social media trends, stats

What is Twitter anyways?

I’m going with a news media. How about you?

 

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mommyness, my thoughts, new media, stuff from my life

Are you turning your loved-ones into Social Media haters?

I have a 13 year old boy and I realized something enormous this past Saturday. I’m speaking of a game changing event.

Evan and I planned to spend Saturday in the city (about a 25 minute bus ride from where we live). We would walk and talk and have lunch somewhere.  It was to be a free-form afternoon.

As we were getting ready I naturally packed up my iPhone.  Evan immediately asked me “you’re not going to check in on Twitter and Foursquare every place we go with that all day are you?”

Stunned, I answered no but I suddenly realized that in some part, Evan has indeed been an innocent by-stander when it comes to my Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare ways.  I am not, by any means, a social media addict.  I’ll even prove it.  I am able to leave the house without my iPhone and I sometimes DON’T check in on Foursquare everywhere I go. You should be able to do the same by the way.

Anyways, all this got me thinking.  Here I am; thinking that I am a cool Mom because I am an early adopter when it comes to geeky things like social media and technology.  That should make me awesome right?  It seems not.

Social media participants know, it literally takes a few seconds to check in somewhere but all this paused-attention has a direct effect on the people around us. I think we are unknowingly sending them a message.

What is that message?

Well in my case, I am telling Evan; and very clearly I might add, that every person I follow on Twitter, Foursquare, or Facebook is more important at that moment and that we must pause our conversation, our walk and our moment while I announce to my audience that I am doing, seeing, watching something extraordinary, funny, odd or stupid. Aren’t those things supposed to reserved for our offline lives? Or at least some of it should. Don’t you think?

Make no mistake: this is also an issue for our non-participating Social Media loved-ones.

Let’s say you are out with your non-participating social media life partner and you both have planned to walk, converse and share quality time with each other.  Now, how much of that is actual quality time if and you are clutching your iPhone, Blackberry or Droid with the grip of a young Chuck Norris and are constantly announcing to a bunch of strangers precisely where you are and exactly what you are doing at every possible moment.

In actual fact, if you really think about it, you ARE NOT doing what you say you are doing with your child or life partner because you are are way too busy signing in, tweeting and checking @ statuses every moment you can. And of course, hoping someone will RT your message as you announce every clever word, phrase, action or reaction your child or life partner experiences during what was supposed to be “quality time” together.

I’ve asked Evan a few times if he wanted a Twitter account and his answer has always been “Nah, it’s not for me”.  Of course it’s not. Why would he want to use the one thing that takes my attention away from him.

I think I may be unknowingly creating a social media hater.

How do I (we) change this?  Well, like with every problem knowing you have a problem is a good start.

A case for moderation

I think we all need to monitor ourselves and gauge our Social Media usage to the more appropriate moments in life.

Don’t Use Case – You are the only person at the family reunion with a smart phone and the inclination to Tweet or self-geo locate.  Answer: Your best bet is to send an offline-for-awhile Tweet and put the mobile away and enjoy your family.  They love you and want *and deserve* your complete attention. (update) Okay, maybe you can take pics with your mobile but wait until you get home to upload them to Flickr.

Ideal Usage Case – It’s Twestival and the place is filled with like-minded tech-savvy peeps and you want to share your minute by minute experiences as well as share your pics and want to pick up lots of info for your next blog post.

Share your story about the non-participating Social Media people in your life.  Do they understand what you do? Are they frustrated? Has it affected their view of Social Media?

cause-related, conferences, social media trends

The Twitter effect

I just finished experiencing the Challenge Your World event with Guy Kawasaki in Montreal entirely through Twitter.

What was this event?

Rendez-vous 09 – A featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week and Challenge Your World

I wasn’t able to attend tonight’s event, but just by reading the live Tweeting (and vigouous ReTweeting), the Twitterverse was able gave me a real sense of the energy in a room filled with over 500 attendees.

All proceeds of the evening benefited CARE Canada and according to the latest Challenge Your World Tweet – $17,000 was raised.  That’s amazing!

Congrats to Martin Lessard (@martinlessard) and the Challenge Your World Team (#CYW & @challengeworld).  Your hard work has definitely paid off tonight!

Although I wasn’t there to witness and experience the magic of Guy Kawasaki myself, it was obvious that the Twitterverse was able to transfer his passion, positivity and his inspiring keynote 140 characters at a time.  Thanks to RT’s from @kimvallee, @jeromeparadis, @emergent007, @zelaurent, @bdescary, @evablue and many more.

Cheers to Guy Kawasaki, Challenge Your World and Twitter tonight!

 

social media trends

Difference between online and offline communites – is there one?l

People (i.e., my non-geeky friends) often ask me why I am so fascinated by social media.  I almost always answer “it’s the sense community that it offers”.   I know… I know  – that’s a lame answer but it’s what everyone says, right?

I needed to come up with a better and more meaningful version of that answer.

Let’s talk about offline communities:

I came across an article on Re-Nest (originally from an article in the New York Times) about a growing new trend – commune living.

Because of tighter economic times, many young urban people have decided to pool their resources and live as a collective which also includes an intention to live sustainably.

Apparently, communes and collectives have been noticeably on the rise in recent years as there’s been an increase on cleaner, lighter and more sustainable living, which includes the desire to find or build a community of people who share your values. Laird Schaub, executive secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, points to “an ever-increasing level of dissatisfaction with traditional lifestyle choices, because there’s too much alienation and lack of connectedness. Humans are inherently social animals, yet we don’t particularly know how to get along with one another.”

