Archive for December, 2009

War Rages On!

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Ncomment is back with his second installment of his WAR series. Reddit has invaded the world of Digg and sent Diggers into hiding to plan a revolution against the alien and robotic army of Reddit invaders. With division of Diggers at an all time high, the Reddit army was able to invade the Digg city and bring it to its knees in a single day.

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Ncomment has been able to perfectly capture the political and social issues surrounding social media in his comics since the time they were first introduced. Somehow, he’s hit the nail on the head each time. If you look carefully at his comics, some things are subtle and others not-so-much. Not only does he capture social media issues, he also  includes avatars and logos of well-known publications and social media users.

From TechCrunch Candy Bars, BuzzEdition Beer, The Drill Down Bilboards, Nowsourcing street signage, and The Huffington Post Copy Center, Ncomment has been spot-on. WAR part 2 is packed with social media references and well known sites. Mixx.com has become a refugee camp where Lt. General Panda has begun work on his ultimate weapon (powered by bacon) while the Social Blend news van is parked out front. We even get a look at the Holy Grail itself — the Digg algorithm.

So how does he do it? Ncomment applies one of the best known rules of the Internet, #32, “Lurk Moar.” And boy does he lurk.  Only by doing so has he been able to capture the essence of social media so perfectly — its users. He engages them, gets to know them and then folds them perfectly into his comics. He even takes a stab at Ashton Kutcher and his Twitpics. No one is safe.

WAR Part 2 hit the Digg Front Page and was met by rave reviews of Diggers and Redditors alike.

“Best thing I have seen on Digg all week! LMAO!” says Digger Sexualwasabi.

“Best fffing comic evar” writes glucoseboy.

“I saw this headline and I honestly thought, ‘please God let this be ncomment’ – very well done!” says Jaybol.

WAR Part 2 has been eagerly awaited by social media enthusiasts, more so than the New Moon movie by teenage girls.  Ncomment delivers, and we can’t wait for Part 3.

Do Forums Still Have a Future?

Friday, December 11th, 2009

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A friend of mine in Social Media was checking out a site with me the other day and discovered the site had a forum. “Wow! A Forum!” he exclaimed, “That’s so 1999.” His comment made me realize that some people share his same mentality but yet, totally miss the point.

In my dealings in Social Media, and in the internet in general, I’ve noticed that forums still play a huge part in the realm we know as the internet. A ton of internet memes have started in forums and continue to be to this day. So why do people have the idea that a forum is “So 1999?”

Everyone is getting lost in other forms of communication on the internet. Not that using these new methods is the wrong thing to do at all, it’s not. I do feel people should take a step back and look at the big picture. Forums and boards have been around for a long time yes, but they still play a huge part in content delivery; some of that content delivery kept us “In the know” during the Iran protests.  Secret forums were set up by the group we all know as Anonymous during the Iran protests. These forums hosted Iranian Government Proxy information so protesters on the ground could Tweet, Stream, upload, and blog in real time about what was happening there. During that time we all saw the carnage, the resolve, and the martyrs of the Iran protests, thanks to a forum.

One really cool forum I came across this week is MyBlogGuest, a community of guest bloggers. Now, I have to say, I was kicking myself for not thinking of this first.  I ran across this site as a result of a Twitter Stream from Ann Smarty. To me this seemed like a really good use for a forum, so I joined up and noticed a lot of high-end blogs are signing up.

So if forums are so 1999, it seems 1999 put out a really good tool that year, a tool that in my view, we will keep using.

How to Stay Social in Social Media

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Don’t forget about your friends.  It’s supposed to be social after all.

For any of you that have me on a variety of IM programs, you have no doubt noticed that I typically keep it on the “do not disturb” setting.  This is usually because I’m busy most of the day and really cannot stop to chat.
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But wait a minute.  Isn’t social media supposed to be social?

Yes.  Yes it is.  The problem with social for some of us is that it so easily blends with work and play that we find much of our day kept up online.

You have also no doubt seen some of the sore spots opened up by the Businessweek article about being careful of social media snake oil.  I found a follow up post on it from the Harvard Business Review and saw that a few of my social media friends had retweeted it.

Susan aka @buzzedition had retweeted it and it occurred to me that we hadn’t chatted in ages.

What’s the world coming to that you need to get your friend’s attention by retweeting them? Note that this wasn’t her goal – it was just good content to review and retweet.

