Tag-Archive for » mass interaction «

Word of Mouth On Steroids Side Effects

I love blogs.  I see the benefits. I had better or the wheels of Blogetery in Motion will fall off. It is a wonderful business model for a company to be transparent, accessible and authentic. I admire the passion that goes into the blogosphere. Business model aside, when does everyone else’s opinions start getting old? Not to sound hypocritical, but on a blog I read recently, a quote that stuck out was “There’s a lot of passion and is all being put into repetition.”

“The Most Informed, Knowledgeable Group of Morons In History”

The previous quote was from Carlos Miceli’s post Thank You And Good Bye, Seth Godin. In this post, he explains he is unsubscribing from Seth Godin’s blog in order to form some original thoughts and questions of his own, rather than just regurgitating the the words of another. I respect that way of thinking. It is important not to get to caught up and live vicariously through another’s words and take it as absolute.

Sex God, Steroids and…Blogs?

Semper10’s Sex God, Steroids and…Blogs? was another thought-provoking post. I totally agree with the quote, “blogs are based on opinion and select fact.” This is true, anyone can voice what they think is fact. I do disagree, however, that “companies will not be overrun by blogs in the present or in the future.” To me, that is not the purpose of a blog. The purpose is not unlike the yellow page ad of old, although this version of the yellow page ad allows for direct feedback from customers. This is not natural progression for everyone and I share Semper’s sentiments in blogs not working in every workplace. General Motors and Microsoft wanted to seem like friendlier businesses, so blogs worked for them. An owner like Mark Cuban stands little to gain from having others in his basketball franchise share their feelings (the NBA already cracks down on social media).

Semper10 also says, “You would assume that the number of blogs must be at least doubled by now…if not tripled. But if that is the case, then why does it feel like blogging is on the out in 2010?” That makes me wonder if I’ll be watching VH1’s I Love The 2010s (or something) 15 years from now and watch pseudo-humorous panelists talk about how every “average Joe” had a blog back in the day. Blogging will not go away, but I think we may see more posts from traditional journalists and less opinion “from thin air.” As Schwartz is quoted in Naked Conversations, “Journalists are there because they are independent thinkers who provide fresh insights.” This is something the blogosphere needs more of.

Do not get me wrong, I support the innovation we call blogs. They certainly have their place, especially in a particular business. As Picard says in Blogs, Tweets, Social Media, and the News Business, “the content that news organizations produce (at a cost) is distributed by others, thus removing the need or desire for many people to seek out the original sources of the information.” In Naked Conversations,  Yossi Vardi tells us, “Blogging is word of mouth on steroids.” The chapter goes on to say, “Unlike major league sports, where steroids have caused a multitude of scandals, word of mouth on steroids builds credibility, enthusiasm, and customer evangelism.” I think it is a very catchy metaphor and yes blogs can “stick it to the man” in terms of calling a company out on producing a shoddy product. Just remember steroids have side effects too. Take advantage of the information you can acquire, but remember to think for yourself.

References:

  • Scoble, R. & Israel, S. (2006). Naked Conversations. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons
  • Picard, R. (2009). Blogs, Tweets, Social Media, and the News Business. Nieman Report
  • Semper10. (2010). Sex God, Steroids and…Blogs?. “Blogging” For Dummies
  • Miceli, C. (2009). Thank You And Good Bye, Seth Godin. Brazen Careerist

My Get Rich Quick Schemes

Oh, the 1980′s sitcom staple. Anyway, I have been scratching my head trying to think of something that has not yet been done on the web. I had what I thought were some great ideas, but I searched them just to double check and yes, it’s been done. Even cartoons such as South Park run into this same problem because “Simpsons did it.”

That aside, here are three ideas on some (hopefully) original website possibilities…

1) What’s The Scene?
Every travel to a bar, club or any social gathering place only to find that the scene is, for lack of a better term, dead? On What’s The Scene, you’ll have stats on the amount of people in the place, whether or not there is live music, late night eats availability, capacity, neighboring bars, clubs etc. It’s everything you wanted to know about the places you go before you get there…all on one website.

2) Unemployed Freelancer
I have been there, but in this age of transparency, I think this could work. This is a website for folks looking for work in print, web design, web animation, graphic design and the like. People can upload job opportunities, resumes and works they have created, be it school or professional projects. It’s monster.com meets LinkedIn meets graphic design. I find that job hunting sites in some cases do not let you upload your files (other than the resume), so this is a way to create your own online portfolio and compare it with others. Can it create competition? Sure, but with competition comes a little more creativity.

3) You Sold Out

rottentomatoes.com has done a great job at gauging movie reviews, but what about music? Some might say Metacritic does this, but I can only take so many professionally written reviews that sometime have an agenda. Music reviews by the fans for the fans. Maybe even have people on the site link up to other social media sites too. Sometimes I just want a review that says, “(Random band) latest album sucks (or is awesome).” Is it too much to ask to have a site dedicated to this? I don’t and we all know how opinionated people are in this day and age.

“A Place For My Stuff”

Once upon a time, I was working at a progressively thinking non-profit organization. The recession (that “R” word) had hit and we needed new ways to get our message across during especially difficult and uncertain times. We turned to social media and as one of the younger people in the office I was expected to take a lead (I also wanted to keep my job) and adopt social media, even if I did not fully “get” it. I embraced it and got recognition for trying new things and having my finger on the pulse of some of the new trends. Another organization saw this, wanted to incorporate that and subsequently hired me. To my dismay and naive surprise, it has not been embraced. Thus far, I would say I have not really explained the importance of social media in a convincing way that would make sense to an office of older folks. They do not want anybody to see their personal Facebook page (regardless of the privacy settings). They do not fully understand that we are in an age of mass interaction with the ways we communicate. I could not properly and justly communicate this, which is something I have been doing with my own media devices and life…convergence.

The Future Is Now

I am all for media convergence. I also understand the reluctance of change for people of past generations. I can sympathize to a degree, but come on people, some of you grew up on The Jetsons! You had to know we would be moving forward by now. I was not able to attend the ICM orientation a few weeks back. A question asked was what were our latest digital “hobbies?” I would not have worded it correctly then, but my hobby as of late is convergence of media devices. I am watching my movies on my computer on my Xbox. I tend to buy products of same brand (mostly Samsung and Apple) so they “play nice” with each other, yet I still feel I have too many devices.

Using Wikipedia almost daily (even if facts are not always accurate), I can recognize the collective convergence of knowledge from millions of different sources to one collective website. The Blaise Aguera y Arcas demo is a perfect example of what French cybertheorist Pierre Levy calls “collective intelligence.” It is a wonderful illustration of pooling together images across various platforms such as Flickr, mobile devices, etc. and creating something really powerful and amazing on Photosynth. This really exemplifies the old adage the sum being greater than the individual parts with active participation from various users (a fine example of mass interaction as well). Another factor examined in the Seadragon version of the demo, was a traditional form of media taking on a new shape. For the past several years, media “pundits” declare the death of print media. As Jenkins in says in Convergence Culture, “Delivery technologies become obsolete and get replaced; media, on the other hand, evolve” (13). The Seadragon absolutely coveys this. A high resolution newspaper or magazine with the look of the print we have come to know and love is a great thing in my opinion. There is more screen real estate to have more articles and space for ads, which we can zoom in and see the specifications of certain products. Jenkins quote reminds me of the phrase, “don’t shoot the messenger” gone reverse. Don’t get married to the messenger either because it might just leave you and take a different form.

Too Much Stuff

How far can this “convergence” go? As Jenkins says, “Sooner or later, the argument goes, all media content is going to flow through a single black box into our living rooms” (14). He refers to this as the “Black Box Fallacy.” I personally look forward to the day this happens, but I realize a black box that stores all of your media might scare some people not ready for this. In non-technological speak, George Carlin (in a way) sums up a need for convergence (the fact that we have too much stuff),

“Actually this is just a place for my stuff, ya know? That’s all, a little place for my stuff. That’s all I want, that’s all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody’s got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that’s your stuff, that’ll be his stuff over there. That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.”

Sooner than later, we will be able to walk around with all of “our stuff” (in a media sense). When you make it sound that simple, convergence and mass interaction can be easier for some folks to digest. In the mass interaction side of things, I have turned the page with some of my work colleagues at my current job towards social media. Twitter frightens them, but I remind them that the business “after hours” did not sit that well with me (I sometimes want to go home at the end of the work day). When referring to Twitter as “the world’s largest cocktail party” this tends to sink in. While social media may have been the norm from my previous job and current education, I have to understand that not everyone has the capacity to understand how quickly we are moving (it still makes the job challenging and interesting).

In the end, “convergence refers to a process, not an endpoint.” I do not have time to mourn of the tail-end of a delivery system’s lifespan, there is a better more effective and convenient one around the corner. I have seen our cultural convergence, I live in this media convergence and while I cannot really predict exactly where we are headed, I must say, I am not all that scared.

References:

  1. Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture, Introduction: “Worship at the alter of convergence” (pp. 1-24). New York: NYU Press.
  2. Blaise Aguera y Arcas Photosynth demo at TED. link
  3. Jon Reid, Twitter Is A Cocktail Party, twitip.com
  4. Carlin, G. (1981). A Place For My Stuff On A Place For My Stuff [CD].  New York, NY: Atlantic Recording Corporation.