Category Archives: Social Media

U love my memes, but find safety online a drag

I find our little world perplexing. So many wonderful people, yet so few active citizens.

I say this, because for the past decade or so, I have been researching social media and new tech.

With a decades worth of data catalogued across most industries, I can tell you – hand on heart –

Organic community growth on social networking platforms and apps is a myth

Let me explain…

‘Community’ growth evolves from a value exchange.

When community-based connection moved online it extended our network and when new mobile tech entered our everyday, a new business model emerged to reframe the way we participated – as commodity.

Social technology, enabled us to access a global community of people FOR FREE, effectively evolving ourselves into data.

While enabling the promise of a ready and willing ‘market’ ripe for ‘capture’ and ‘free’.

In algorithmic terms it might have looked like:

TIFF’s ALGORITHM (aka Tiff’s Plan)

Internet connection +safari + BLOGGER = ACCESS & PLATFORM for writing, reading, researching and engaging.

FACEBOOK, TWITTER = FREE community, ENGAGED WATCHERS, LISTENERS, CONVERSATIONALISTS

Social sharing buttons in BLOGGER = OPPORTUNITY for LEARNING, EXPLORING, CONNECTING, ENGAGING, PROMOTING at no-low cost.

… and I was not alone…

From Australian citizen to a global netizen.

My largest ‘audience’ ranged from Europe to the America’s, Asia and The Pacific depending on what I wrote about, when and where I posted.

The WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE was critical to message reception. Nothing new here.

It was as per traditional platform-based mediated communications… except for the potential reach #’s that were now possible.

What wasn’t apparent initially, was the WHY…?

This evolution – largely touted as a communications ‘revolution’ by the industry pushing its wares and those of us researching it – is of itself a wonderful study in the power of language – either alpha or numerical to influence behaviours of animals.

If you look at the animal kingdom and you accept that humans are but one of many mammals within it, we are forced to look for evidence of other species within the ecosystem who have become mediated communities.

While there is a plethora of evidence around animal communities – they appear to be location or sex-based (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong… by posting in the comments below) rather than mediated in any manner shape or form either naturally or animal-made.

Do we honestly think humans – a subgroup of primates within the broader group of mammal species existing on earth within the broader animal kingdom – are the only ones to have connected with tools of amplification and connection?

Or is it merely a case that humans are operating in 0’s and 1’s while whales and dolphins’ preference for sonar within the natural world leads them to another (more sophisticated and possible inter-connected) plane of being…? Are they in the true meta verse and we remain blissfully ignorant to the true tech capabilities that exist in a binary waste dump with CD Roms and iPods?

Meaning, humans are the ones who have reengineered themselves and their ecosystem as data points, in much the same way we learnt to capture the experience of time within a photograph which we then learnt to embellish with joy via photoshop to suit the social context of the time at which it was being consumed…?

A new market reality of commodity as consumer now exists.

As Australian citizens we are willing participants in the ‘evolution’ of the human species from flesh and blood into multiple data points from which behavioural (and more recently biological) patterns are computed before being collated and showcased for profit.

The ‘User’ a tool for learning as much as he is for targeting thanks to the self perpetuating abuse of his privacy through the expulsion of his personal information.

A commercial exchange founded in a ‘test’ motivated from one man’s desire to understand what moves and motivates humans to categorise each other based on physical attributes after a failed date.

Think about it.

Zuckerberg created a US college ‘social’ experiment that utilised a rating system.

From the insights gained, he was able to create the most influential commercial market in the world for individuals, organisations, governments and just as efficiently – their opponents.

A community of exchange. Not of money, although the new business model would ultimately make lots of it – this was non monetary. For the first decade it was binary.

This community ensured it’s longevity by positioning the user as the product and giving them a place of perceived community influence to procure at their leisure according to their needs.

Facebook created the digital playground where humans could connect, be seen, exchange, access and repeat at their convenience at will.

Because it was free and it was a global tool of connection that enabled conversations with friends, colleagues and loved ones around the globe with minimal effort, we became not only the Facebook product, but the contributors to a much larger problem. The ringing of the deathneal on private and personal information security.

Instead of customers craving the product, we the product craved the retail showcase that is the Facebook platform.

It was fun to connect, easy to use, widely available anywhere, anytime. It worked, so to use it was effortless.Additionally, everyone else was using it, so you got access to ‘the inner sanctum’ of their world – or at least, you started to think…

The cost of which is still not yet apparent to the majority, although it will be soon enough.

