Posts Tagged 'Social Media Walls'

Tailor Your Social Media Strategy to Your Industry’s Rules of Engagement

In another great post, Ayelet Noff, AKA Blonde 2.0, gave some tips for effective usage of social networks. I agree with most of the points she raised, and I love her blog (and her as a person 🙂 ), but one thing caught my attention:

Finally, I want to discuss the topic of private vs. public identities, which I have written about in the past. Due to the whole premise behind Web 2.0, the borders between our personal and professional lives online are slowly disintegrating and to my belief, this is a good thing. When I upload pictures to my Flickr page, I upload professional pictures, but I also upload pictures of me, just hanging out with my friends, or traveling to interesting locations. When I update my status on Twitter, I may update regarding the latest post I just wrote on my blog but I may also twitter about an interesting article I just read or the latest movie I just saw.

I know that some people try to keep a certain professional façade online because they are afraid of what other professionals may think…I think these individuals are only putting themselves at a disadvantage… People like to connect with other people who are open and genuine. The more you allow people into your world, the more people will allow you into their own. By creating a rich profile you are only showing others that you are an active member of the community and that you have a multi-dimensional and unique personality of your own.

I believe that like everything in life, things are a bit more complex.

Different industries, different ethics

The view that open equals better is a one of the foundations of the Internet industry. It is so deeply rooted, that one can find its print in every aspect of its day to day life – informal dress code, open communication standards such as HTTP, flat standards organizations, and an implicit preference toward young entrepreneur. We all remember how Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO, was filmed jumping on a yellow ball, laughing hysterically.

The telecom industry is different, in many aspects. Dress code is more formal, standards organizations are hierarchical, and young age is not necessarily conceived as an advantage for entrepreneur.

I live in both worlds. I am a blogger, using social media in my day to day life and work, and at the same time working with telecom companies, directly or as part of my capacity as IMTC VP or Marketing.


These differences are not only semantic ones – they reach to the core of these industries. Therefore they differ in the way they evaluate bloggers and social networkers.

The Myth of Social Media Openness

Yes, social media users are usually more open than other. But the reason for that is that many of the leaders of this revolution are coming from the Internet industry. Therefore they see openness as added value. In my opinion, like in many areas of marketing and relationships, social media cannot be treated as one-size-fits-all. Every industry has it own rules of engagement, that should be respected. Ayelet notes:

I know that some people try to keep a certain professional façade online because they are afraid of what other professionals may think…I think these individuals are only putting themselves at a disadvantage…

And she is right, if I am covering the Internet industry. But I don’t believe that openness provides the same benefits when I cover industries that do not see it as core value. In some of my talks with Telecom companies about bloggers, I heard comments like: “when I read an article, I don’t want to know if the writer is married or not – it is completely irrelevant”, ” Why should I see a picture of the writer at the beach, with his kids without a shirt?” and so on and so forth. Some even noted that it reduces the reliability of the writers in their point of view. Though a bit extreme, we need to understand that when we approach such markets and create their social media strategy.

Bottom Line

Social media is here to stay, and every company, news organization or brand that disregard it lose the amazing benefits this field can provide. But just like in any other area, we need to learn the rules of engagement of the industry, and customize our strategy to it. Otherwise we are harming the company, and the field of social media as a whole.

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Weekend links

Scoble found a great new video search engine – Not yet on TechCrunch: killer video search engine (ClipBlast),

Geoffrey Moore from Crossing the Chasm fame has some interesting insights about semantics of our industries: Three Industries Separated by a Common Language

Ayelet, AKA Blonde 2.0, just helped me in explaining Digg to all my non-2.0 friends Blonde 2.0: You Digg?

Christopher Penn continues the debate started in Podcamp Europe about internet TV: Christopher S. Penn: The Long Tail Will Kill You, Jeff Pulver

And, one of my favorite sites discuss Viacom attack against Google – with a great embedded clip: Techdirt: 10 Things Viacom Hates About Fair Use

Have a great weekend!

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Social Media Walls III – Privacy and Exposure, or Striptease 2.0

I wanted to write this post for a long time, but it seems that I just needed the right trigger to do that. My friend Blonde 2.0 did an amazing job in getting me all warmed up for the task.

There is a long and heated debate re the nature of blogging. On the one hand it is a personal, conversational medium. On the other hand, it is a public, mass media tool, that cannot be controlled. The minute you write something, it is a part of the cosmic archive (Google) forever.

The same goes for Flickr and all those 2.0 applications, that let you share, mashup, or whatever over hyped term we can think of.

But at the end of day, people are using these tools to know more about us. And whatever we write or show is accessible to everyone: friends, family, co-workers, employees, and potential employers. And it also puts our writing in a specific light.

I had a lot of talks with people who simply do not treat bloggers as serious sources of information. I’ve written a post about one of the things they’ve found disturbing in this medium – lack of clear way to measure credibility.

But the second argument I heard a lot is that people have hard time with what they call overexposure of bloggers re their personal lives. Yes, a lot of people just don’t want to know certain facts about their sources of information. And we can be as 2.0-correct as we want, at the end of the day, these are people who read our posts, and see our Flickr. People. Not tags. Not feeds. People. And as they are, well, human, they get an impression of who the person is from all this striptease 2.0 that is so praised in some parts of our community.

When a future employer looks for information about a candidate, and sees him drunk in pictures from his bachelor party, he doesn’t care that it is in Flickr. There is a good chance it affects his judgment, for good or for worse.

That’s why we have the ability to set privacy settings to our information. And the word is perfect – privacy. I have a private part in my life, that I want to share with my friends and family. My blog is not private. It might be personal. But it is certainly not private. And I keep it always in mind when I write my posts.

I have a simple thumb rule : not to write a post that I won’t agree to publish in the front page of New York Times, or share a photo in public that I am not willing to print on a shirt and wear in the street.

Yes, we should tell more about our lives. We just need to remember who read what we write (everyone) and when this information cannot be found (never).



Striptease 1.0 – Thanks God for the Second Bubble!


Come On – Grow Up! (Social Media Walls II)

A guy leaves his cellphone on a table. A girl picks it up, and goes through his contact list. Simple story isn’t it? The girl is rude, the guy needs to get his act together, end of story.

Well, not if you are a blogger. When Kevin Burton left his phone on the table, Megan McCarthy picked it up and went through his contact list. Now, that was stupid. But why did it have to go through blogs in the community? What’s so interesting in an event that happens all the time to regular people out there? It even got to Tech.Meme! Megan works for Valleywag. So? It shows that Megan should have thought about what she is doing, and should be sent to bed without dinner. Big deal.

Whenever I talk with non-2.0 people why don’t they read blogs, they say, among other reasons– that blogs are full with personal and irrelevant information. I’m not talking about personal I-like-my-puppy blogs. I’m talking about professional blogs, on serious topics. I personally believe that some information should be filtered out. Like these incidents, that don’t add anything to the readers. Having said that – take a look at Violet Blue‘s comment here– can’t agree more.

Blog is a conversation. It doesn’t mean you have to tell everything to everyone.

UPDATE:Tim O’Reilly’s Code of Conduct – Nice Try, Wrong Direction

Tim O’Reilly presented a nice concept – blogging code of conduct . This voluntary code suppose to make blogs more civilized environment, help us all to keep our dignity while blogging, and end world hunger problems. It was also picked up by NY Times.

I feel strongly about making blogs a more accessible medium for people outside the social media walls. I promote it both online and offline. But what O’reilley wrote really doesn’t help. It misses the point in my opinion.

You see, Tim is trying to make us all very nice and coasy with each other, open to others, and generally nice people. I don’t have a problem with that. But I opened a blog to write whatever I want. That’s the whole point of having a blog – publish my thoughts and ideas, without any censorship. If I have something smart to say -readers will come. if not – they won’t. Simple. Easy.

Kathy Sierra’s story is sad, and makes me angry every time I read it. But it is not different from other cases, where media celebrities were threatened and even murdered due to racist, sexual or pure hate reasons. Hey, Howard Stern made his career from saying unconventional things on air!

The same goes for publishing what Tim define as inappropriate content:

“…We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:

– is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
– is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
– infringes upon a copyright or trademark
– violates an obligation of confidentiality
– violates the privacy of others …”

All these points are important but are handled by the legal system of each country. If you are offended by a post, you can always react, either online or offline. Why is there a need for such a code?

Let’s try to solve the real problems bloggers have – gaining respectability from the regular newspapers readers, explaining the medium to people not involved in it, and gt more readers involved in this new type of media. We can be nicer to each other later….

Update (11th of April): Jeff Jarvis wrote a great post about the subject here. You can also find Andy’s opinion (from VoIP Watch) on the topic. Didn’t see too many positive reactions till now…

Breaking Down the Social Media Walls Part I – What Other Guys Have to Say About New Media

Some New Media creators think that everyone know about their world, read blogs, know who Michael Arrington is, and watch internet video shows.

At VON I had a lot of discussions with telecom guys from Voice over Net, and was astonished to see how many people in this field don’t trust blogs, don’t know what Technorati is, and think that TechCrunch is a new type of snack. These people are outside of what I call the “social media walls”. They are important to us because they are our main growth potential.

Two main concerns were raised again and again regarding blogs:

  1. Blogs are not reliable as they are written by independent people. They don’t have any seal of approval, that traditional media has.
  2. Blogs give way too much private information about their writers, in a way that reduces their value.

Both points have merit, and pose real challenge for bloggers. However, at least the first one derives from lack of knowledge, more than true understanding of the medium.

Yes, bloggers don’t have third party seal of approval. There is no editor that controls the information published, no degree in blogging like the one exists in journalism, and information flow is free in form. Actually, anyone can just start writing his blog and that’s it. No on can stop him from doing it.

What most people are missing is that the democratization of media outlets, the fact that everyone can voice their opinion, has stronger moderation tools than other media channels. In a way, this is a self governing mechanism.

If you write crappy blog, no one will read it. If you write stupid things, immediately you’ll get feedback via comments, amount of links to your blog, and sometimes head on attack by more prominent bloggers. This crowd-rating system is much more powerful than the regular moderated media. If you write crap in your newspaper, and have a lot of readers, it will take longer time for people call your bluff. Here, things are instantaneous – the minute you write something wrong or unethical, reactions start to flow, and readers can see your true motives.

The only problem with this post is that it is written in a blog, and supposed to be addressed to the people who don’t read them. So, I am going to email it to the people I met in VON, and some of my other contacts. You are welcome to do the same.

Also, I’d appreciate if you will write me other concerns you’ve heard about the reliability and importance of blogs, as well as the way you tackle them. If we can get a clear understanding of what prevents people from utilizing this amazing medium, we can create better tools to convince them to be more open to it. And if we do that, we advanced our industry a bit.

So, feel free to comment, add your thoughts and ideas and bash me in case of need. Looking forward to hear from you.

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