Archives for posts with tag: Online Communities

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My daughter is in an interesting phase: She can read but she can’t comprehend fully what she’s reading. A picture book with a few sentences per page is perfect for her developmental stage. No, she wants to read a chapter book without any pictures. She proclaims proudly: “I’m on page 55.” When I ask her about the content, the answer is very sparse.

When she gets her homework, she wants to get it done in a few seconds: “Easy peesy, lemon squeezy.” Once I note a mistake, she freaks out and never wants to touch any homework again.

Typical behavior for brands in the emerging marketing space

Many brands have not yet fully deployed all basic digital marketing tools. Instead of focusing on getting the fundamentals right, they rather develop a comprehensive Social Marketing strategy.

Others have deserted Facebook/Twitter/YouTube presences. Why bother improving these important platforms for their brand? Let’s just start a Google+ page.

The fancy commercial not matching the dirty store layout.

The radio spot not matching the horrendous attitude of your employees.

The list is endless.

We should strive for innovation and amazing ideas.

First, we need to clean-up the store.

Change the attitude of employees.

Get the fundamentals of marketing right.

Get the fundamentals of the business right.

Then, and only then, should you consider the newest platform aka toy.

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The conference season is upon us.

It costs a lot of money to go to conferences. Conference fee, transportation, hotel, expenses. Let’s not forget the time you’ll spend away from your daily work, the loss of productivity.

Why should you go to conferences?

Should you really spend all this time and effort to watch the keynote that will be streamed lived and can be viewed online until the end of time?

Should you follow a presentation that will be uploaded to Slideshare 5 minutes after it’s done?

Should you try to meet some semi-important web celebrity?

Should you feel obliged to see all sessions just because you paid for all this content?

I would argue, this is the wrong way to attend a conference.

What do I remember from conferences?

The conversations. The human connections. Moments where I learn from people what drives them, what makes them tick, what they are working on. The coffee with an interesting person that has 25 followers on Twitter. The drink with a woman who is about to change the world. The discussions about marketing at 11pm with five brilliant minds. The friendships that last.

That’s why I’m going to conferences.

Conference advice

Don’t try to go to every session. You will come home drained and exhausted.

Choose one or two sessions per day. While you’re there, try to focus. Use Twitter (or other channels) to add your voice to the conversation, not just rehashing sound bites of the speaker. Be engaged and present.

The rest of the time, roam the floors. Make new friends, help solve problems, explore new point of views.

Go against the stream.

Most conferences are organized around the sheep principle: Just follow the masses.

Instead, create your own conference. The one that’s valuable to you.

The one that creates memories.

The one that matters.

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Mark Zuckerberg wants you to share life stories. Just don’t expect diaries. Get ready for your photoshopped self.

A few days ago, Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed: “The heart of your Facebook experience, completely rethought from the ground up.” And, he added: “Timeline is the story of your life.”

My jogging maps, the books I read , the movies I watched, the pictures I took – Is that really the story of my life?

Data aggregation as the expression of a human dream.

Facebook is not the only platform that satisfies a basic human dream. We’re archiving what we see, hear, read, eat, where we are traveling and how it takes us to run 5 miles for one reason and one reason only: We don’t want to die.

Or better: Since we all have to die at one point, we don’t want to just disappear, be forgotten.

Most eulogies leave out the “He was a bastard” part or the “She was a meanie” piece. The new Facebook timeline will become an idealized archive of your digital self,  defying mortality with every “like”. A permanent monument to yourself, conveniently leaving out the depressed moments, the embarrassing stories, the dark secrets, the big failures that made you who you really are. De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est – Speak no ill of the dead.

Who is this digitally conserved replica of me?

How will the tools form my digital ego, how will they change my real self? And how does this digital self affect my own perception of me?

Facebook focuses in its timeline on the consumption of media and products – makes sense for marketers to get access to people in a relevant setting and helps Facebook’s valuation tremendously. Skeptics might say our life story will consists of lattes and “The Bachelor” viewings.

Diaries were never that exciting.

One could argue, the Facebook life story won’t be that much different than your typical diary. Andy Warhol noted in his diary each cab drive and the fare. I dare you to read my diary from 20 years ago without falling asleep after the first sentence.

The big difference: I wrote for an audience of one. Me, myself and I. Nobody else. I wasn’t hoping for “likes” or comments. Facebook rewards you with an audience and its comments when you tell a good story. Without readers no autobiography.

When you share your life story on Facebook, is there any space for openness and honesty? We tend to discuss what should be public or private on Facebook. Maybe we should discuss more how Facebook and all the other platforms make us focus on stories we want to share. What’s the worthiness of an experience if I can’t share it with the world?

Will these mirrors of our digital self enrich us?

The audience you carry with you throughout your digital life might lead to a race to the boring middle. When we feel we are in the minority, we might not express our opinion freely. Who wants to get booed by the Facebook fans? Why would I express the support for a political candidate when 30% of my fans might block me in return? Why would I share a controversial theory that results in no feedback when I can post an Instagram image of my daughter and get 20 responses?

On the other hand, looking at myself through the eyes of others might enrich my life, adding more perspective to my thinking. A life story filled with contributions of others.

Are we living in reality? Or creating a digital fiction?

Facebook and all the other platforms are about identity management. I’m sharing the latest insight from Forrester, the FT column, the David Brooks book I just read. Leaving out my most embarrassing album purchase ever (Titanic Sound track, there I said it.), my favorite trash TV show (Scroll up, it starts with The…) or a possible hangover.

When we look back in 5 years, our life stories might be as boring as Andy Warhol’s cab entries. Or they may be an insight who we wanted to be 5 years ago. What stories we shared to develop this new identity. Or what apps wrote about us.

And we might look at all the personal data and stories, look up and ask:

“Who is this person? Do I know him?”

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