Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Is Twitter going to face a backlash?

An image of a compact disc - Pencil included f...
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No, not just a backlash because it’s successful and people resent it. Everyone gets those. No, this is a backlash from its advocates who don’t like it when they get the fail whale picture. CNN thinks it’s happening and it’s happening right now.

Which of course it is. And it will continue. Not because it’s Twitter but because this is how human beings interact with technology.

We start by being overawed. Take the CD; I remember when CDs launched, they were incredible, we were told, and quite possibly indestructible. We soon got over that – then we noticed that the music industry had managed to double the price of an album without anyone noticing. Then the backlash started – they didn’t sound as good as vinyl, de dum, de dum, de dum. Later on email began which was great – at first. Instant communication with someone the other side of the world – until you get your first outage, at which point email sucks. Big time.

Things move faster now. Twitter’s rise from a tiny minority pursuit has been nothing short of meteoric and lookee here, it can’t always cope. So yes, we get a backlash and it’s a big one – but it’ll move on just as quickly.

Someone on Twitter was just saying their local radio station was speculating that Twitter won’t last another year. My guess is that it will, for people who have a reason to use it, but the simply curious will move away quite quickly and find the ‘next big thing’. The apparent disillusionment when it can’t cope with a squillion users all wanting to get a glimpse of their favourite musician, sportsperson or other hero is all part of this process.

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Newspapers aren’t making themselves interactive enough

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Social media shouldn’t be the death of newspapers but many people are portraying them in that way. This is why it’s good to read Marketingvox’ report of the Gartner view that they need to embrace the social networking area rather than compete with it, with thanks to Steverubel on Twitter for pointing the link out in the first place.

I find my experience mixed. The problem with the current model is that yes, you can comment on some stories online (I find the ones without the chance to comment now look out of date) but if it’s a popular newspaper you get lost in the mass of individuals.

I suspect there needs to be a new model to make real interaction work, and it’s not going to be leaving a couple of sentences on the end of an experienced writer’s polished prose. Where we go from here I don’t know, but for me the current model doesn’t work.

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sensible advice: social media A&E

Social Media Marketing Madness Cartoon by HubSpot
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10/10 to Rockstar’s blog for putting some sensible guidelines up about social media and clangers that can be dropped, and how to avoid these turning into crises.

On the other hand I’m having a slow day, could do with some livening up, so I’m just going to point out that the schmuck doesn’t realise there’s no apostrophe in a plural.

OK, his move…

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sun taken in by blogger

…but why? There’s an item on the Sun newspaper’s website today (and here’s a commentator blogging about it just to show how quickly these things spread) about how Google Street View caught someone being unfaithful to his wife. She recognised the car outside someone’s house when the husband in question said he was away on business.

And guess what – this blogger now claims it was him all the time, scamming the Sun and persuading them it was a genuine news item when it wasn’t.

Well, well done. Quite. But…why bother? I can see the fun element of it a bit I suppose, and as a jobbing journalist it’s good that we’re all being reminded of the imperative of checking our stories. But how this one could have been checked I don’t know; but yes, false stories should be uncovered.

But why bother placing it in the first place? I’m a little stumped at this one. Personal glory? Maybe. A laugh? Well, yes, but where do you take it from there? He says there will be more like this on the way, be still my beating heart. Maybe he’s trying to persuade us all to be a bit more cynical and critical about the stories that appear in the UK tabloid press. Funnily enough I don’t think we needed telling about that.

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Do you need training in social media?

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
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This social media course in Birmingham is causing a lot of controversy. That’s understandable’ since everyone who uses it at the moment is self-taught so why the need to spend £4000 on a course?

The tutors involved are pointing out that people who aren’t on the course are in no position to comment, which sounds fair enough. I have another problem with it, though. I’m writing a book on social networking (yes I know I’ve mentioned that a number of times) and one of the things that scares me – no, terrifies me – is that between the time at which I submit the manuscript and it actually seeing the inside of a bookshop, a process that will take about 5 months due to dark arts and publishing industry reasons, it’ll be totally out of date.