A lot has changed since the late 1960’s when communes became a popular way of life, especially within the disillusioned counter-culture movement (i.e., hippies).  It was a way for like-minded people to meet up and develop a community built on trust and respect.  When the world and the governments could not to be trusted, people instinctively found each other.  They nurtured and freely communicated their ideas and their beliefs and everyone within the community benefited as a result.  Perfect or not, it was humans doing what we do best – be human.

Fast-forward to today

Trust in governments and world leaders are at an-all-time low.  Working for one company for 35 years and retiring with a pension fund has been erased from the modern definition of a career.  People are starving in front of a plate full of food.  We were all going through life and feeling empty because real human connections were all but lost in the prosperity (and greed) of ’80s and ’90s.

I always wondered why people were so interested in reality TV and for so long.  I now think it’s a symptom of a larger issue – we just want to connect – or rather re-connect.  However clumsy or in bad taste it takes the form of – people are interested in people again.  Why do you think American Idol and Do You Think You Can Dance or even America’s Got Talent are so popular.  Don’t they remind you of the variety shows from the ’50s?  They do for me!  Families actually watch these shows together because they (like the show in the ’50s) entertain people with people.

Now:  bring this back to online communities.

It’s so obvious to me that the relationship between the offline world of communal living and the rise in social media users in the online world are basically the same.   Whether we use Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, Youtube or even Twestival to connect with each other – we all basically need to share ideas, values and beliefs and of course, the community benefits as a result.  The technology is different but the human need to belong is stronger than ever.

I’m not sure how to end this post because this revelation is quite moving to me.  It shows me that people (and I’m gonna quote her here) simply need people – and we always will – and that’s beautiful.

branding, new media

Google as a brand? or a brand facilitator?

29578v7-max-250x250-1Today TechCrunch published an article on which brand is worth 100-billion dollars.

The answer is Google.

I tweeted the link to the post on Twitter today and @wickedboss replied.  It got us both thinking.

The interesting question here is where does Google fit in our modern ideals of what defines a brand  in 2009?

For my part, I say Yes it is a brand!

As I tweeted:

I figure that anything that you use at least once a day… has a place in calling itself a brand.  Don’t you?

BTW:  Thanks for the RT @wickedboss!

my thoughts

A look ahead and some reflection back

I like to look back on a year; as we all do I imagine, and closely review the lessons 2008 offered me. Hopefully, I was paying attention and learned something! I hate learning something twice.

2008 brought personal and professional challenges for me but one thing remained constant – my passion for the web.

Being able to reach out to my Twitter and Facebook communities and connect with people; special people (@pbaileymtl, @tanmcg and @daisywhitney), was invaluable to me in 2008.

2009 holds many secrets (personally, I’m hoping all good) and probably even more challenges (again, good ones!).  Economic volatility will undoubtedly force social media to the forefront of necessary tools in everyone’s arsenal. Being connected and staying connected will become key in 2009. Relying on your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and FriendFeed communities will become a lifeline to keeping up with this fast moving world. Content will be key, as it will distinguish you from the rest. So consider it to be open season on creativity!

All I can say is Thank You for your eyes during the year and for your comments especially. It proves to me that my WordPress stats have human beings behind them. I need to know you are out there and you need to know that I appreciate the time spent with me.

Happy Holidays!

Cheers for 2009!!

new media, stuff from my life

Why Daisy Whitney is Great!

But most of you already know that right?

Why is this particular journalist, novelist and new media evangelist so Great?  Well, she’s a real person!  She’s intelligent, accessible, friendly, funny, and down-to-earth.

For those of you who might not be familiar with her, Daisy is a New Media Expert who specializes in social media, demystifies the phenomenon of web TV and specifically addresses the convergence towards the web from traditional media streams by advertisers.

If watching all those hours of YouTube, iTunes and keeping track of online advertising statistics including user generated media didn’t already keep her busy, she hosts the New Media Minute which you can subscribe to via iTunes or directly from her site DaisyWhitney.com.

Daisy also writes articles for TVWeek.com as well as her weekly column for NewTeeVee.com.  You’ll find her moderating TWiM (This Week in Media) a brainchild of Alex Lindsay at PIxel Corps and an affiliated show on TWiT the network of podcasts (a.k.a. netcasts – Yes Leo I listen and religiously – I should add!).

You’ll also find her on Twitter where she’s recently started online web reviews.  Daisy will, once a week at random, Tweet (on Twitter) that it’s time for submissions for weekly her review. She’ll take the first five Twitter replies and will watch and review the episodes (one from each reply) in her TVWeek blog post.  Using Twitter in this innovative fashion is what I find exciting about social media.  It’s all too cool for words!

One of the biggest reasons for me deciding to dedicate an entire blog post to Daisy is that (as I mentioned) she is, above all, a real person.  I’ve had the opportunity to exchange many links and emails with her over the summer.  I was even able to offer my online personal shopper skills for her trip to NYC back in June.  She’s called me Cute on Twitter and has honored me with a shout out on TWiM.

Daisy has offered me advice when I needed it most and for that I’m extremely grateful.  Daisy might not know it, but she has given me a dose of much needed confidence over the last few months.  My ever growing appetite for the web and social media, not to mention my newly found commitment to the Montreal Tech community can be attributed to her encouragement and most of all her validation.

Here’s my own shout out to you: THANKS DAISY YOU ARE GREAT!

Here she is on a recent episode of Martin Sargent’s Internet Superstar: