Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thats All Folks! Day Twenty-Eight

This is quite literally The Last Post; cue funereal bugle music... So what did we learn en route?

#1 GUARD YOUR PERSONAL DATA. We all know the maxim about the proverbial free lunch - so why were we surprised that Facebook was selling on our personal data? We think twice about giving out personal information to the cashier in a shop, yet we vomit out information online. Not any more.
#2 IT'S THE WILD WEST OUT THERE. Three interviewees reported how this is all uncharted territory; no-one knows for sure what they are doing. It's a case of throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall to see how it sticks (or - more likely - falls).
#3 THE COROLLARY OF #2; THERE IS A WONDERFUL SPIRIT OF SHARING. It's a good time to join in the fun. The situation was aptly described as Frontier Land. Thankfully, there's stacks of info online. Don't suffer in silence. If you hit a technical snafu, then google it and join an online forum.
#4 DO ONE THING WELL. You have to spend a fair amount of time nursing the baby. You have to love what you're writing about day in day out (our 28-day blog started out as daily posts -- but slowed down when we hit the high teens...) As one marketeer advises, pick a single social media platform and devote yourself to doing that well.
#5 MAPPING A BRAND'S 'NOISE' IS THE FUTURE. Far and away, the most interesting activity we encountered was the concept of brand mapping. By identifying influencers who blog or tweet and mapping their connections/followers/discussion topics, companies can see what is being said about their brand or company in cyberspace. B2C companies are even exploring how to direct this chatter. An example of this is Gatorade's control center. For the full scoop, see's story. It's all highly reminiscent of William Gibson's visionary SF novel "Pattern Recognition," where a commercial 'cool-hunter' identifies the interstices in the global matrix of information to tip off companies about what will be the next big thing.
# 6 READ MORE SCI FI LITERATURE - someone somewhere has already anticipated our future.
# 8 CAN WE FIX IT...YES WE CAN. Remember that catchphrase?

We started off believing we were to blame if things go wrong. 28 days later, having endured multiple Twitter outages and danced around online forums and FAQs, we'll now assume it's a glitch in the product or service. How liberating.
#9 DON'T REINVENT THE WHEEL. It's like publishing an academic paper. Don't open your mouth until you've listened to the general conversation. Join related interest groups online and find out what's being said before sounding off yourself. This may enable you to capture an existing audience as opposed to building yours follower by follower.
#10 BLOGGING IS CATHARTIC. It's like publishing an interior monologue. Anyone seen Peep Show on BBC America? Remove the obscenities and that's what blogging resembles...but STEP BACK AND LET IT BREATHE FOR 24 HRS. Oxidization improves what you've written...

Now what? Well, we certainly achieved our goal in terms of gaining competence and confidence in social networking. We even felt sufficiently skilled to volunteer for a committee to promote a benefit for Reading Terminal Market using--guess what-- social networking techniques. (Seeing as we're doyennes now.)

We kind of like this immersion thing and are starting to mull over a few ideas for future 28 day blog research topics:

1. Gelato flavors
2. Spa treatments
3. The best sushi in town
4. Most luxurious hotel
5. Wine tasting
7. Cooking the perfect steak

Suggestions welcome......

Posted by: Claire and Keri

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