). And different social circles have various way of interacting. Think for a moment of your circle of friends. You wouldn’t dare mix some of your connections – who wants to risk the fallout that could occur when “Gentle Dave” is faced with “Evil Steve’s” remarks?
Similarly, I have a friend with whom our method of affection is to insult each other as viciously as possible. It’s a game, a form of improv – and we’re aware of it . But were we to deal with everyone in this capacity, we’d soon find ourselves without work, or friends. Different jokes for different folks, I think they say. Since, we don’t know all folks and their different styles of communication, nor intent, what can we effectively surmise during online confrontations? And how do we instill an awareness of how things may be interpreted?
On to you.
[Part 3 will appear... soon]
 “The Online Disinhibition Effect“, John Suler (PDF)
 “The role of shame, guilt and embarrassment in online social dilemmas, Asima Vasalou, Adam Joinson, Jeremy Pitt (PDF)
 “The Online Disinhibition Effect”, Suler (as above)
 “Flaming on YouTube”, Peter J. Moor (PDF)
It’s been a very nice time for press. Stephen Hui recently interviewed me for the Georgia Straight’s “Geek Speak” column.
Thank you so much, Stephen!
It’s a tremendous honour to be in a spread with so many brilliant and amazing people.
(Note: This post was originally written for – and published on - OneDegree)
The internet keeps us tapped in and our lives are fuller for it. But, as we are all aware, online communication is a mixed blessing.
My kingdom for a context. Context is so critical – it can be absent from many online postings. What is the background? What happened right before that YouTube clip or what is really going on with that person? Why is there such hostility on a post comment? Further, we often lack nuance and information that clues us into intention, such as tone of voice, personality, relationship of involved parties, as well as facial expression and body language. We make instantaneous judgments – and they’re not always accurate.
Someone is being so passive aggressive right now. With the ability to vent publicly in a fast moving stream of communication, being passive aggressive just got a whole lot easier. The blurring of public and private lines complicates matters too. You’d like to vent about a coworker or about a recent conversation with a client, but the other party is following your communication, and so the message gets disguised. Sorta. Or you delude yourself into thinking that your words will propel another party into action. I have a friend who posts frequently on Facebook to her boyfriend about how she is feeling about their relationship. Only it’s not directed at him. And it’s thinly veiled. Still, something like, (and I’m making this up) “someone better clean up his act or he’s gonna get dusted” tells us everything – while accomplishing nothing.
Time is the friend. It is often said that time heals all wounds. Lack of time, in my opinion, rubs salt into them. Recently, I was part of an unfortunate public internet exchange. It was on a forum where I had a duty to address. The rapidity of the communication form created an urgency to respond. In the thick of it, I was lost on how to handle authentically and would have preferred time and space to process and act properly. Admittedly, I still might have made similar mistakes but, with time to consider, hopefully less.
To clarify, I’ll continue. And continue. Addressing matters publicly isn’t always effective – or the best option. True, social sites make it possible to have a open discussion and valuable debate. At the same time, it encourages protracted conversation. And with character limits not all of what needs to get said gets said. Which leads to more postings, which further escalates and creates that false sense of urgency.
In my quest to be more Replicant. backspace. logical, I frequently read psychology books and articles. (I also gave an informal talk on its relation to social media recently.) There are particular issues with the online space as well as offline problems that are heightened by online communication. This series looks at some of these in relation to social media. As well as some of the ways in which psychology proves the gains of our participation.
The series will begin April 1st.
Here’s a talk I gave on Tuesday for “Vancouver Social Media Professionals Meetup” with a title that just rolls off your tongue: “Fun with Psychology and Sociology – and how it relates to Social Media“.
If you can’t garner much about content via this slideshow, just assume it was brilliant. Or wait for the series I’ll be writing on the subject on OneDegree.
I recently attended SlideRocket’s webinar where Cliff Atkinson presented “The Backchannel: A Presenter’s Nightmare or Dream Come True?“. The session addressed:
- Yes, this is happening: people are Tweeting at conferences
- Specific examples of Twitter revolts during talks
- The value of engaging the backchannel (i.e. Twitter conversations during a talk) and how to do so more.
I’ve given, and attended, a number of talks and I have conflicting sentiments about the Twitter stream during presentations.
As a speaker, I am excited by the immediate feedback. Seeing a number of comments about a talk right after giving it is a wild and, oddly, comforting feeling. (I did something today, I think, and this proves it!) It is interesting to see which points, topics or stories particularly resonated with the audience. On the flip-side, I sometimes feel a bit dismayed when seeing something I said out of context. The context is often necessary to comprehend that what I said was meant in jest, or in order to render the statement “sensical”.
