Why Search is a Waste of Time and Social Media allows us to Gain Time

“No matter how fast it seems, most search is a waste of time. In a way, we are using time (i.e., the time-based structure) to gain time.”

This quote is from a recent opinion blog in Wired Magazine online and it hits the target in clarifying what I have been trying to say to my clients for years now about the difference between Search and Social Media.

Yes they are two different animals. Why? because Social Media is Time Based and Search is not. The issue of time based vs non time based media is one dear to my heart as I studied Classical Animation. Animation is a time based media as is performance art, dance, music, new media, and some visual arts. “Usually time-based media are video, slide, film, audio or computer based and part of what it means to experience the art is to watch it unfold over time according to the temporal logic of the medium as it is played back.”

I know this to be true because of all the social media platforms, I have always loved Twitter the most. I knew that it’s “real time” communications and it’s dynamic quality were key factors in my love affair. David Gelernter goes on to state that this time based quality — which is inherent in New Media— creates new way of structuring time on the internet. This new structure re defines time on the internet, taking it from static websites and search results to the “streams” of data arising from your curated interests that constantly add into your feeds. As seen from the author’s sketch below we are at the intersection of the “now” and the “new”. We are now fully engaged and informed by Social Media.

“Instead of doing an endless series of separate searches, we tune the knobs on our stream-browser to continuously feed us just the information we need.”

Image

Unlike Search which brings up pages for you to review, having your social network set up to monitor people, topics and issues that are of interest, allows you or your business to always be in the moment and in the now of the conversation. This is the Zen state of being.

“But it’s about time: “Bring me what I want” is almost always more useful than “Let me rummage around and see what I can find.”

The other awesome point that he makes on this paradigm shift in communications is that this state allows for an abundance of creativity. Again for those of us who love to create content on the fly this is the best place to be as it allows for constant inspiration, insight and interpretation.  This is the state of artistic perception that McLuahn referred to in his definition of an artist as being one who “updates consciousness “. The Artist is one who lives in the moment and not in the past or the future.

“Yet it took us more than 20 years in computing to get here. The field has finally moved from conserving resources ingeniously to squandering them creatively.”

How true. I have been engage with new media studies for 20 years now and remember the MIT article that I zeroed and keep in my files up until today that speaks of the coming convergence of computers, video and telecommunications. Today we have the net, you Tube and smart phones. What matters most are not the devices themselves but the new real time communication channels of Social media that run across our devices via the internet and deliver great content to us. This in turn allow you to place that information, be it text, image or video, in a context that is relevant to your business – thereby adding value each and every day to your personal life or your business. Over time that value becomes enormous as your networks grow in influence and reach.

Advertisements

Social Media is Innovative Marketing that Adds Great Value to your Business

Part of my role as as Social Media specialist is to curate content for my clients and myself. I look at a lot of content every day — some of it on social media and some of it on business. I am always searching for the common ground between the two.

Because I come from over a decade of  Sales experience in Toronto I love to read about sales and see how it relates to Social Media. In fact, I used to make the claim that having a person who knows about sales manage your social media was an real advantage and still believe that social media that incorporates both sales and marketing insights will be all the stronger for it.

A blog caught my attention this weekend with a quote from Peter Drucker and his approach to business. It quoted him saying

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

I had never read this quote of his before and was blown away how he says that marketing and innovation create RESULTS, all the rest is costs and  by the last line in which he states that Marketing “is the distinguishing unique function of business”

Recently I burned through yet another client who decided that “social media” was just not that important and so they decided to terminate my contract. Why? Because I have the that attitude, when I take on a new client that they had better make a commitment to their social media for at least one year or I don’t even want to get started with them. This particular client began to question the value I was working to create and my attitude, after one month of managing their social media. It was barely time to let the ink dry on the contract, get their accounts set up, determine the tone of their market conversation and find the content that was engaging!

