Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Walking the Social Media utility/hype line

From the Credit Where it's Due Dept: Bryan Person, who wrote the comment policy for Monster's blog, emailed me to let me know that he had read and commented on my post about the site's comment policy that I wrote for Daily Fix. Bryan and his colleague Ryck Lent went out of their way to discuss and explain their comment policy with us in the post's comments, and it's great reading.

Also, Chris from Stormhoek stopped by to comment on my recent Company Blog Checkup on Stormhoek's blog. For those keeping score, representatives from every company profiled so far in the Company Blog Checkup series, except for Wal-Mart and Kleenex, have left feedback.

This further strengthens my opinion that companies are paying attention, now more than ever, to what is being written about them in the blogosphere. And they are moving from simply monitoring blogs, to becoming active participants. Most of this has come about in the last year or so.

The reason? Because companies are starting to finally understand how to utilize blogs, and why they should be paying attention to what we are saying. They are beginning to move from the understanding stage, to next implementing blogs as valuable communication tools to improve their marketing and better understand their customers.

Still, if you listen to some in the blogosphere, it seems that the shine has worn off blogging. Blogs are quickly becoming yesterday's news, as some run off to play with shinier toys with names like 'Facebook', 'Pownce' and 'Spock'. That's because we geeks love to hype stuff (and bloggers know that if they are hyping the hot new toy, they'll get more traffic). Consider the title of the latest post at GapingVoid: "sign up to facebook or consign your career to the dustbin of history etc etc." Of course last summer we were hearing that if we weren't on MySpace or in Second Life, that we were in deep trouble. Earlier this year, we had to be on Twitter, now it seems that Pownce is the hottie of the day.

What does all this mean? Believe the utility, not the hype. Jumping from one 'next big thing' to the next, simply leaves you with tired legs. Any new site/service/medium that offers real value will outlive the initial buzz.


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MineThatData said...

As usual, well said!

Anonymous said...

When does the pace of change exceed our capacity to change? (If we just wait two days the new fad will start.) When it does will we see some sort of meltdown?

I don't think blogs are old news, they are just not new news. I have said this before - eventually the old print media will use the available resource of quality writing (not necessarily mine) to fill it's pages. When that happens you will sere an explosion of rating systems for "blog quality"

Who knows, perhaps a Viral Garden rating will be a more highly coveted thing than it already is. Just make sure you keep your current integrity and don't sell them. :)

Penina said...

Ahhh... Thanks for the breath of fresh air, Mack!

On the one hand, I simply *agree*: Technology has been roaring along so fast, it's been essential to build a strategy about what to learn, and how to learn it; What to adopt, and how to adopt it...

On the other hand, if you are involved in some aspect of web development, it's still important to at least dip in on as much as you can, because even if you don't need it, a client might. Being able to understand why something might be of value to them is perhaps the next skill to build.

Recently, I ran into Mashable's "10 Most Beautiful Social Networks". I've been dipping in to spaces like VIRB and trig, mostly to learn... but if something turns out to be especially fun, I may just stick around. :-)

Anonymous said...

Mack, any company worth a lick that isn't monitoring the blogosphere and jumping into conversations as appropriate is doing itself, its customers, and (if applicable) its shareholders a grave disservice.

Let's face it, people are talking about your company all the time -- on blogs, podcasts, bulletin boards, and social networking sites. Your challenge is to find out just what's being said and then knowing when -- and how -- to respond.

Mack Collier said...

I think we need to be aware of what's out there, but if we just try to immerse ourselves in whatever the 'hot toy of the week' is, we're asking for burnout.

Bryan you said: "Mack, any company worth a lick that isn't monitoring the blogosphere and jumping into conversations as appropriate is doing itself, its customers, and (if applicable) its shareholders a grave disservice."

I agree, but just this time last summer, most companies had no idea how to track the conversation in the blogosphere, and no idea why they should care. It's exciting to see the changes taking place, and exciting to see the potential for these companies such as Monster that are listening to and responding to customer feedback online.