Posts Tagged 'Social Media'

What is Hip? Tell Me Tell Me if You Think You Know

CharlesMingus.MingusAhUmIt’s pretty easy to understand the purpose of the recent viral Facebook poll, “100 Influential Albums” from the perspective of the creator. The quiz has links to buy all of those listed through Amazon, and the data mining of personal information is a goldmine. But  the motivation behind those taking the quiz to me is much more telling.

These sorts of quizzes and polls are becoming increasingly popular on the social networks as the sheer numbers of people willing to share just about anything about themselves publicly becomes a virus of its own. But why are we so drawn to these public displays of hipness?

Many I imagine do so merely out of curiosity. Wanting to know what these records are and whether we may have missed something that we “should have”, thus filling in an empty spot in our own cultural landscape. But one could find countless other lists that could help one accomplish this. Rolling Stone has it’s 500 Best Recordings of All Time, as does NME with theirs, “100 Best Albums Of All Time” How about 100 Best Lists of 100 Best Albums of All Time? Google that, I haven’t the time.

I believe that these polls work because of our need to be hipper than others. In the social world of Facebook, Twitter and Yelp where we share every last sound, bite and image that we experience, the only thing that makes us feel like an individual is doing, hearing seeing or tasting something that no one else (or any of our friends) have. The fact that I may own even 20 out of these 100 should make me feel better, because that’s better than 45% of others who have taken the poll. These numbers matter. To know that having only 1/5th of these recordings puts me above 45% of others? That’s validation. Imagine how good one could feel if they had say 60 or 70 percent of these? So maybe the tendency would be to work the numbers. I mean who “owns” records anymore? Sure I have heard and once owned “Trout Mask Replica“, but with music streaming services like MOG and Spotify amongst others, we can all “own” them all, or more accurately own none of them.

But boasting your personal numbers is not enough reason for many. No, the hipness level continues to rise above your percentile score, when you shout from your social mountain top that the list itself sucks. How on earth can “Clap Your Hands Say Yah” be on this list when there’s no mention of Charles Mingus’s, “Ah Uhm“? No metal bands? C’mon. No Sgt. Peppers? I am hipper than the list itself.

Did I take the quiz? Yes. Did I agree with the list? Some of it. How did I do? Well show me yours and I’ll show you mine. At least I won’t try and sell you something.

Advertisements

Getting back: The Value of Warming Up

Image

Being a recreational cyclist for nearly my whole life, I know better after being off the bike for more than 3 weeks, than to jump on and turn out a 60 mile spin. The results would be disastrous. It’s not that I wouldn’t finish the ride, but rather that in the end I would be so physically drained that I would be reluctant to get back on any time soon.

And it is with this in mind that I restart my blog with a quick spin around the neighborhood. Just getting the wheels under me so to speak. I’ll avoid the steepest hills and the more technical descents. Just concentrate on feeling the road, being aware of my surroundings and getting the feeling back.

Writing takes practice, lots of it. And just as I find myself 3 weeks from my last ride, I face the keyboard with weakened writing skills. The ideas are there. I have three unfinished blog posts to show for it. But I was so anxious to write that perfect post without stretching first, that I went nowhere. I read blogs about blogging. I scoured the Internet for the latest trends in social media and technology. I “followed” “thought leaders”. I rekindled my relationship with Twitter and subsequently found myself doubting that I had anything worthwhile to add to the conversation. That would be akin to jumping to the front of a pace line in The Tour de France and being disappointed that you couldn’t keep up.

The array of tools that we have to disseminate all our thoughts and ideas instantaneously to thousands if not millions has created billions of pages of information at our fingertips. And there are a myriad of tools available to help direct people to us. But unless we have something compelling to say, it doesn’t matter how many people we reach.

In a recent interview, Jim Messina, the man behind President Obama’s re-election campaign was asked about the technology heavy, social media and metric driven tactics that were employed during the 2012 election. Nobody had ever amassed so much data on the voters and utilized it so widely. Yet what stuck with me after reading wide-eyed at all the technological wizardry was this simple coda. 

“You can build a whole suite of analytics… but it all comes back to the campaign, it all comes back to having a message that matters,” Messina said.

That’s it. The message is what matters. Without well thought out and compelling content, a blog is just more words sent out into the digital ether. Okay, the legs are warmed up, and I can feel the rhythm of my cadence again. Think I’ll turn around and head home. Don’t want to push too hard the first day back, because even though my all carbon-fiber bike is one of the best that money can buy, in the end, it doesn’t go anywhere without me as the drive-train. 

Jumo.com: Chris Hughes’s New Direction for Social Media

When I read yesterday of Facebook’s Chris Hughes’s soft launch of his new project, Jumo.com, I immediately clicked, read, and followed. It was exhilarating. I was within the first 200 to follow on Twitter, an early fan on Facebook and, I began combing the web for more information. And I am sure that for him and his partners, it must be reassuring to know that his name has some equity.

With Facebook’s over 400 million users, that’s a pretty good base to start with. The question quickly becomes, how many of them will be attracted to an enterprise whose primary focus is connecting individuals to causes and concerns around the globe, not just connecting old classmates to each other or brands to consumers.

Jumo, is a word from Yoruba meaning, “together in concert”. And with Jumo.com, Hughes hopes to create a place where people can really engage.

As Hughes explained the project, “We’ll be matching people based on their skills and interests with organizations around the world that need their input. It’s a discovery process that first matches, then helps people build relationships, then let’s people share their resources.”

Watching the recent outpouring of money through social media during both recent earthquakes has shown that people are willing to click to pay, or text to pay to show support. What remains to be seen is whether the current social media model can sustain the long term needs of an organization like Jumo, whose goals are so lofty. I for one will not bet against Hughes.