Consider, for example, if I’d been commissioned to write it a year ago. I’d have mentioned Twitter, certainly, but it would have appeared as a bit of a side issue to other social media like Bebo, Myspace, Facebook. There’s no doubt that these will have their place in the book this time around, but I’ll be writing for a generation that’s aware of social networking purely because it’s been on Twitter. The hooks, the way people get into it, have changed. In a very short time.

And now there’s a course on it. Well, fine. 25 years ago I started a course in French at college, and over the years my knowledge has become dated – I don’t know whether there’s a French word for iPod, or WiFi, we simply didn’t have them 25 years ago. I can accept that over a quarter of a century. My concern about degree-level social networking is that it’ll date almost as much over a period of months.

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March 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Has this been free for too long?

One of the odder elements of social media is that we’re becoming so accustomed to getting so much for free. There was outrage the other week when YouTube dared suggest music videos should be chargeable. Now the same people are going to separate out premium content from the ordinary stuff.

It’s going to make things clearer for the end user of course; what’s bewildering to me is why we expect so much for free in the first place. Blogs, newspapers, loads of content are all on the Web free of charge. Many videos and entertainments on YouTube are there for you to help yourself. I’m writing this blog in the hope that it’ll draw attention to my book when it comes out in October by all means, but for no direct payment.

Social media is slowly training all of us to expect loads of stuff for nothing. Hopefully the YouTube move will be the first stage of nudging us towards paying for at least some of it – or else why will future content creators bother uploading?

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March 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is Facebook sustainable?

A great post on Cnet (sourced from the New York Times) asks whether Facebook is growng too quickly for its own good. Read it here.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Social media financing, Social networking providers | , , , , | Leave a comment

Different rules for public sector?

Barack Obama @ Twitter
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A good blog post from Simon Wakeman raises the issue of following and unfollowing on Twitter when you’re a public body rather than an individual. He doesn’t particularly want to be followed by a council and you can see why not.

I’d actually extend that and ask people in the public eye why they follow back. For example, I follow Stephen Fry on Twitter. He doesn’t follow me but then I wouldn’t expect him to – 300,000 followers watch what he’s up to, he posts interesting stuff from time to time but he can’t possibly have an interest in following all of us.

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, follows me. He never replies to my messages and speaking as a lone journalist in the UK I can’t say I’m in any way surprised. He’s quite a busy man, funnily enough. But he follows me. So does famous comedian in the UK and small-time (so far) film star, Russell Brand. Once more, why he’d bother I have no idea.

Probably he and the Prez are using some sort of automatic following software, which I’d guess they regret now. The issue Wakeman highlights is that the councils appear to be following people who aren’t following them, which is plain odd. Why would a council follow an individual?

The chances are very good that the councils employ individuals who kind of forget that they’re acting on behalf of a public body. They see someone saying something of interest and they follow, which is good, it’s what the system’s for – but you end up with a confused person being followed, who thinks that it’s Wandsworth Council following him and not his old mate Wilf from school who hasn’t identified themselves.

This is going to sort itself out in the end as people develop more and more sophisticated internal rules as to what you may and may not do on this sort of system (and let’s not pander to the idea that Twitter is where development stops). For the moment I’ll be interested to see what happens when someone like M15 or the CIA start following innocent civilians on Twitter, all because an employee was at the same college.

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March 30, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

5 Must-Try Tumblr Extras

5 Must-Try Tumblr Extras

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March 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Break journalism rules on blogs

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Something I love is when the new media appears to break old media rules. As per my post earlier today I’m not a believer in slack standards at all but there are some rules that can stretch a little.

Which is why I found this post on the Savethemedia blog highly stimulating. Show it to any journalists you know and they’ll be arguing until the wee small hours.

Have a good weekend.

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March 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment