Month: July, 2011
I think the most rarely asked question in communications strategy, whether digital or not, is this: How do you like to get your information.
As consultants work with clients on engaging customers, pulling out the latest social media platforms, doo-dads, apps and game-changers, sometimes the actual information habits of the customers get lost.
How many customers are first-adapters?
How many customers prefer to listen to the radio or call the phone numbers they see on billboards?
How many customers really know what to do with a QR code?
How many customers are going to greet the frenzy of Google+ business pages this fall with a funny look and a shrug?
That’s OK. Ultimately it’s up to companies and strategists to work together to reach people where they are and follow them where they want to be.
Before we dive into a new platform, we need to make sure the customers we want aren’t swimming (quite happily) in some other pool.
I had an interesting conversation with Scott Carter of the Journal Record the other day. He was doing a story on an online petition that was inspired by the Casey Anthony trial and had gathered more than a million virtual signatures.
My answer to Scott is one I didn’t think he was expecting to hear: “Meh.”
Basically, the spread of web and the huge number of users engaging in social media has through our sense of scale all out of whack. Because of this online petition, Oklahoma legislators are thinking about creating a law that makes not reporting a missing child a felony.
Let’s not talk about Casey Anthony at this point (PLEASE!) but instead focus on what prompted the action.
More than a million clicks equals real legislative action? My feeling is that a general misunderstanding of the web by those in public office makes them still think that a million is an actionable number. I disagree.
The web is so vast and the act of clicking an online petition is so easy (See the link, click “to sign” in, what, two seconds?) that is really is a terribly hollow gesture. Reaching a million clicks, views or visits really isn’t what it used to be (or ever was).
This video of Justin Beiber crashing someone’s wedding has 950,000 views and it’s barely a blip on the national scene.
With 700 million Facebook users and billions of people on the web, this is really the long tail in action. Yes, businesses and websites can be very successful with a loyal tribe of 1,000 fans but that also means we shouldn’t mistake a million of something for something as serious as public outcry. A million people can do a lot of different actions on the web. Creating laws, especially reactive ones, is a little scary to put on that list.
Lots of buzz (ironically?) continues to circle Google+ and its effectiveness as a social network.
While I’m waiting to convinced, as well as waiting for a way to give it a place in my daily schedule, there has been some good analysis and opinions so far. Here are some good links to explore if you haven’t seen them.
- Dave Rhea at the Journal Record created a great conversation on Google+ and crowdsourced some opinion. Read it on his blog here.
- HuffPost has a list of must follow (circle?) users, including some tech leaders who are giving a lot more insight than they do on Twitter. Click-bait slideshow here.
- Mashable has a huge list of resources, too. Dig in here.
After all this reading, I’m hoping Google+ has legs. It would be good to see Facebook get pushed into more innovation and Google continue to streamline web life. Stay tuned.
So Google has taken the world by storm. Google says it already has about 10 million people signed up, sharing a billion of pieces of information in just a couple of weeks.
My thoughts on the new platform.
- I like the idea of dividing your contact into circles, based on your relationship with them. But many of the relationships I have developed online (which make up a big number of the first adapter crowd on G ) have undefined roles. Friends, business associates, Twitterati? I”ve been throwing a lot of people in friends. Basically, anyone I”ve ever had lunch with.
- The photo feature looks great, but as an iPhone user, it”s not a perfect solution for me until there is an easy upload app. Maybe I should just buy an Android and sell myself totally out to Google.
- I do like the idea of only sharing certain content with certain followers. A great strategy for someone who is still on the fence about social media or has a big distinction between their work and home life. Again, a skill I haven”t developed.
- The more I think about it, the more G would have been good as one of the first social networks instead of coming after Twitter and Facebook. Would have made us all more disciplined.
- So, obviously that means they are developing a Google time machine.
- Love the hangout group online casino video chat. This I think has the most application for businesses. Easy for staff meetings, brainstorming sessions, so you can be sharing content, docs and links with at the same time. The future of web collaboration.
- Sparks? Kinda meh.
- The bottom line, of course, is adoption. We are still living with a zero-sum game when it comes to time online. What Google has going for it is that is already my primary home for my browser, documents, calendar and email. If there is a great coming together that allows we to socialize all of those things into one mother-of-all-dashboards, then I will be very interested. As a consultant though, it”s hard for me to dissuade clients from adopting something new when Facebook has a 700 million user lead.