Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Building online communities profitably

A community of interest gathers at Stonehenge,...
Image via Wikipedia

A great blog post from the moblogsproblems blog points to areas that might explain why people don’t follow someone online, or why they don’t take part in communities. Since one of the issues is with not acknowledging helpful people I’ll start by thanking Shonali Burke for pointing it out, I don’t have a note of her website but she has an excellent blog and you can follow her on Twitter here.

The monetisation thing is something that interests me (funnily enough). I’ve only been plugging away at this particular site for just over a month (and took a week off last week) but it’s starting to get significant amounts of readers, particularly when I pick a fight with someone (again, funnily enough). The option to try to make it profitable somehow is probably premature but as I’ve just discovered WordPress deletes html code on my page by default (thanks, guys) don’t worry, you won’t be plagued with ads for a while just yet.

There are a lot of people, though, who want to engage with and build communities for the sake of it – clubs, fan circles whether of sports, favourite TV programmes, you know the sort of thing. I think a point that the original blogger has missed is picking an audience that’s ready to be engaged is vitally important. I get a fair bit of feedback on this site, but then it’s about social networking. I chose the subject to go with my book (must do a bit of work on that when I’m through blogging) but also because the people who were into social networking would also be into responding online. If I’d picked another subject close to my heart – say being a fortysomething father, which believe me is the most important thing in my life – then a lot of my target market would have needed the concept of blogging and responding explained to them before moving ahead with it.

So, address the audience but make sure the audience is ready first, would be my first advice to anyone wanting to set up a community. Second, be prepared to market to them – since the invention of the Internet there’s been an illusion that the audience will just turn up, somehow.

No doubt more will occur to me, spurred by other blog posts and articles – I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s perspectives.

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | Social media financing, social media trends | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Official: Google Maps pictures challenged

Google Maps
Image by edans via Flickr

OK, I’m the first to admit I was a little spooked when I first saw Google Maps had a picture of my house on its Street View view. It even had a picture of my car. But then I’ve always understood my car and my house are in a public place. You can’t come in, but there’s nothing to stop you standing there and glaring (I’d rather you didn’t but I can’t actually stop you).

Clearly someone doesn’t actually understand this, though, which is why Google is facing a legal challenge.

I hate this. I’ve already blogged on it on the Daniweb blog and now that it’s official I feel no less strongly. If we want people visiting this country to feel we’re backward, then fine – let them arrive and find that Google Maps’ pictures flick off on their iPhone or Android phones when they cross our borders. If they want to think we’re obsessive about privacy then OK, let pictures taken in a public place be banned but let’s introduce compulsory ID cards and hang the consequences.

I’m not pleased. I hope this fails. It feels like a huge step backwards – I can only repeat, these are pictures taken in a public place and Google has been most co-operative about taking anything down that appears to embarrass or compromise someone.

Later: My thanks to fellow journalist Eric Doyle for pointing me to his post in which he disagrees vehemently with me.

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March 24, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Brits are coming

I’ve Tweeted about it and I’ve blogged elsewhere – there’s a legal objection being lodged about the new functions in Google Maps. I think the objection is a lousy idea and will hold us back if it succeeds – here’s my post on the American Daniweb site that explains my view.

March 20, 2009 Posted by | Social networking providers | , , | Leave a comment