It almost makes you miss the days when you didn’t feel the need to keep up with every tweet and micro instance of everyone’s day.  To keep sanity, I try to remind myself that Twitter and other such social media outlets are a stream that I can enter and exit when it best fits my time budget.

How do you keep up with your social friends these days? Or, are your relationships deteriorating before you know it? Let us know.

Twitimidation

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

In my last post here on CT, I spoke of not being afraid to jump right into the social media pool and start paddling, not worrying about whether you really knew what was going on or what’s what. So I thought I’d continue that trend and talk (briefly) about that beacon of social media possibilities, lighting the way for all others, that pinnacle of Web 2.0 achievement, the place to be on the Net, because if you’re not–and we’re just being honest here, right?–you’re a nobody, a boob, and a general failure as a 21st century human being. Alright, a bit too far with that last one.

I’m talking about Twitter, my friends, and while I may have put the shine on a bit too thick just now, one might be remiss in underestimating the value and power of Twitter. Now I’m not going to tell you what Twitter is; everybody probably has at least a general idea of it, except perhaps David Letterman.

This isn’t a guide by the way, I figure that’s been done already, and more skillfully than I could probably manage. Also I realize that many of our readers will be familiar with all this, but maybe, just maybe, some of you don’t know. Maybe some of you are like Dave there, afraid of  Twitter or anything social media-like. Let us not forget the beginner’s mind; it never hurts to review the basics right?

One of the complaints I’ve encountered when people talk about trying Twitter, or not as the case may be, is that they simply don’t know what to say. Or having said something, they fear they will look the fool for throwing it out there into the great Twittersphere. I understand; know that you are not alone friends, Twitter can be a little intimidating for some, and there is a non-trivial learning curve. I know after creating my Twitter account that I felt a bit overwhelmed and not a little confused by it all. Pile on top of that the fact that it’s kind of hard to follow conversations that you encounter with people you follow because they’re talking to someone else(this is less of a problem now, especially given the plethora of high quality Twitter clients available).

I introduced a close friend of mine to Twitter a while back, and noticed she wasn’t really tweeting much—OK, not at all really aside from her introductory, ‘Hey world!’—and since we communicate regularly through other means, like the primitive phone, I asked her why that was. She told me she wanted to tweet, but every time she brought up the update box, she just froze. She couldn’t think of anything important enough to say, and didn’t think anyone would be interested in what she was doing every minute of the day.

Behold, two common misconceptions regarding Twitter! You don’t have tweet about everything you do, and if you did,  you would be right that no one would want to know what you’re doing every minute, and you would end up alone and followerless. But, if some of your friends were following you they might want to know that you are, (a) under the weather, (b) dying, or (c) just having a crappy day in general. Your tweets don’t have to be earth shattering revelations, or hot breaking news, unless perhaps you are @MSNBC (in that case carry on). You don’t have to sit and wait for the muse to hit you on top of the head with profound and pithy attestations (I looked at my word-a-day calendar this morning). Think of Twitter as a community of potential friends. I mean they don’t call it social networking for nothing right? Instead of worrying about being important or popular, why not share a link to a site or video you thought was interesting; if you thought it was interesting, somebody else just might as well. See an article that made you so angry you wanted to scream? Link it in a tweet, make others aware of it.

Keep in mind that we’ve been coming at Twitter from a more or less personal angle. More and more businesses are hopping on the social media wagon; maybe your company already has. It would behoove anyone in today’s market to familiarize themselves—at least somewhat—with the flexibility and power of Twitter, and other social media outlets. Earlier this year, Business Week put together a special report which speaks directly to executives on the wonders and possibilities of social media for their companies and/or brands.

And it’s not just larger corporations that are slowly realizing the benefits of social media involvement; small businesses are picking up on the vibes and possibilities well. Again from Business Week, this article discusses some advantages for business owners and tips on how to get started, and why. And if you check out that article you might notice the advice uncannily echoes a running theme in this post, and my last one: Don’t worry about the small stuff, jump on in and get wet.

Here are links to a couple of guides for Twitter. There are a gabillion of them on the Net, but these were most helpful to me. Good luck!

  1. Squidoo’s Twitter Tutorial. It even has a video!
  2. Mashable’s Awesome Twitter Guide Book.

Jamie slogs through cyberspace in his free time, learning whatever he can, writes short stories, and tends his own blog www.residuetiger.com. You can follow him on Twitter as well: @residuetiger.

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