As a participant, the desire to connect with others in the session, to share the information with those not there, or to simply covey, “I am here in this session, doing something today”. (If you’re getting the sense that I may need to really prove to myself and others that I am accomplishing something, you may be on the right track.) At times, the information being broadcast helps those paying attention on Twitter get a sense of the presentation and its overriding points and message. But the conversation also takes away from the content of the talk, and from actually listening.
Here are just some of the pros and cons as I see them. Please feel free to contribute what you see as pluses or minuses.
Tremendous Oversimplification. 140 characters is not enough to tell a story, and sometimes not even enough to explain a point made.
Out of Context. As stated above, jokes or flip statement are the easiest for those not present to read and misinterpret. (“She thinks slaughterhouses are sexy?!”)
Missed information. The focus can become not on learning – but on sharing what you just learnt. And it’s easy to miss what the speaker is saying next while attempting to truncate their last statement. And, as Chris Pirillo put it so well: “The problem with people using Twitter during a presentation is that they are paying more attention to the voice that is in their head than they are to the voice on the stage.”
Distraction. An embarrassing story of my spaciness here (but we’re friends right?) : While at TEDxVancouver I tried to tweet occasionally, to mention that I like a talk or to put out a quick point. The conference had a few technical difficulties where some videos took a few moments to play etc. And so, after coming back from one of the breaks, I got on the Twitter and tweeted happily away. I heard some music play, and assumed they had switched it on while they got organized. When, after a few moments, I heard clapping the realization dawned on me in a painful way. The music had been a performance. Live. And I had missed it.
Noise/Randomness. Ah, yes, noise. The internet, and social media by extension, has that in fair supply. While watching (or capturing) comments on a particular talk, you will see information and notes about the talk, but you might also see things like “Trying to get to #BobSmith’s session, but stuck in transit. Wow, BCTransit bites!”. While this message might be (arguably) relevant and (certainly) true, it contributes nothing to the discourse/feed.
Too Easy to Criticize. It’s been said that “Everyone’s a critic”. And Twitter makes that all too easy. It’s there, it’s a channel to the public, and some don’t censor themselves enough. While these people are in the minority, the notion that everyone has a relevant opinion gives voice, quite literally to unnecessary and impulsive comments (“How could he be wearing that ‘Death Cab for Cutie’ shirt to a talk?!” or “I knew about the experiment he just referred to. Next.”)
Interactivity. If properly integrated into the talk, as Cliff Atkinson was mentioning, the result can (in some capacity) be a more engaged talk, and hence a more engaging talk. The questions, concerns and audience viewpoints taken into account might result in a stronger presentation – and one that really speaks to the people present. At the very least, you, as a presenter, can be aware of the concerns of the audience (this might work especially well if the session is one that breaks off – i.e. perhaps has a workshop and you can see what the audience is needing, missing.)
Stimulation. A good talk – like an insightful book – should occasionally take your brain on tangents. You should sometimes think about 1) is this true? I agree/disagree. 2) that reminds me of this experience I had/ heard about. There are times a speaker’s points will inspire trains of thought. This means notes and sometimes dialogue (easily accessed through Twitter/Backchannel. (Now, this may well be selfish of me: Talking time away from speaker to extrapolate a blog post. But I take my moments of inspiration where I can get them).
And, least I be misunderstood, I do love that there are people who tweet and, especially, take notes. Their hard work allows me to really listen to the talk – and be assured that there will be a place to find the important points when I later (without fail) forget 90% of what was said.
Share your rants and raves below, if so inclined.
At a recent meeting I attended, someone mentioned posting a video online and another person said: “And then we’ll just use social media to make it go viral”.
I’ve been reflecting lately about what I’ve learned about social media in the past few years. One is: social media doesn’t quite work that way. You don’t post a video and everyone flocks to see it because it’s on the interweb. Even significant promotion doesn’t mean it will take off like a rocket.
Your video/product has to be good. And, if that’s the case, then you have to have real connections, people you engage with, give to and who are receptive (to you or the product). And you have to have a promotion plan beyond just uploading/putting it out there. (Certainly there are exceptions.)
I asked a few extraordinary people to impart their social media “lesson” (for instance, something they discovered through their experience or how they’ve learned to explain it to their clients).
Here’s what they said:
Writer, marketer and technologist. Co-author of “Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook“
|The mistake that most organizations make is starting with the tools. They say “the competition has a Twitter account, so we need one too!” The tools should come last, not first. They should think through where their audience is online, what their objectives are, what strategies they should apply and then, finally, which tools or platforms to use (or whether they should create new ones).
Also, when marketing on the web, there are no magic beans.
