I got out of bed early this morning. I made the commute, and sat in traffic. During the hour or so from Saratoga to Downtown Troy, I once again thanked the work gods that I somehow have been able to avoid making this trip daily for almost a decade.
I didn’t make it on time, and I almost hit a lovely woman trying to exit her vehicle at exactly the same time I was reading the parking signs and attempting to parallel park next to her car, but in the end I made it upstairs to the Grands Slam Alley Social Media Breakfast.
I made a whole hearted attempt to actually listen to the panel. The topic was supposed to be something about reengaging with your social media, picking back up after stopping. I clocked myself, and it took me about 50 minutes or so before I decided to pull out my phone and “gasp” actually install the Twitter app on the Iphone. It was too tempting. All the hash tag Tweets were rolling on a screen behind the panel. Since all I was looking at was that darned screen and the backs of a bunch of well-coiffed heads, I had to do it.
And then I realized, I was one of them. One of the people who likes to see their own words on the big screen. One who basically loves the virtual sound of their own voice and wants to hear it amplified back through others. Which is why, when the question was asked of the panel, “So what do you guys think of Google+, all the social media-ites laughed. Yep, the whole room chuckled.
I admit, I was really ready to embrace Google+ right away. Since I’m logged into one Google thing or another all day anyway(Gmail, docs, analytics, chat…) why not just make it simple and have my social network there. Except it never was there. No one was ever really there. Sure the concept of a “hang out” is cool, but actually creating one and doing it was just too much work.
And quite honestly, the interface, the circles, the whole thing was just, well, not Facebook enough. I honestly gave it a try. I even had one friend, a librarian at a private Manhattan school, who deleted her Facebook profile and went full “Plus” on us. She said said she was sick of the spamming and advertising on Facebook. It lasted a few months. And she finally had to admit she was lonely.
Yes, we love to see our own words on the screen, but we have to hear more than an echo back. At the root of it, human beings need engagement. Yes, we used to sit together around a fire eating a warthog and we were engaged. Today we re-Tweet, Like, and of course Pin.
But in the Capital Region, and in most other places, people aren’t +1 ing. According to recent data, the average time spent on Google + is down, in spite of the mandatory sign up process now in place when signing up for other Google products. No one cares if they can’t be heard. No one cares if they can’t be engaged and engaging. Except marketers, of course. Marketers will do and say anything.
There’s no such thing as privacy on social networks and web applications; there are only degrees of sharing. You can intend to share with only one person or intend to share with millions. He wrote “@username
Weiner’s mistake was sending a public message when he wanted to sent a private message, but how much protection would that really have provided? What if he had succeeded in sending his lewd photo as a private missive and the recipient had turned around and posted it to Twitter, Facebook, Digg, their blog, anywhere? The point here is that once you’ve sent it, private or public, you have surrendered control of the content. And if you’ve sent it from an account which is unquestionably yours, you can’t claim it wasn’t you. You can claim someone hacked your account, but that’s not a smart move unless you can prove it. Weiner tried to say he was hacked. Tried, and failed.
So, to summarize the take away:
1. Most private case: Send a piece of content to a friend or trusted recipient and only your friend reads it.
2. Least private case: Sent a piece of content to everyone who’s looking, whether you’re aware they’re looking or not.
In case 1, when anyone can pretend to be someone they’re not, your internet trolling might end with you sending sensitive information to the wroooooong person. Then case 1 turns into case 2, and your boat is sunk.
There is no such thing as privacy on social networks. Just degrees of sharing. Be. Careful.
Wondering about the power of You Tube? Try this on for size.
Embedded here is an unremarkable video I posted to You Tube last weekend. I mostly wanted to see how well my new Android phone would do with the direct capture and upload to You Tube, and it performed pretty well.
The back story is that I live in Albany, NY – as you already know – and we’re getting hammered with snow and cold temperatures this winter – as you already know. The snow and ice is building up on everyone’s roofs, and we’re all trying to keep our houses from collapsing or flooding with melted snow. It is really fun. Who needs summer. Here’s the video:
As of this posting, the video has over 500 views (Updated: 642 views on 2/8/11), not a huge number of views, but it was enough for Google to invite me to join their ad revenue sharing program.
So why does this matter, you ask?
1. This video was easy to make and easy to upload and was seen by far more people than read the average post on this blog.
2. The content was timely, relevant, and easy to digest. Note the comments. People are invested in this topic, and have something to share.
If I were a business specializing in home maintenance in a cold climate, do you think using You Tube videos would be a good way to market my business? What if i had simple intro and outro graphics on the video with my business name, phone number and web address? And how much did this cost me?
There’s your answer.
Before you click through to this story on the business success of ICanHazCheezburger.com founder Ben Huh, try and guess the amount of money the guy makes and how many sites are a part of his Cheezburger Network. I can haz some moneys, Mr. Huh?
The Saratoga Economic Development Corporation debuted this video today at an event with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. I was not at the event.
I don’t mean to be critical, but I’m going to be critical.
What is the point of this video? I’m serious. Watch it and let me know. Is there new information? Is there a call to action? Is there really a compelling case made for anything? The only URL included in the video is to SaratogaEDC.com, which – quite frankly – is a static site lacking personalization, and appears to have been designed in 2002.
There is so much potential for organizations and businesses to tell their stories on the web. Video, photos, interesting content, social conversations held in the open. Putting bland, irrelevant content out there is a flat. Waste. Of. Time.