As products, we shed our privacy and our right to our own behavioural data. After all, what we don’t see, we can’t miss, right?

WRONG!

About a year ago, I stepped off my Social Parenting soap box because ‘adults’ are reluctant to engage is a genuine solution to the dangers of children’s online activity.

Social Parenting was a program borne from my Masters research back in 2010, that encouraged parents to reconsider their children’s use of new social and mobile tech, based on the triad of:

1) neurological immaturity,

2) physiological and

3) psychological health wellness implications (aka blue screen addiction, bullying)

as well as social as the Wild Wild Western Internet.

What I discovered was shocking to me.

Sure, parents and carers would openly talk about it as an issue, but when it came to solutions 9 times out of 10 they would only pay lip service.

I don’t think they know (or don’t particularly care) that they are in fact in breech of their legal duty as legal guardians to an Australian child.

I also suspect the government – both state and federal are also hoping we don’t realise they too are in breech of their duty to Australian citizens.

Acceptable digital practice has for too long now, been constructed by the sales-focused social tech industry.

After 25 years of the commercial internet, it’s time the private information of citizens was protected from mining by the industry because Australian state and federal Governments were actively endeavouring to protect it’s citizenry.

Question is… who is going to step up?

Are you? If so, why? or more importantly, WHY NOT?

FB shows it’s claws

Google and Facebook are two Artificial Intelligence behemoths.

To them, we are data points and have been for the better part of two decades.

There is nothing that we think, do, say or act that they don’t have a detailed account of somewhere in the abyss of data that is ‘the cloud’.

So as the Australian Government leads the first real push back on these artificial intelligence (don’t be distracted by the marketing term social networking) companies, we have real insight into the intent of the organisations.

Now while the ACCC approach wasn’t the most refined. It was an unprecedented approach that sort to protect Australian interests online.

The response of the two organisations to the proposed News Media Bargaining Code was telling indeed.

Alphabet (on behalf of an all too arrogant Google Australia) could work with the concerns and come out in support of proactively nurturing locally produced news content.

Facebook, like all great white entities of entitlement, pulled it’s service without prior warning.

In a complete show of disregard let alone respect for the Australian community who have so loyally supported the business since its inception.

So if we’re smart, the question we should be asking:

Is Facebook an essential business need?

While that will take some habit breaking and reshaping across both the facebook and INSTAGRAM platforms, it might be a long overdue worthy consideration.

Facebook dropping the emergency services pages this morning – as part of their decision to cease providing Australians (both individual citizens and publishers) access to news content, following the new media laws coming into effect overnight, is exactly the type of ‘big end of town’ play that media organisations have been doing to advertisers for years.

But they don’t just cut news services.

Bloggers will no longer be able to share their musings via the FB related platforms.

What’s great about it (if you choose to think outside the square), is social media managers and their superiors might actually see how they have been building their brand and adding VALUE to another entities asset ALL THIS TIME. for them to SELL BACK TO THEM!

Question is, will they be ballsy enough to say NO MORE and invest capital in building self managed and controlled assets, trusting in their own capacity and knowledge of market to amplify their messages effectively and efficiently in favour of the convenience of contrived community…?

Wake Up People! This is your time to REALLY shine!

I double dare ALL media and marketing managers to Tell Facebook to f*ck Off. To cut the necessity of them from their advertising budgets and support Australian grown media.

Why?

We’ve all given Facebook enough data these past 17 years.

They’ve got more than enough info on how we think, feel and do than they could ever use.

So back yourselves, get creative and stop relying on the convenience of the Facebook algorithm.

Build your own assets and insulate your business – for the first time in a couple of decades!

To those of you who find this a bitter pill to swallow… comment below so we can engage in informed and respectful debate.

Otherwise, it can be assumed you agree with me.

#ThereisNoSuchThingasSustainedOrganicFacebookGrowth #PayToPlay

#ShortTermPain for LongTermGain

#ThankYouFacebook

Getting (back) on the Digital Leadership horse

I recently asked a friend (and former colleague) for feedback on my newly minted CV. It’s been a while between interviews.

After 20 plus years in corporate, relaunching brands and working with some of the leading individual, team and organisational brands in the world, I’d turned my focus towards balancing my corporate experience with academia as my biological clock ticked louder than it ever had.

Returning to study mid career, I discovered I was really good at this thing called academia.

It sparked synapses I didn’t know I had and finally my laser focus, flamboyant musings and random questioning was mainstream.

Okay maybe not mainstream but my pondering about whether platform intents, advertising-led solutions and citizen rights were aligned – found its logical place to dwell and be nurtured.