Ari Herzog & Associates
Online media strategist and elected city councilor.
|Social media is not new. It was born long before Tim O’Reilly coined the Web 2.0 term and long before computers were born. I frequently attribute Canadian marketer Kneale Mann who once wrote about prehistoric cave paintings as one of the earliest indicators of social media. The hunter-gatherer tribes painted on the walls and orally told stories about the hunt, people asked questions, and conversations were sparked. The wall paintings and the stories were media and the people asking questions were being social. Has anything truly changed? The lesson for organizations in 2010, thus, is to not view social media as a vanguard concept but as a tested, tried, and true means of sharing. The key is in sharing. If you’re not sharing, you’re not being social.|
Social media and digital marketer
|When I’m working with clients, I have to remind myself that while social media may be my business, it isn’t theirs. They aren’t going to engage in social media all day. And they don’t need to know every last little detail about it. They want tools that will help them build their business. And if they are going to invest time and money in social media, it darn well better have a business return. And so every time I suggest a tactic, I’m keenly aware that they will be giving up time they spend on traditional marketing channels. I make sure we talk through the potential risks and rewards of social media programs and set realistic expectations – and determine if social media is actually the most appropriate channel for accomplishing their marketing objectives. Because believe it or not, sometimes social media marketing ISN’T the answer.|
Director of Marketing at Strutta and Bootup Labs
Videophile and technology advocate
|You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start. Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point. There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula. “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person. The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.|
Technologist, Online Marketer, Strategist.
|Talking to clients about social media is always an exercise in metaphors for me: Social networking is a digital cocktail party. LinkedIn is a business conference. Twitter is your individual headline news ticker. YouTube is your private tv station. In many ways the metaphors are silly and don’t fully explain the platform, but the point is that social media is nothing new. Social media is simply a set of tools that let us do things that are harder to do in real life, such as keeping up to date on what all of our colleagues, friends and family members are doing, exchanging business contacts and making friend-of-a-friend introductions.
The skeptical comments I often hear from clients are, “why do people spend time on this?” and “how can I benefit?” Any active social media user knows that these are the wrong questions. The answer is that people spend time on this stuff because it improves their ability to network offline, to gather information quickly and to establish relationships and to stay in touch.
The basis of a good social strategy is answering the questions, “what are my clients doing online,” “what makes their chosen social networks attractive to them,” “what social failure or real life challenge does this network solve,” and “how can I participate here in a way that adds value, that establishes a closer relationship to my customers, that let’s me stay in touch with their needs, and that, ultimately, is a reciprocal relationship?”
Share Select Media
Job Search Expert and Professional Blogging Consultant
One of my favorite lessons from using social media is that giving freely is a terrific way to meet someone, whether to just get their attention or even to become friends with them. For example, I became friends with someone very cool because he dugg a JobMob article and I made the effort to thank him, which he didn’t expect but appreciated.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your experience with social media. Please comment below or feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to contribute your insightful tip to a future post on the topic.
For more tips, you might want to take a look at the 3 Case Studies on my presentation: “Facebook, YouTube, Twitter: Oh My!“ (See slides 58 to 83.)
You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start. Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point. There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula. “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person. The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.
Apparently, when I get interviewed, I look like I’m being hypnotized for cult activities. Or perhaps it just seems that way from this freeze frame:
“Adding Value on Twitter“
Advice such as the frequent social media tip, “make sure to add value” often feels as daunting as “make a good impression” or, in my case, “don’t look so suspicious”.
Twitter is very much like street performing. You don’t have a captive audience, so you need to be as engaging as possible to get people to stop, watch the show and stick around.
Ask yourself, what can you offer that would be beneficial to others? If you make an effort to provide real content, you’ll give people more reason to pay attention – and see you as a person of “value”.
- It’s not all about you. Understand that while you have an agenda for being on Twitter – no one else’s aim is to find you friends or send business your way. Don’t wax poetic about your life or to promote yourself ad nauseum.
- Examine your Bio/profile. Who you are is a big reason people follow you. Based on that, figure out what those people might want to learn or gain. And be sure to allow your personality to shine through. While what you say is important, how you say it is even more so.
- Share your experience. Understand that the social component is the beauty of this medium. It’s often about people helping people. Respond to questions when you can – even if they’re not specifically directed at you. If you’ve had an outstanding experience with a company or person – mention it. Did you recently go to an exceptional event or hear of a great cause? Allow others to benefit from what you’ve learned.
- Be clear. When you Retweet a message clarify why others should care. Begin your tweet with the explanation (“Insightful post!”, “I support this great cause” or “This article on marketing to chimps confounds me”).
- Don’t make it difficult. Consider the articles you read today that intrigued you or brilliant posts that you’ve bookmarked on Delicious.com sometime ago. Is there a blog you follow often because it is just that insightful – or even because it enrages you? Share your knowledge with the Twitosphere.
The online word is not so different than the offline one. You quickly tune out when someone is too self-aggrandizing or doesn’t say anything of interest to others. So, give others a reason to stay tuned in. And try not to look so suspicious.