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March 2009

context defines perspective

373628114_d0399c0f50_b When you have a hammer, every problem is a nail.  When you work, live and breath social, every solution proposed is often social. 

The same can be said for many content-production professionals.  When speaking with content oriented solutions providers and partners, I often here discussion around pdfs, podcasts, web video or blogs.  However, these are more than media formats, they are delivery formats.  Success will not be defined by the format alone. The bigger discussion cannot be about format, but about the positioning of the content and the context in which the content is being delivered.

Publishing a broadcast blog is not social.  But featuring real people, real voices, customer testimonials and a tagline "Ask a friend why Brand X is the #1 most recommended chemical inspired cheesy snack from friends" even in the most traditional formats and platforms may achieve large scale social success.

As content becomes increasingly portable, the context is often lost.  This is the trade off we face when we use aggregators rather than dedicated destinations.  This is why the same old movie is still better in the theater than at home.  And this is where marketers need to learn to adapt.

Sure, formatting is important, but learning to harness the power of context-less media is even more important.  I can use the same 100 words, but in a different context their meaning may change.  However, in those of the right words, they can succeed in even the most traditional of media formats.

Portability and decentralization are not a problem, they are an opportunity, an opportunity to rethink context,the role of perspective and to creatively establish new ways to establish context when there previously was none, and perspective across a broad array of environments.

Inspired by the video below:

simply positive tuesdays - fresh opportunities

With all the economic doom and gloom, this is my second post in an eight part series aimed at inspiring just a little bit of positivity. :? )

Glass Half Empty/Glass Half Full

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People are short on time.

  • You can become an essential asset to them.

Big businesses are struggling.

  • Entrepreneurs face incredible opportunity.

The cost of formal interactivity for mom and pop on the web is still high.

  • The cost of social participation has never been lower.

Everyone demands more for less.

  • Never before have marketers been more actively interested in rational, ROI friendly innovation.

Nobody has 15 years experience in today's "new media".

  • You're in good company.

It looks like everyone is freaking out about the economy and the future.

  • You can be the voice of reason.

Nobody knows the future.

  • But you can control how you react to it.

You feel like the only person who gets it.

  • If you're right, and you can properly communicate it, you will be a good place in a short time.

Key Takeaway
A friend of mine used to say, when life throws you lemons, duck and roll, then start a new sport.  Think. Act. Smile. You can't control everything around you, but you can control your reaction.  And you will be respected for it.

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social unplugged: have we gone too far?

Earthy inspiration Digital social media is incredibly powerful. But it is not the future of marketing, it is only one component (albeit an important one) in a larger discipline, right?

I'm not here to blow a whistle or to call anyone out.  But I do think that we need to take a minute and rethink rationally: are we utilizing digital social engagement strategically, or are we chasing shiny objects?

  • 1) Is the role of a brand landing page to serve as a conversational hub/social redirect?  Or is the role of the brand homepage that of digital packaging, possibly highlighting social engagement?  And towards that end, does the buzz generated by handing over a brand landing page to the community equal success? Or is it a gimmick that generates conversation? (note: this is in reference to Skittles Social and Twitter Centric redesign)
  • 2) We want our governmental representatives to listen to our concerns. But do we want them twittering to us while they should be listening to our president? Isn't this a time when they should be listening to him?  If we don't want our kids text messaging in class, why is it any different on a bigger stage?
  • 3) Social intel provides massive intelligence and in the right hands, tremendous opportunity.  Smart brands and savvy marketers are investing small fortunes on digital social intel.  But do we know the real spillover of digital conversation into the "real world"?

I thrill in the chase to rationally innovate, to serve as a change catalyst, to bring new worlds of social engagement to brands and marketers.  I believe in the power of social engagement.  I just can't help but wonder if we are in a market of irrational social exuberance, if we are chasing shiny objects and measuring our success by looking in the reflective mirror of the social fishbowl. 

If we are asking our clients/brands/teams to invest in social engagement, we owe them these answers, don't we?

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Disclaimer: the ideas presented in this post are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

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