When the person who marked my master’s dissertation asked me to teach for him, I discovered a joy of knowledge production I’d been avoiding – despite being a 7th generation educator.

But when I stepped back towards the corporate world (ironically when I was pregnant), I didn’t leap back in…as at the time, nothing really grabbed my attention as being ‘next gen awesome’.

Mothers in the workplace

Instead, I balanced a burgeoning social media and marketing consultancy (which ironically grew out of word of mouth rather than any social media influencer activities) with my sessional lecturing at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Matrasence is the process of becoming a mother and when I was four months pregnant I decided to blow the dust off my research and build a resource around social media marketing and social networking platforms to help everyone who hadn’t dedicated the last five years to upskilling in this new communications tech, like I had! 🙂

A decade later, when I recently zoomed with a potential employer for a position promoting safety and privacy around social media platforms on behalf of the government, he declared optimistically, ‘We’re not first to market with this, but we believe we can make the proportional difference’ and I didn’t disagreed with him, although instantly I saw him making the same mistakes I had a decade ago… talking about doing it rather than building it.

First to market doesn’t ensure success

I’d been first to market with How 2 Social and the industry in Australia was so under-developed in it’s thinking about social tech that on more than one occasion business leaders, agency leads, media law academics alike told me straight-faced that social media was a fad, it would never have any real impact in organisational marketing communications and existing law would cover whatever the latest new media trend threw at it. Back then I didn’t code, so I couldn’t build my solution.

The Regulator arrives 25 years later…

Twenty-five years on from the commercialisation of the internet and a healthy 11 years after Facebook launched in Australia, the federal government is only just getting around to attempting to regulate the space.

Why?

Because they do not own the hardware, nor do they have the blanket capability to monitor, assess and act on the multitude of abuses the misuse of technology provides to individual members of the global digital citizenry to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting.

When I raised concerns over the need for attention to systems design and ownership review of our telecommunications and cable networks I cut myself out of the running for that particular gig, but it does raise an important question…

How much do you know about the safety and security of your data service? Do you know where your private information is stored?

What I can tell you is rarely (if ever) are the answers to these questions ‘In Australia’.

In 2020, when I jumped back into solution-building for my own start ups with the mission to introduce equity into law and education for Australians, I created digital spaces from scratch to ensure they were Australian owned, built and born – from content to website, to app and every data point in between. After all, shouldn’t our schools own their own data? And shouldn’t the Judiciary operate as it was intended across all levels – lawfully?

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It’s time to re-think your approach to Social.

I spent a day with some of the brightest young minds in advertising last week.

The similarities

All were fabulous, capable, intelligent, hard-working ‘go-getters’. All were running some of the better social media campaigns in Australia.

Some were from boutique agencies doing really cool stuff, others had evolved to freelancers, some were in-house marketers, while others were clinging lovingly to the structural ropes at some of Australia’s biggest agencies.

All were social coordinators, social leaders, the agencies’ ‘social experts’.

Yet, throughout the course of the day, I felt myself go through all the stages of grief.

I took the next day off to get my head back into production mode and (as luck would have it) I was surrounded by social marketing and social media practitioners who also shattered my new media soul into a thousand pieces when they started telling me How2 Social through buzz phrases, which included (but painfully was not limited to) ‘personal brand’ in the same breath as ‘authenticity’ and ‘social measurement’ as Facebook metrics.

Over two separate days in two completely different environments, my grief was confounded.

Why?

In the short space of two days, it became abundantly clear that current practice is merely a hybrid of the platform ‘certified’ sales pitches. A regurgitation and adaption of the papers we were writing and the presentations we were giving back in 2012…

OVER FIVE YEARS AGO!

(and yes, I know I’m screaming, but seriously…?!)

Discussions around social media have traditionally been driven by the available technology, or social community management issues that have arisen through the event of participation.

Traditionally, advertising and media agencies have worked behind a thin veil of creative agency presenting ‘the solution’ as the requisite bridge between product/ sterile company and desired consumer.

Sadly however, a large percentage of Advertising, PR, Communications and Media Agencies are entrenched in outdated business practice when it comes to production for and distribution on social.

If these company representatives are anything to go by, even the agencies who have re-badged their Art Director to Creative Lead are missing the point somewhat entirely!

This only compounds my grief as Australian agencies should be leading the global creative charge in this space (and no don’t point me to the self-congratulatory industry statues corporations spend millions to win each year).

Creatives have the opportunity to lead, rather than dwell.

Directors have the opportunity to integrate and showcase, rather than merely direct traffic.

Oh.. and to the Preditors (the hybrid being that is both producer and editor) let’s make a concerted effort to lose the jargon.

It’s not about what you call yourself, it’s what you say and do that drives impact.

Snap gains sight, as it farewells chat

Snapchat launches Spectacles – its video and audio recording wearable for funsters

and parents…

While the yet to be discussed personal security implications of Spectacles is yet to be  acknowledged, let alone realised by the majority, they hint towards a very near future of integrated wearables.

Much in the same vein as mobile phones effortlessly transformed into smartphones and an extension of mankind, are Spectacles the next step in new media?

#WatchThisSpace

In other SnapChat news, SnapChat is no longer and Snap Inc. it is.

‘When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product! Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand’ said Snapchat founder (and Miranda Kerr’s finance), Evan Spiegel.

‘Changing our name also has another benefit: when you search for our products it will be easier to find relevant product information rather than boring company information or financial analysis. You can search Snapchat or Spectacles for the fun stuff and leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd 🙂

Given the recent intro of Spectacles, it seems not only a timely re-brand, but a prelude to a product range of integrated wearables.

Snap Inc.’s approach, also highlights the importance of search in locating company products, no matter what the size, shape or form of your company.

Context Matters

A timely reminder to never underestimate:

  1. the importance of context
  2. the power of media technologies to misconstrue intent

(One does hope the Duke and Duchess don’t mind being used in this instructive context)

 

Twitter changes explained

Since the return of founder Jack Dorsey as CEO in 2015, Twitter has reclaimed its engineering roots.

Not surprisingly, platform change has been afoot.

Over the past couple of months, Twitter has:

  • added the feature ‘poll your community’ – a nifty little tool enabling you to write a research poll (from the comfort of your twitter app) and send it out into the Twitterverse for feedback – something this user has done on several occasions with variant degrees of success.
  • Introduced .GIF search courtesy of partners at GIPHY and Riffsy
  • integrated Periscope into tweets so that you can enjoy live broadcasts.

In the coming months, more changes are rolling out all thanks to the fact, Twitter have redefined the 140 characters limit.

A little history here might be helpful…

The 140 character limit of tweets exists, because in 2006 when Biz, Jack & Co. were building the platform, SMS messages were limited to 140 characters.

It was a known standard.

Throughout the last decade the 140 standard has been exactly that – an acceptable and much loved limit to engaging on Twitter.

As an avid user of the platform for the past six years, both personally and professionally, I’ve always found Twitter as a great way to #connect, #Engage and #Participate with community members.

Professionally, I’ve been an avid user of Twitter to mentor both my undergrad and postgrad students.

It was a great way to maintain a dialogue with keen students throughout the semester while avoiding the essay-esque emails of panic around assessment and exam time.

It was a great way of teaching media and communications students how to edit and sub-edit without losing impact and intent.

It was a great research tool, news gathering tool – it was a great tool for educating communications student how to, research, engage and communicate with community.

Here’s what will and will not be considered a character in a tweet:

  • @ – twitterhandles will not be counted as characters. This is great news if your twitter handle is loooooong, now people might start tweeting you 🙂
  • Media attachments (URLs, photos, GIFs, polls) will not take up valuable character spacing, so you now have more room to say what you want to say.
  • the .@ convention has gone – THANK GOODNESS! This convention was just plain ugly! Instead, the power of the Retweet returns for both you and your community members. If you start a tweet with a @username then your tweet will be broadcast to all your followers.
  • RT – and if you want to broadcast a tweet more broadly, then you now are able to retweet your own tweets.

 

 

 

How2 Social Sports

How2 Social’s vision is to empower athletes, coaches and administrators through education about how to create knowledge and value on new social and digital media.

The How2Social Sports program empowers professional athletes, teams and organisations to harness the power of the internet communications technologies to build brand value.

The program is born out of ongoing social media in sports studies that began at the University of Sydney in 2010 in the form of my Master’s thesis, To Tweet or Not To Tweet: Social Media as Strategic Communicatios in Australian Rugby Union.

Professional athletes, coaches (and to a lesser extent administrators)  have a limited time to maximise the earn from their sporting efforts.

The ability to build capital (social and economic) should be a financial imperative, sought by forward-thinking player managers and community leaders.

In Australia, social leadership is light on the ground, with few sporting organisations moving towards the future standard of being social businesses.

So what’s stopping us?

