The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Posts Tagged ‘myspace

Fashion in Social Media

Mention Social Networking to anyone in the pub and chances are their understanding is Facebook or Twitter. To me that’s the same as mentioning football and everyone immediately talking about David Beckham. Whether you like or understand football or not, around the world people know that David Beckham is a footballer. You don’t need to understand the offside trap, the Christmas tree or overlapping fullbacks – you can have a conversation.

To me the difference between Social Networking and Social Media is crucial. Social Media is trivial – it is the fashion, flavour-of-the-month, here today and gone tomorrow. No matter how popular or successful, individual social media brands are fighting for market share. If you doubt it consider the “fate” of MySpace. At its peak, just five years ago, MySpace was the most visited website in the US (more than Google) and was sold to NewsCorp in 2005 for $580m. This year the company was sold for $35m and was ranked as the 103rd most visited website in the US.

In 2005 Bebo was acquired for $850m by AOL. It was sold in 2010 for less than $10m due to huge reductions in unique users.

What is far more important than any individual social media product is the underlying benevolence which has meant that individuals have wanted to share, help and collaborate for centuries. Social media is doing to Social networking what the Agricultural Revolution did for agriculture and the Industrial Revolution did for manufacturing. If you focus on Facebook or Twitter you miss the point in the same way that if you know everything about David Beckham’s clothes, children or statistics you are a long way from understanding football.

I’d rather spend my time understanding Social Networking (with or without capital letters) than bet my livelihood on a brand.

Written by greencontact

July 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

Posted in Opinion

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Here’s to the rich social “failures”

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Some time ago I blogged about the rise and fall of social media “brands”. Not so long ago my children were addicted to Bebo, Friends Reunited and MySpace and where are they now? In a similar vein, Second Life participants rose from nothing to having four million citizens in 2007. It now settles down at just around 1 million repeat logins.

We need to redefine what we mean by failure I think. With a mindset that is educated on bricks and mortar this would look like decline and fall – the similar fashion-led business profile of the Rubik’s Cube or the latest TV show merchandise.

We really need to look at what has happened with these brands. There are a group of them which have gained enormous popularity and have then been superseded by the latest version. A good example is MySpace which was once the most visited website in the US. In 2011 it was sold for $35m. In my opinion the social media world is a great example of speeding up the business world. The rise of MySpace was fuelled by comparatively little capital expenditure compared to most other businesses. All the issues associated with recruitment, training, facilities etc did not really apply – the growth was driven by increasing subscriber numbers and the need for the network to scale quickly with it. Before it lost popularity it was sold for $580m to Newscorp in 2005. It is hard to imagine that a technology business could grow from nothing to be worth $580m in less than three years and that almost 10 years later it still has revenues of over $100m from essentially the same product. In my view MySpace is an enormous success story when compared with other businesses using a comparable currency.

Consider SecondLife – which remains profitable and with a huge customer base in any other terms. A traditional business which had undertaken the same roller-coaster journey would have been saddled with enormous and crippling overheads and would probably be in administration at this stage. SecondLife is an example of a mature and settled business riding the wave of popularity and settling into a development phase.

The message from Social Media and Social Networking is that the numbers of users and the pace of change are an entrepreneurial dream – huge markets and very low barriers to entry. People entering the market are not looking for businesses to grow and pass on to their children – they are using the pop-up shop and restaurant model – keep your overheads low and take the opportunity while it’s there. There are some very rich “failures” out there.

Written by greencontact

July 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Opinion

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A lesson in Blogging…. from an unexpected source

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The social lines between business and personal are blurred – when you share you share. In my view you shouldn’t control followers, readers and friends other than to control the activities of abusers and spammers. As such, I use my personal social activity as a learning point for my business activity and vice versa. I can test things in one environment and compare with what happens in the other.

Blogging was a new thing for me and I waded in wholeheartedly as ever. The research indicates that Blogging is the social activity that can have the most direct influence and is therefore potentially the most powerful in a business environment. In my mind, it is also the hardest to execute. With this view my efforts were almost exclusively focussed on content as I started my first personal blog. It began almost like a journal – extended ideas and opinions and trying to follow the same format as I use for Twitter (1:1:1).


[Picture source: Barry D via The Book Of Worlds]

What I found was that it doesn’t work in the same way – there isn’t immediately a community to write for or respond to in quite the same way. It takes much more to attract people. The writing is much more demanding because to me, there is a greater need to be interesting. It’s harder to maintain an overall theme and structure – and harder to visualise the goal. For my personal blog, this is fine – I don’t mind if no-one follows me and its both cathartic and fun for me to write. In the business world a blog has a greater significance and can be either brand-building or brand-eroding.

It took my avidly social daughter (who follows my social activity with an amused eye) to read my personal blog and to give me the killer consumer feedback. “Dad, you need to lighten up” she said – “change the format a little and do some shorter, less opinionated pieces. You are also using the hashtags wrongly. If you want to attract an audience you need to use the right ones”. This from a girl whose blogging on fan fiction topics is very popular. “And you’re using the wrong platform – Tumblr is for images and microblogs”. I looked into it and found a useful summary of the platforms: It figures that not only do you want a platform where the functionality enables what you are trying to achieve but also you want a platform where your potential followers and customers are likely to be (there’s no point banging away at MySpace if everyone is on Facebook).

I’m lucky to have the insight and I’m humble enough to listen, I’ve changed the format of my blog and I’m finding it easier to write and more fun as a result. I’ve transferred everything across to WordPress (some good conversion tools by the way) and I’ve tidied up my tags (the tag clouds are quite a good visual sense check).

Written by greencontact

April 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm