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Posts Tagged ‘Media140 Sydney’
The advent of the Social Web has seen an explosion in new, new media agencies, clamouring to tell brands how to make the most of these shiny new marketing opportunities: just what should they be Tweeting? How best to work that Facebook fan page?
But it’s hardly rocket science, or is it? And where does this leave the traditional media agencies? Are they desperately playing catch-up or or are they quickly cottoning on? For #MKTG140, George Spencer asks whether brands actually need to employ whizzy new, stand alone boutiques to manage their presence across the rash of sometimes bewildering new web platforms.
Newly-inducted managers at NASA are reportedly made to watch the 1998 film Armageddon, noting as many scientific inaccuracies in the movie as they can spot. At least 168 technically impossible details have been identified during these screenings.
It doesn’t, however, to take a NASA manager to spot the howler on which the entire plot hinges. The NASA brains in Armageddon decide not to bother training their best astronauts to use drills (with which to dig a hole on the deadly asteroid, bury a nuclear warhead and blow the rocky aggressor to bits before it collides with our fair planet.) Probably way too easy for your average astronaut?
Instead, they decide that a more efficient use of the limited time before the expected apocalyptic impact is to assemble a team comprised of the world’s best drillers; train them up as astronauts, and then send them up, to do the already tricky job of landing on the cosmic body hurtling towards Earth at breakneck speed.
Unsurprisingly, nobody is especially confident of the plan; the sole purpose of Billy-Bob Thornton’s character, NASA chief Dan Truman, appears to be to emphasise just how goddamn risky the entire endeavour is. The film is peppered with shots of furrowed brows, “goddamnsonuvabitches” and similar forebodings.
NASA’s barmy Armageddon plan came to my mind more than once during the recent Media140 brands event in London when many of the presenters returned, again and again, to discussing the schism between traditional marketing agencies and the swelling crop of specialist ‘social media’ agencies.
One specific and heated topic was whether the “Social Web” per se was something which was being pushed onto clients by the agencies; and whether companies should be outsourcing their Twitter feeds, for example, to specialists. Many of the companies represented at the event, such as “We Are Social” referred to themselves pointedly as a ‘conversation agency’. Others, such as Ogilvy made no bones about being a more traditional (and by implication, broader) firm. The question I yearned to ask every time this came up was whether anyone believed that, just maybe, we’re in the process of training the oil riggers to be astronauts with these divergent approaches on offer?
During the Survivor’s Club panel, James Hart, Director of E-Commerce at ASOS was asked whether ASOS would persist with Twitter if its user-base dwindled, like so many social networking sites before it. His reaction was telling. He looked utterly perplexed. He explained: “No. We’re about being where our customers are. There wouldn’t be any point if we aren’t reaching people, it’s just a new way [of reaching people].”
I believe that this is the key to the entire revolution. We may be witnessing internal reshuffles, both at traditional agencies and at the brands themselves to better accommodate the altered landscape of the Social Web. However, the core disciplines have not changed. If you want to provide customer service on Twitter, you need to have CS teams who know how to deliver a consistent brand message and who appreciate the gravity of their task. Nothing about Twitter is different for Customer Service, except, perhaps, for the semi-public nature of the conversation?
All of which begs the question: do brands need specialised agencies to work with on their Social Web presence, when most larger agencies are already equipped to provide solutions across a broader spectrum?
As Tom Bedecarré wryly noted in his introductory keynote, of Twitter’s 40 million users, 35 million of them are social media gurus. However, I am not suggesting that We Are Social or other specialised social web agency does things any old Twitter-user could do; they tie the strands of different platforms together and have experience running campaigns across them – but these are platforms designed for humans to use. It’s not the same as producing a TV advertisement; it doesn’t require that kind of specialised knowledge and expertise.
Robin Grant, head of We Are Social, was quizzed over his concerns regarding client attitudes towards the social web; and specifically whether he felt it might be a transient phenomenon. “That’s one of our fears, both internally at We Are Social and as a member of the community. There are clients who are just interested in social media because they are chasing the new toy, and that will create a backlash.”
Much anticipation in Sydney ahead of the day two keynote, live from New York, courtesy of Skype from respected commentator Jay Rosen. Guest live blogger Paul Farrell managed to post this lively summary and analysis of what was, by any criteria, a powerful and thought-provoking speech. Oh -& the tech all worked beautifully too!
Professor of journalism at New York University Jay Rosen, delivered a powerful talk on the way that new media was transforming the news system. His main initial point was that “the audience isn’t atomized any more, it’s connected horizontally”, and his discussion painted a bright picture about the democratization of information online. The very nature of the way that Jay’s talk was conducted, via webcam, seemed to prove the essence of his point.
But one topic of discussion that proved to be hard to swallow for the audience as they tweeted away was on the topic on filtering, and how “we have to get much better at creating intelligent filters” for information distribution across social media platforms. As soon as the word “filters” was thrown around, the bloggers in the audience collectively raised their hackles.
Jay went on to say that “we can build filters that are much more personalized”, and this tied into one of his other ideas that “transparency is the new objectivity”. New media is credible because of its honesty, and Jay says this is how people gain audiences and responses.
But what are the implications of this? What will happen when filters become more sophisticated and the ways that people view information with social media changes? It seems that this could have some potentially disastrous impacts for the democratization of information on the web.
It took Barack Obama only 25 characters to shock most of his 2,677, 720 followers to the core. “I have never used Twitter” confessed the leader of the Free World, when pressed on new technology by Chinese students in Shanghai. But, hang on a minute. Wasn’t this the first Social Media Presidency? One of the very first Twitter accounts to be verified? And if Barack says he really is all thumbs, just who is it who is doing all his tweeting?
Australian Federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull also got himself into something of a Social Media mess last week, when the Liberal leader’s Twitterer in chief, Tom Tudehope, quit in the wake of a dodgy YouTube video row. Here, Paul Farrell examines the case of @TurnbullMalcolm and wonders whether or not politicians are actually ill-advised to leave Social Media to their advisors.
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull appeared at ease during the Sydney Media 140 conference in discussion with broadcaster Fran Kelly, leaning comfortably back in his chair. But little did he know that only a few days later, he would looking for a new social media advisor, after his chief on-line strategist, Thomas Tudehope, was revealed to be linked to a version of the popular spoof Hitler “Downfall” video lampooning besieged Liberal politician, Alex Hawke.
The admission that “Tommy Tudehope helps with a lot of it” [Turnbull's tweeting] during the Media140 interview may well have contributed to the startling resignation. But I believe that what these events may reveal is a key danger of the burgeoning use of social media: politicians leaping on the bandwagon and the consequent use of new media tools for more complex political tricks.
What is strange about the entire Tudehope affair is the number of questions which remain unanswered. While the Sydney Morning Herald did report that the email exchange regarding the clip “names a number of other right-wing figures and their private responses to the clip”, they did not publish any of these responses or identify other Liberal members linked to the video.
The newspaper was apparently also content to note that, despite resigning, Mr Tudehope said he “had no involvement in the production or dissemination of the video.”
Mr Turnbull remained unusually quiet for the few days of coverage of the story, and even desisted from Tweeting – although perhaps this was simply because his head ghost Tweeter had just resigned?
One of the key ideas which emerged from the Sydney Media140 event’s Tips for Social Media panel was that users of Twitter and other social media tools needed to be honest. Perhaps, too. the most important thing is to establish a dialogue of trust with your audience. Yet does it inspire trust in audiences when one of Mr Turnbull’s advisors is linked with the Alex Hawke Hitler video? Hardly.
Another curious fact to emerge from the on-stage discussion with Fran Kelly was that Mr Turnbull did not compose all of his own tweets – an admission highlighted by President Obama’s shock admission during his recent China visit that he had “never used Twitter”.
Surely, this raises another series of questions about the use of social media by politicians? Is it still strictly honest to have someone else twittering for Mr Turnbull, when it is the latter’s large, grinning face plastered all over his Twitter background?
Wendy Bacon, the head of the University of Technology Sydney journalism faculty, posted on Twitter that she had: “Tweeted Turnbull questions; had he seen that video? Just yesterday Turnbull chatted about close working relationship with social media staff”.
This is a particularly interesting question, and one to which Mr Turnbull has so far not responded. Mr Turnbull told the Media140 audience that he uses Twitter “as a tool of political communication”, but in the light of his “I use a ghost” confession, the “communication” appears to be some thing of a monologue.
By now, nobody reading this blog can be in any doubt of one salient feature of the New Media: there sure is a heck of a lot of it about. The sheer volume of material generated on-line, by the blogosphere, by MSM, desperately trying to keep up with the kids and, more recently, courtesy of the burgeoning Twitterverse, is simply mind-boggling – by any criteria.
The speed and depth (or sometimes shallowness) of this wealth of ‘stuff’ has led to vociferous calls for intelligent filters, curators and copy tasters. However, as Professor Jay Rosen pointed out in his Sydney Media140 keynote: “There is no such thing as information overload, there is only filter failure”.
The Sydney event, with three keynotes, seven panels, more than 50 speakers, not one but two cocktail receptions and an incredibly lively backchannel (which reached 300 tweets a minute at one point in the proceedings), generated a huge amount of material, some of it, naturally, more relevant than the rest.