Ironically the client was a technology start up out of Calgary that began with no perceived need for marketing whatsoever!  They quickly found out that they would have to have a marketing person on board and a plan in place or “investors” would not even talk to them. So they hired an “old Media” marketing person who knew nothing about the new “social media” stuff. A smart move for a business model that relies on online subscriptions for sales revenue…

Don’t even get me started on how it all played out after they hired me on a short term contract. All I can say is that their marketing manager was hoping that social media might be a silver bullet to drive traffic to their site –overnight —-as they were unable to get even 10 hits to their site in a month after trying some old media marketing tactics. Of course I told them from the start that it would take time to build the value that would generate sales online. I am not going to go into the details but I was all over a month after I started — because their fearless leader thought it would be smarter to invest their assets elsewhere and cut the social media “expense” entirely…

Change

Which brings me back to the quote by Drucker. He says that it is either one or the other to create results and SALES. You either Innovate or you Market. Preferably you do both. If you are not innovating — then you better be creating value for your product or service through marketing! Since very few Canadian businesses that I have dealt with actually innovate —  most copy the US market or their Canadian competition and on top of that, as a rule, they don’t market much either, I often wonder how they hope to compete for the consumer’s dollar and attention in the days to come. Even if they do marketing– it tends to be all old media stuff — that one way push marketing aimed at an audience that has for the most part, tuned out and moved on to social networks, preferring a new type conversation, a type of marketing that allows them to “interact” and communicate with a brand or company that they are interested it. On top of it all since so many Canadian small and medium sized businesses are short sighted and risk adverse, they are, as a rule, not about to innovate with respect to their marketing strategy.  Embracing and then focusing on mastery of social media is for the most part non existent.

By its nature social media is innovative. It is a new medium that allows those who are creative communicators to easily innovate and hence, to add value to a business in a way that they have never been able to do before.  That in itself, one would think, would be reason enough to give it a concerted effort to push forward.

Clearly most Canadian business owners are not reading Peter Drucker. I am not sure they are reading thought leaders on business intelligence and instead have become terribly complacent — asleep at the wheel of a big oil rig — thinking that the Canadian resource based economy will carry us into a sustainable future on a planet that is, in fact, currently dominated by technology innovations in internet communications. We have seem more social, political and economic change over the past decade as a result of the internet and Web 2.0 then in we saw in the last 100 years and yet Canadian business thinks that everything will remain the same when it comes to the ways in which they can create value for a potential client and then, for their bottom line.

The status quo that make up the majority of Canadian Business owners, especially in Alberta – don’t like to think about the idea of using disruptive marketing like social media to add more compelling value. Take out the word “compelling” and replace it with the social media buzz word, that means about the same thing , the word “engaging”. If you know anything about social media you know where I am heading with this one. A word of caution to all business owners who decide to stop their social media before it even  a chance to enrich your business. What is the real COST of stalling your chances of sustainable growth through new sales revenue via online marketing in 2013?

Designing Data. “Help I am drowning in data and I can’t get back up!”

According to John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, “who laid out his view of the future challenge facing leaders now that social media and technology have overturned the traditional company hierarchy. Fortunately, the solution to that challenge appears to be a applying good design to a lot of data.”

“He implied that this opens up opportunities for creative people to become leaders, but he directly stated that creative people could help make any leader in this new heterarchical structure more effective.”

Thanks to Social media and technology, it’s a level playing field in the business world today. Good news for Creatives. Good luck pitching a Canadian business owner on this one, still, as they don’t want to “re invent” the wheel any time soon, even though they are drowning in data. Looks like I have my work cut out for me when it comes to convincing them that the creative management of their data via Social Media will, indeed Enrich their business and save them from the pool of tears….

