Friday, June 28, 2013

Do We Still Need Community Managers? I'm 50/50 On That One

So Susan Murphy was kind enough to answer my Question of the Week on her Jester Creative blog. She can also be found at SuzeMuse and on Twitter.

I asked if there's still a role these days for social media community managers? As more brands and users become proficient in these tools, I wondered if they could collaborate together and take on the task, or whether it still needed an individual to "manage" (not keen on that word in regards to overseeing a community) that online gathering.

In her answer, Susan writes: "The people I think are the best at managing communities are people who have much more broad ranging experience than just being proficient at tools like Facebook and Twitter. Because just being able to use the tools well doesn’t mean you can communicate effectively with them."

I agree. I believe it's unreasonable and risky to hand off the community manager role to someone who doesn't have a previous background of customer service, or dealing with large groups of people pre-social media.

As I mentioned before: "Whether you talk to them face-to-face or send them an e-mail or a Tweet, be polite, use manners, show courtesy. If a customer walks into an electronics store and wants to know more about your products, you're not going to stand there shouting [at them to] buy this. There's nothing worse than tweeting 'buy my products!' People switch off ... because it's like you're being shouted at with advertising." [Full article.]

Susan also writes: "Likewise, I don’t think that down the road, 'social media consultants' and 'community managers' will thrive if that’s the only thing they know how to do."

I disagree. I think -- in maybe three years tops -- there won't be the words "social media" included in these type of job titles. It will be a given that if you are in the marketing, PR, promotions, communications, online editorial and content management business, then you will use all the NECESSARY and RELEVANT tools available to you to get the best results for yourself/clients/brands/companies or whatever ROE (Return on Engagement) that you planned to achieve. [Full article with some more thoughts.]

So, as the blog post title says, I'm 50/50 on this question at this particular point in time. But thanks again to people like Susan that inspire me to write a few words down each day on subjects such as this!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quote: "IRL Is So 2013" Unquote

That quote is from Elena Yunusov who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday over a lunchtime coffee (next one's on me!) and enjoying a very interesting conversation. Elena is the founder of Communicable, and co-organized fundraising events like HoHoTO and HaiHaiTO.

An invite came out of the blue from Elena via my LinkedIn account asking to meet for a coffee. That is a rare thing in this "Please RT me even thought we've never met!" social media society, so I accepted. (p.s. Anyone can invite me on LinkedIn -- I am an open networker and may be able to help you with something, a job lead or an introduction. It's my name at Gmail dot com, cheers.)

I feel more comfortable meeting new people one-on-one rather than in a big group. The amount of meetups and other techie gatherings I've been to where the person you're talking to is constantly looking over your shoulder at other people's name tags to chat to. Rude. (Or maybe I'm boring.)

Elena explained that I was part of a project. That intrigued me as I've never been someone's project before, but listened. She is embarking on the 50 Coffee Meetings challenge whereby, quite simply, she's inviting 50 people she's never met before out for coffee. (Elena -- correct me if I'm wrong in the comments!)

I thought that was a pretty bold idea. I get nervous at meeting new people, so respect the fact that she's trying to move (some of, not all) the conversation offline and actually shaking the hand of people that swirl around in Twitter feeds, LinkedIn profiles and other social media avenues.

I also learned about some cool stuff from her, including the Toronto Mini Maker Faire being held from September 21-22. I am away so can't attend, but promised to mention it ... so there you go!

Hopefully I was also able to offer some interesting stuff in return. It was great to do that kind of thing in person, and I hope to be able to meet some more people for coffee or lunch this year that I only see online, but feel like I kinda know.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My 10,000th Tweet!

I finally reached a personal milestone today of my 10,000th tweet, so wanted to make it memorable and mean something, rather than just post a food pic or something -- which I often do too, much to the chagrin of some.

Celebrations break out at the 10,000th tweet

Don't get me wrong; there are users out there with tenfold more tweets, very prolific people who seem to spend all day on Twitter and tweet their lives for posterity. Nothing wrong with that -- we all get something different from the service.

I joined Twitter on April 1, 2008 (no joke) and didn't understand it AT ALL. As a professional writer from a journalism background, I was used to telling stories, crafting prose, taking my time to create in-depth and well-researched articles and news items.

Suddenly, I only had 140 characters at my disposal ... including spaces, symbols and numbers! The humanity! How on earth would I be able to get anything meaningful in there?

So, I started off with the requisite "eating my lunch" and "drinking coffee" and "good morning" tweets (if I recall) until I got a little more adventurous, and started RTing people, following those who I thought I'd have no interest in (was I wrong!) and generally becoming more comfortable with the platform.

Then after a few weeks of that, something clicked in my head and I actually began to crave the challenge of still trying to tell the same stories, but being ultra-conservative on wasted words. It was great.

And then when people were actually kind enough to start following me, I upped my game to try and include some interesting content they'd find useful. (I get a lot of hip hop users following me, no idea why!)

Since those heady, early days, Twitter has become one of my daily routines, whether connecting, tweeting jobs (which I enjoy), learning interesting stuff ... and posting about FOOD! (That won't change.)

Onwards to my 100,000th tweet ...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Log Off, Shutdown And Store The Computer In The Attic

Ads. Cookies. Spyware. Malware. Phishing. Hacking. Analytics.

Take a look at the above list and you'll see that we're being tracked online all the time, have been for years. And now suddenly, everyone is up in arms about the recent "revelation" that international security services using PRISM have been accessing data from around nine (probably more) Internet-based companies, including Facebook and Google.

Canadian users aren't exempt either, it seems.

I find it seriously hard to believe that no one in this technological day and age doesn't understand that what they do online is recorded on a server somewhere, and people other than them know what they've been doing. There's obviously tech involved that is far more wide-reaching than most were aware of, but it's now coming to light due to intelligence community insiders like Edward Snowden.

[From the article: His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents. -- There's another whole issue there of how these security companies vet their employees, but that's another story.]

As is now par for the course when something big like this breaks, social media explodes, people go crazy RTing each other, venting against governments, authority in general, offering their own insights, rebuttals, cross-checking, arguments, praise etc. I think that's when social media really comes into its own: you dip in, monitor the conversation for a while, form an opinion and don't take anything for granted.

Pros: there are no rules in social media. Cons: there are no rules in social media. Use it as you will and how it suits you to jump in and participate in the news of the day.

All those tweets are being stored and monitored somewhere, probably this blog post and millions of others too. It's just the way it seems to be these days. Google knows what e-mails I send; Facebook knows what restaurants I like; LinkedIn knows what industries I'm interested in.

There really is no online privacy anymore, and if you think there is, log off, shutdown and store the computer in the attic.