One of the minions still sifting through the Sydney stuff for your edification is blog editrice, Dominique Jackson. Eventually, she hopes to have a post, or two, on some of the more controversial issues raised during the gig. For now, in the #TGIF spirit we like to encourage at the end of the working week, she offers a light-hearted perspective on why the Twitter naysayers only make her more determined to defend the micro-blogging service.
I recently flew half way around the world to sit in an Antipodean basement. There I sat, glued to a borrowed laptop for two and a half days, while my brain gently fried with the effort of attempting to imbibe wisdom from the distinguished speakers on show, feigning intelligence and trying my best to remember hundreds of names, faces and Twitter handles.
Well, of course, that is not all that I did last week in Sydney. Before I flew home, I managed to spend a restorative weekend with the old friends who had kindly put me up, learning a bit more about life in Australia, somewhere I have always wanted to live. For us Poms, entranced by television programmes, from Skippy, through Neighbours, and including Kath and Kim, Oz can seem like Xanadu. To us, it seems quite like the UK, but with sunshine, where everyone speaks English, the Thai food is excellent and the beach never more than a few minutes away, for frequent trips with bulging Esky, snug in the back of the Ute.
One experience however, was particularly sobering. I was thrilled to be invited to the proverbial barbie, complete with the snags and prawns I was hoping for, plus bonus pre-shucked oysters, copious sashimi and, a first for me, sparkling Merlot. However, I had no idea that I was to be the entertainment for the day.
It started harmlessly enough: with a few digs at my accent and quaint vocabulary. My own friend’s clearly well-meant boast that I spoke eight languages elicited an immediate put-down: “We only speak two languages here: ‘Strine & Drunken ‘Strine….”
But it was the mention of Twitter that had me reaching for rather more Merlot than might have seemed polite.
“Why on earth would I want to know when you were off to the dunny or that you were looking forward to the Vegemite sandwich you’d packed for Morning Tea?” asked my host, rather more aggressively than I thought entirely necessary. By now, of course, he was also brandishing a large barbecue fork.
Reader, I did start to defend, explain and forfend – but I was seriously outnumbered by natives, and besides, the laughter prompted by the dunny reference, outlasted my admittedly feeble attempts. I confess: I gave up then and there.
Later that evening, sitting up in my mates’ spare room, another borrowed laptop on my knee, still slightly smarting from my unexpected afternoon in the lions’ den, I – quite naturally, I am sure you will agree – logged onto Twitter.
Be honest – when was the last time you logged onto your Facebook profile? Have you deserted all your FB Friends, in favour of your Twitter network? Why would you do that?
Ahead of Media140 Sydney, Jenna Langer, one of the Oz-based team, reflects on her own conversion from stalking her friends to issue-based search. Any comments on similar experiences of Twitter taking over from other social networks, as ever, more than welcome!
As a college student, I used to spend a lot of time attempting to do assignments, but really? I was browsing Facebook. Checking out pictures from last weekend’s parties is much more entertaining than writing essays. Yet more recently, during my final semester, studying abroad in Sydney, instead of using Facebook for procrastination, I’ve been on Twitter. Have I really grown out of stalking my friends from home and seeing what I’ve been missing? Or was this recent Tweet closer to what I am really experiencing?
“I’m spending much more time on Twitter than Facebook lately. I must care more about real issues than what parties my friends are going to :)”
We have all heard and participated in the Facebook vs. Twitter debate. Most of my college-age friends are on Facebook and the very same group thinks that Twitter is “weird and pointless”. Their arguments usually run like this: “Why do I care what people are doing every second of the day?” or “I don’t want to follow people or have them follow me, that’s just creepy.”
I’ve attempted to explain Twitter, but it often feels like a waste of energy. I’ll just let them continue calling me a “Twitter Dork,” I don’t mind. I’m working on crafting an appropriate answer to the Twitter question, and once I do, hopefully I can change some people’s minds.
Like most people, I use Facebook and Twitter in completely different ways. I agree with many of the reasons set out by Soren Gordhamer in this piece: “When Do You Use Twitter Versus Facebook?” in an article on Mashable.
Twitter: Connecting with someone you don’t know, breaking news and new learning and discovery. Personally, I follow people with similar interests or bloggers writing about a topic about which I want to learn more. I can’t count the number of times I have discovered conferences, organizations, and websites that have sparked my interest and prompted me to take further action. That’s how I found out about Media140.
I refer to Twitter for breaking news, as many of us did during the protests after the Iran Election. I found out about the Hudson River Plane Landing on Twitter. The TwitPic of the rescue is now widely acknowledged as one of the first events that showed how Twitter can be used for real-time news by everyday people.
Facebook? I feel it is more for local news and events, connecting with someone you know or help on a specific issue.
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