How Web 2.0’s Ceaseless Image Stream Is Changing the Way We See, Create, and Communicate – ARTINFO.com

Via Scoop.itMILE HIGH Social Media

“Life in the stream of images has its advantages”…writes the author of this linked blog…   “The current pace of visual transmission online is such that trading pictures has become a form of real-time conversation, a dialogue in which the aggregate exchange is more important than any single component or any individual image”   The linked blog is a great in depth article on the effect of the new way of consuming images. This change in how we percieve images is occuring at the same time as legal battles on copyright and appropriation of images by artists, photographers, curators and galleries continue in the courts. It raises the question of how relevant those are if we no longer spend any length of time contemplating a single image but are, rather are immersed in a stream of images…What do you think? When as the last you fell in love with a single image and wanted to purchase it to hang on your wall? The best most artists can hope for is that their image will be shared and at the end of the day is that not the role that “galleries” used to play…a space in which you could walk around and look at alot of art? Is that not the social aspect of the new media called “Social media”?
Show original

Mile High Social Media – are you still at Ground Zero?

For the past three years I have been actively engaged in social media as it applies to business. I began with Twitter because it is so dynamic. Information travels so quickly on it-  one can catch a glimpse of how influence in business and communications works. Today, I am fully engaged in the Social Media Networking Game called Empire Avenue which measures the value you or your business brings to social networks.

1. Ground Zero 

Ground Zero for all business is connecting with a potential client. Before switching my focus entirely online I would spend time going out to network at events but I soon realized that it was not going to help me build a business as a Social Media Consultant and Coach to Canadian Businesses.  To aquire “social proof” that I knew how to assist a business online  I needed to be online and active as a business myself!

Ground Zero for most Canadian businesses when it comes to Social Media is still “thinking about Social Media” or getting a Facebook page up then forgetting about the reason they did so…or worse not realizing that what they have “created”  is not a print ad, or radio commerical or TV spot with a bunch of bought eyeballs either looking at it or trying to ignore it. A Facebook page requires regular maintenance.  For that to happen and your fresh daily content to be seen and shared you would have to dig into your marketing budget and allocate funds to it or dedicate a good chunk of your own time daily to maintain a high level of interaction.  Its called Social Media and it’s a new way to communicate. What are you communicating?

2. Above the Crowd

With the addition of good quality content you begin to rise above the fray of most businesses online when you curate, create and share good content. Most Canadian businesses still refer to their the dusty website as their online marketing efforts. Even if they were to update it to a snazzy Web 2.0 site – did they remember to allocate funds to SEO or Social Media so they could be found? Even with an old website – once you begin to communicate daily – or hire someone to do it for you — your social media efforts will finally get off the ground and begin to float…

3. Up to the Clouds 

Up in the clouds the social media services and networks are numerous and you will have to step up your understanding of how social media works in order to create a game plan or a strategy as to how you will  connect with your potential audience, who, by the way– are already online. If they are not one has to wonder about their ability to survive the great re-set, the full on shift into the  “information age”. For the most part these folks will become crash test dummies on what was called the “information highway” decades ago. It was not as though these consumers of western culture have not been forewarned. Having sold websites back in 1998 I sometimes experience deja vu when it comes to  tring to educate a small business owner on this stuff.  Think about it — if your customer has no computer or mobile phone do you really think they are going to be able to afford your products or services right now or in the future?  And if they are connected through an electronic device do you really want to wait to bump into them on the street or in the supermarket, elevator or friend’s party to start a “relationship” and attempt to pitch them on your new products or servcies? How long is that going to take? Have you measured the time vs sales outcome for this kind of relationship lately? Who has the time to take the time to bump into people?

4. Breathing Rarifed Air takes TIME

It takes time to access the benefits of your social media stategy. Give it at least one year! Ironically when it comes to time is just like old school marketing. I remember when selling business cards and postcards – direct mail pieces we would say give it time, you have to distribute these things first before you are going to see results. It is the same with Social Media except you now have to figure out how to build a network online,  curate and create good content, distribute it and have others share it, establish yourself as an expert, establish trust and credibility before you are going to get the true ROI. It takes TIME and Money to make Social Media work, small business owner! Time and Money. What value do you place on your time?

5. A Mile up on your Competition 

What happens when you are a mile up on your competition with respect to your social media? conversations that lead to sales, referrals and the ability to leverage the networks you built. Suddenly you realize that you have a great referral base to tap into and a multitude of relationships that you can work on to strengthen in your sales funnel. What you have is sustainable. Again TIME is the key factor. Any good sales person knows this. That is why the best sales people do not like the one off accounts where they get the biz, get paid and then have to move on to find new potential clients, qualify them and go through the entire process all over again…they prefer accounts that are ongoing…where a REAL relationship can be build and value added! A Win Win scenario.

With social media, if you build your networks right from the start – and there are no shortcuts –  you will reap the benefits down the line.  Social media is not a one off ad – it is a network of qualified leads that can be measured as being a mile high — once your klout score reaches 100. Now that is a target to aim for!

Don't be caught surveying the burned out cores of old media properties...get online and up into the clouds...

Social Media Multi-tasking is the order of the day!

Recently I read an article on how multitasking “can make you less productive”.  While I agree on one level – depending on your ability to focus in a perfect world, I wonder how one can work in social media and not multi-task? The diverse number of tools alone presents a challange. Some are better at one thing than others – as anyone who works with software knows. In the past one might have settled for a single programme and simply make due but today, in social media, with the increasing number of free tools or low monthly access fees – one can use a number of different tools for their particular strengths and may even use two that overlap while  being on the lookout for an even better solution.

As a content curator I review daily lots of blogs and articles on diverse topics while posting some and scheduling others, juggling different tools, different processes and different accounts. Even the task of logging in and out of multiple accounts can become a distraction to the single purpose of putting the good info that I find in one place for scheduling. This pressure is increased when technical gliches arise and a plan B is needed to actually deliver the goods on a deadline. This happened this morning, in fact, when Tweetdeck, a good social media tool for certain things, decided to stop working for some mysterious reason on my laptop. It is at that moment that I was glad that I had options and could open yet another another window on my browser, launch another tool and try another way to get my work done. While doing that I was trying to find the tek support email for tweetdeck and create a trouble ticket. Surprise — there is no direct support as this is now owned by Twitter and god knows they are buzy enough with that service, so I was forced to read through forums instead. It was then that I noticed that they finally got the ipad version done – since Twitter is in control and funds are flowing for more development so I downloaded that on my ipad. Of course the interface is different which means I had to spend time figuring that out the set up as well. This is what can happen on a bad day…even more multi tasking!

On a really good day when all the technical stuff is working the task of looking at lots of diverse content for various clients can lead to great mental connections with a new spin or insight on something that is already known, creating a piece that is really engaging – which of course is my main task. Making a new connection between two different pieces of information is a nice payback on what I think of as high speed multitasking – when the task at hand is to simply find a good piece content not just for one client but rather to find two good pieces that have a common ground for that particular client and for my other clients as well!  Rinse and repeat daily.

In my 20’s I spent years working in restaurants – learning the about food and hospitality. It was in this environment that I first learnt to multitask. I would venture to say that a good Chef working in a busy kitchen is a master multi-tasker as is a top waitress juggling lots of tables and their orders.

I think it was McLuhan who first alerted us to the fact that in the electronic age information continues to move faster and faster. There is no stopping it except by pulling the plug and Who is about to do that unless we are forced to do so? Recently I went through a move and experienced several bouts of downtime. It was an incredibly slow and painful experience. Sure, I recognize life/work balance and took time over the summer to disconnect and be offline. Even then it was my choice to learn to draw on the ipad, starting with my finger as I had no stylus while learning the interface as I tried clumsily to capture my subject before it disappeared or moved away. Multi tasking? Hell yes!

As Bill Gates said some years ago doing “Business at the Speed of Thought” is where we have arrived as a culture, whether we like it or not. To me this is exactly what social media allows us to do. After all we are trying to connect to the potential customer in real time, engage them in conversation and offer them great customer service should they want it. This is a juggling act for sure!

A good chef constantly multi tasks to bring together more than one dish for more than one person!