  • A true understanding of how new social media enables business and creates time and capital for the business, the leader and the employee, is lacking.
  • Social Media is fluid and requires a rethink of all ingrained communications practices across EVERY touchpoint of the business.
  • Change is hard and noone likes change.
  • Social Media has its on language, practices and protocols and business simply doesn’t understand it as well as what they do traditional media. So knowing where to start is really hard.
  • Professional sporting organisations and governing bodies are conservative organisations and their rigid structures don’t have the requisite flexibility, skill sets and intention to remould ingrained practice without significant key stakeholder buy-in and as with any change management program – change takes time.
  • In order for forward thinking leaders to learn How2 Social (aka the art of being public), but due to the voracity of the tribe and constant media attention, they need to do so privately (and continuously) – their jobs (rightly or wrongly) depend on it!

The How2 Social Sports Program

Designed for professional athletes, coaches and administrators, the How2Social Sports program is a multi-platform social learning solution that scaffolds (supports) and mentors the individual (athlete, coach,administrator) along their social media journey.

For more information: 

http://www.how2social.com

email: sports@how2social.com 

tel: +61 (0)2 8347 1530      

Let your effort speak louder than your mouth

NFL star DeAngelo Williams has over 9 million views and 150,000 shares of a video he posted on his official Facebook page this week.

The video explains why he returned his daughters participation ribbon at her recent sports carnival.
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDeAngeloWilliams%2Fvideos%2Fvb.1438173719737752%2F1787585011463286%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=1&width=560
Participation is fun in the moment, but the rewards are limited to the effort required to achieve.

Who wants their child to strive towards participation, when they can win?

Admittedly there is a real chance they’ll fail – but it’s a fundamental life lesson that develops the person – not an entitled product of parental management.

What kind of child do you have?

A participant or a kid that strives to do their best…?

I know which one I’ll be encouraging my kids to be.

 

 

Up all night thanks to Online Gravity

Earlier in the week I received an inmail via LinkedIn from the overachieving Mr Paul McCarthy, letting me know his new book, Online Gravity  had been released.

Very generously, he forwarded a copy via post.

I first met Paul at a social media conference we were both presenting at last year and I was suitably excited for him.

Last night, before heading off into the land of nod, I thought I’d have a quick look through the newest arrival to my bedside reading collection.

This would soon prove possibly the most enjoyable mistake I’ve made in a long time.

Online Gravity is proof red bull now comes in paperback.
After flying through the first couple of chapters, my eyes were closed for less than 20 minutes before my brain sparked its first ‘must write down’ idea.

Wrestling out of bed and into the office to ‘brainstorm’ said idea, attempts to return to bed proved futile.

What is Online Gravity?
Paul McCarthy’s concept of the phenomenon of Online Gravity – an invisible force driving development (form and behaviour) in the age of the internet (online world) – is brilliant in its simple logic.

Online Gravity – the book,  demonstrates what the phenomenon does, how it develops and how it can be harnessed by individuals.

It marries the science of the universe, technology and business in easily digestible chunks – that makes you want to keep reading, to keep questioning and in consequence promotes deep and diverse, critical thinking.

With the unprecedented rates of change expected in global business structures, processes and workforce in the next five years thanks to digital ubiquity and the Internet of Things, Online Gravity is a tool every good educator should want to share with their students today to prepare them for a more evolved and much changed tomorrow.

While I still have a couple of pages left to read (full review to follow in due course), what I do know is Online Gravity should be on every digital media, communications and business syllabus.

It is an articulate, accessible guiding text on what we as digitally dependent individuals and businesses can expect in terms of process and practice. While articulating as a workforce, how best to harness the phenomenon of online gravity.

It is what true thought leadership looks like on paper and in practice.

What Online Gravity has given me
As someone who has been struggling with refining my PhD research question (just part of the joy of the process so I’m told), thought leadership such as Online Gravity motivates this humble researcher to stretch beyond convention in articulating the synergies and antagonisms of the new social business frontier and beyond.

As the principal mentor at How2Social.com, Online Gravity feels like a supportive hug as I jump off the new business precipice, confident in my ‘hunch’ of the ever-present need for and cultural importance of proactively enabling humans in and around new social and digital technologies.

Thank you Mr McCarthy for sharing the phenomenal read that is Online Gravity!

—————————————

Online Gravity is published by Simon & Schuster Australia and is available in paperback ($32.99) and e-book($17.99) formats.

If you are looking for a copy to call your own, Paul’s website provides the following guidance:

A number of eBook versions are also available including:

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