Friday, November 05, 2010

Social Media as philosophy and other developments in social software...

Lisa Devaney's post on TheWall 'Stop Dumping Social Media On Your PR' seems to have earned me a rash of new Twitter followers (thanks to her very generous inclusion of some of my thoughts).
I'll quote a hefty chunk below - since it's so flattering.

As social media has grown over these last five years, I’ve watched several people really embrace the emergent sector and turn it into a profession. Some of these folks I know are getting the tossed around label of social media “gurus” which makes you wary that what they are offering is a new kind of mysterious snake oil. However, it is time to get to know these experts and take the knowledge they have developed seriously.
David Cushman (@davidcushman) is one of the big thinkers in the social media space, who, following nearly two decades of experience working with emap, set out on his own with passion and enthusiasm, and a spark of genius to devote himself to social media. He is now a managing director at the 90:10 Group, offering the kind of deep thinking counsel client’s need to approach social media. I asked David about his approach to social media and for some tips and tricks that might help PRs and clients get their head around it all.
“Our approach is to think consultancy – to get out of the way as much as possible. We use the tools and techniques of social media to solve business problems – creating new efficiencies by working with the crowd (hence the 90:10 name – 90% of the effort coming from outside the org, 10% inside),” he told me.
“Ultimately this social stuff is, like the web, for making things with people who care about the outcomes – rather than broadcasting messages through.”
David offers this advice in approaching social media:
  • Social media is not a set of tools or channels – it’s a philosophical approach.
  • It is not an innovation in and of itself.
  • The innovation and the true value derives from the application of its tools and techniques to support people in solving problems that matter to them
Five years ago, there wasn’t the kind of choices of experts and agencies available, but now, the social media sector is booming and it is time to call on leaders like Maz or David to take a smart approach to what is proving to be the most important channel of influence between a brand and its public. Reputations are being made and destroyed, sometimes in a matter of days in social media, and to just dump such a crucial responsibility onto overworked account executives is a recipe for disaster."
So thanks very much for that Lisa. And if Lisa thinks I understand the space and have a few reasonably wise things to say about it, then all I can say is, it takes one to know one.
While I'm on big-up-me Friday, I also received a copy of a book today which includes a chapter from myself - based on the presentation I gave at BlogTalk in Cork in 2008. I have John Breslin to thank for my involvement in this project.
The book is titled: Recent Trends and Developments in Social Software.
My chapter is: "Reed's Law and How Multiple Identities Make the Long Tail Just That Little Bit Longer."
It's available on Amazon (Prime and Kindle) but the price is on the scary side (and nothing to do with me - honest). At £40-plus those with a clear academic interest in the area - and a good grasp of the tech - are likeliest to get best value from it.
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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?