Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guest Post On Social Media

Hey Folks. Today, I have the pleasure of posting up a guest post written by fellow blogger Karim on social media. I know that in my three-ish years of blogging, I'm starting to ask the question, "what the heck is this social media business?" Luckily, we have people like KK who can help us with that question and what works and what doesn't in the world of social media. Enjoy! (Thanks again, KK)

Song: Dreamer, Fatima, Wavin' Flag by K'naan (all 3 are sooo good!!)

Mood: I can conquer the world!!

Google social media. I'm talking about the verb google and not the company Google. Are you confused already? If you're not good. If you are, good.

Social media is a tool and not the be all and end all of life as we know it. So, don't worry if you still don't have a Facebook profile. And don't sweat the small stuff if all your friends are tweeting while you're doing all the talking.

Friends. That's how all of this social networking/media got started. But are all friends created equal? Are your Facebook friends really friends? Are people who follow you on Twitter or tag you on Tagged really that interested in you? Yes they are. Seriously!

Now you may be wondering about those 739 Facebook friends: Are they really your friends? Well, at least one of you wants to be friends. Think about it. You or he/she would not have requested you be friends if there was no intention to develop some sort of relationship beyond an electronic connection. Maybe you know people in common, went to the same public school or have a similar distaste for Toronto. You have SOMETHING in common. Now here's the catch: Develop these relationships. Talk/chat with them. Send them an email asking how life is. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. Just because technology has made it easier to keep in touch does not mean that it is easier to start relationships.

But it is possible. There are two case studies to point to. The first stars a New York Times Magazine columnist. He invited over 700 people from his friend's list on Facebook to a local pub. Only one person showed up. You can read about it HERE and HERE. The question isn't are people on his list friends. The question is does Facebook really allow a person to properly engage in a conversation with a group of people? No. You can have a one on one conversation but a group one via an event invitation is no way to throw a party. Think about this: If you're gonna have a wedding, you send out the invitations and also call the same people. Why? Because we all need a reminder. (Hint: That's why McDonald's still advertises!)

Twitter, on the other hand, engages followers with each other. What is Twitter? Watch this YouTube video and then come back: Twitter in Plain English. Simple, eh?

So, check this out: An event was held a few weeks ago around the world to raise money for a charity. The event was called Twestival. In Toronto, a few people jumped on the bandwagon and created an event called TwestivalTO. More than 400 people showed up in Toronto and helped to raise over $10,000. Not bad considering they planned the event in less than 3 weeks and promoted it through Facebook and Twitter and a website. I remember getting an invite through Facebook. I remember ignoring it. It was only via a person on Twitter that I really found out about the event and decided to attend. Why the difference in response? The Facebook invite was "souless". The Tweets back and forth by real people was full of excitement!

Here's my point. You don't need social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. However, if you choose to use them remember this:

We like to talk, listen, touch and feel. So be human.


Karim Kanji
Twitter "handle": @karimkanji


Karim Kanji said...


Anonymous said...

Being human is the first thing I tell all my clients when they start to engage on the web. It's too easy to try and hide behind a persona, organization, or concept. People need human connection — even though that might be harder to present.

Great article Karim.

Mehnaz said...

KK - No worries
SV - Yes good point. That's also what I like the most about the blogs and other forms of social media that I engage with. It's much better to see what a person is about. In a world which is full of masks, it's rather refreshing!