I am curious as to how others feel about Jumo, and what its chances are of succeeding in the long run. Take a moment to check them out at jumo.com, and I would love to hear your comments.

Stickybits Meets Avi Buffalo at SXSW

Has my focus changed so drastically in the last year? Or has SXSW become more about indie software developers than indie music? (sorry, I hate labels too). And the subtext is that this year it’s all about the “Location Wars”. Not a battle of the bands, but more of a land battle of sorts. Everyone is fighting for geospace. All the “big” players will be out in force. Foursquare, Gowalla, Google, Facebook and Twitter will be posting their claim to know where you are and when. And naturally sell that information to the highest bidder. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Our recent recessionary economy has stimulated enormously creative ideas in marketing. And this is just the beginning. But just as established bands (meaning they’ve been around more than just 5 years) play SXSW alongside bands just looking for an audience, so too are the young upstarts in social media looking for their groupies! And just as with the bands, we’ll be hearing people tell us that they were in Austin in 2010 and saw the introduction of, say Stickybits.

Many of you have not yet heard of Stickybits. In fact, I had not until today. But trust me you will. The startup founded by Billy Chasen (Chartbeat) and Seth Goldstein (Socialmedia.com) introduces its seemingly quirky but potentially groundbreaking location based service.

The concept is simple. With the advent of barcode scanning in hand-held phones, consumers have a wealth of information at their fingertips. With Stickybits, you can attach digital data to any barcode. And when someone scans that barcode with their phone, that digital data is then fed to their device. Let’s say you as a young band playing at SXSW is giving away CD singles with a barcode on the sleeve. That barcode could be linked to a video of your band along with a link to your website. Or maybe your product has a distinctively low carbon footprint and your customer is interested in how the product got to the marketplace. Fine, attach a link to your website or a video that traces it’s journey.

There are no limits to how these little gems can be utilized. And no doubt this week at SXSW there will be a lot of creative and hilarious applications. Free adhesive Stickybits will be handed out to many of this years’ 12,000 attendees. These barcodes can be followed, so if your girlfriend slaps you on the ass when she heads back to the hotel, be sure and have your buddy check to see that she didn’t leave any Stickybits behind.

As for me? Well to be honest, I’d probably just assume see Avi Buffalo in their first SXSW appearance. I mean, I saw their first gig in a vegan restaurant in Long Beach!

Definitely Not My Last Communion

I spent the entire day today, save for a brief walk in the fresh snow with my dog, in communion. And this blog post is but a continuation of that communion. There are of course different definitions of the word, but my favorite is this: communion as the interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication.

There are many detractors to social media. There are those that say that we are becoming more disconnected everyday even though through our social channels we are sharing so much, with so many. But if, when we engage those in our communities, we are being thoughtful and honest, how could this be?

Today I read probably 2 dozen blog posts, countless web pages, Facebook links and emails, mostly driven by those juicy 140 character kernels in my Twitter feed. Just about anyone who takes the time to write a blog, or create content of any type, wants to share his/her thoughts and or emotions. The great thing is that these are the people who I have chosen to commune with. A congregation of sorts.

Tomorrow I’ll probably spend the lion’s share of my day continuing to interview with potential employers, following up on emails etc. But for today, it was all about you. Thanks for taking your time to commune with me.

TMI, Too Busy or Just Distraction

With the introduction of Google’s Buzz application this week, I have been thrown for a loop. Not because of the inherent implications of yet another social media channel but more so by the broader effect on the mediums’ consumers as relates to overload.

It’s obvious to anyone who is reading this blog post, that I have not put my thoughts down on this blog in over 8 months. What have I been doing? Well in a word, reading. Reading all sorts of material by others. It’s a very convenient excuse to just explain it away as, “I’m too busy to write”. And at times, this may be true. But might there be just too much information out there? How can we keep up with it?

Just in the realm of the social media world alone there are over 119M blog page results listed on Google. Add to that Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, Linked In updates and whatever news media you regularly check, and it is a daunting enterprise to keep “current”. As I have been “re-branding” myself over the past 10 months, I have found loads of great information, made innumerable new contacts and even landed a few interviews, all with the help of these social media channels. I have learned much about the dos and don’ts of social media interaction. I have seen a very healthy growth in the number of “old school” print people dipping their toes into the future. And I know that for me, there is no turning back.

I love the conversations and the communities that are being formed. I am witnessing an incredible sense of knowledge sharing. And when we share what we are passionate about with those who are interested, everyone benefits. I am going to strive to keep up. Maybe I can cut down the number of blogs I read about blogging. That should give me more time.

Are You Guilty of “soloing” Too Much?

Miles Davis, the late jazz trumpeter/composer when asked about his tendency to emphasize the space between the notes when he played, replied “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” As I wend my way through the mass of content on Twitter, Facebook and other outlets, I am struck by the frequency of posts by some users. How much is too much?

If Twitter is indeed a conversation, some people just don’t know when to shut up. A conversation is between two or more people. And a conversation requires that participants listen to each other before responding with another message. It’s “what’s not there” that tells the story. It shows introspection as well as respect. The message becomes much clearer if it isn’t surrounded by all the noise.

We have all seen the “twitter flurry”. When someone logs in to their account and tries to catch up on time lost by making 10 or 15 posts in an hour. I know that when I see a stream of this type, I tune out. It’s as if someone walks into a room where people have been talking, and suddenly just rambles on, not even caring if anyone is listening, and subsequently walking out.

A good conversation is like jazz, there’s a lot of listening, learning and sharing going on. And when that happens, we all benefit.
miles_davis


As Bill Tweets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 517 other followers