We live in a time of great technology evolution and revolution. Innovation is not only upon us; it affects, even disrupts, us as marketers and as consumers of other businesses. Your customers are more connected than ever before and they’re always on. The number of touchpoints between businesses and customers has exploded. Technology is everywhere and something new is always on the horizon. Wearables. Smart watches. The Internet of Things. Everything is changing.
Social media bullying is an unfortunate reality. The heart-breaking cases of suicides are frequently in the news these days. At the same time, social media is serving as a new window into our ourselves, our emotions, our states of mind and being. Sometimes, expressions indicate intentions, actions are reflect signs of help. Facebook introduced a new suicide prevention feature, but is it enough? With social media comes great responsibility…and that takes technology and human engagement.
Have you used Medium the >140 version of Twitter? During the early days of social media, platforms such as WordPress and Blogger offered technology and networks to anyone with something to say. Over the years, blogging would give rise to a new generation of authoritative, engaging and entertaining voices that might not otherwise found their stage. At the same time, new social channels would emerge that would introduce a subtler more rapid form of publishing that focused on conversations and real-time sharing. Twitter would lead the way for a micro-blogging format which as we all know gave voices and connected audiences to millions and millions more.
Early on, I was one of the first analysts to explore the dynamics of the interest graph versus the social graph in social networks. Think Twitter vs. Facebook. I learned right away that interest graphs tend to share connections based on topics rather than relationships. I also found that every person possesses a series of 6-10 interest graphs that together form a social graph. Google refers to these groupings as “Circles.” The notion of manually organizing people by interests though proved daunting and unnecessary. It happens naturally and rather than leave it to humans for organization it requires a human algorithm to help people behind the scenes better manage their contacts and information by analyzing and gauging interests in real time. It’s one of the reasons I always believed that Google’s social strategies suffered from the lack of expertise in and diminished sense of importance for the subject of humanities.
Social media ushers in an era of contextual relevance that finally trumps content as king. Don’t get me wrong, content is important. After all, without it, what would people read, watch, interpret, remix and share? But without context, content is simply a message or story trying to find a home. In social networks, people stitch together social networks based on their relationships, interests, and aspirations to personalize their online experience. Doing so creates a network where, in theory, information that’s shared and the connections that come and go are material to everyone involved.
According to Deanna Brown, CEO, Federated Media Publishing, “Content, in the right context, is ultimately king.”
Welcome to the evolution of publishing, where storytelling, advertising, and technology intersect. By having unhindered access to social and mobile media platforms, brands are experimenting with paid, owned, and earned media to reach connected consumers in their channels of relevance. As brands dabble in publishing, traditional marketing and advertising networks are also evolving.
In part ten of a series of conversations exploring the state of social media, Chris Beck, founder of 26dottwo (@26dottwo) and I speculate on the future of social networks.
Social networking as it exists today is not scalable nor is it representative of how social beings connect and engage. We are complex individuals we are defined by what we share, consume, and to whom we connect. Our social graphs are woven with the fabrics of our interests, passions, and relations. One update does not resonate across the social graph. Networks will evolve to match content to context and allow us to seamlessly connect relevant information and people based on frames of reference and subjects.
In part nine (which is really the first part) of a series of conversations exploring the state and future of social media with Chris Beck, founder of 26dottwo (@26dottwo), we define the metamorphosis of media production, discovery and consumption and how social networking is affecting behavior and communication. Our social graphs are shifting from linear connections (those we know) to nonlinear ties defined by those we know, hope to know, don’t know but share ideas, and those who endeavor to know us. As such, we are building contextual networks and it paves the way for information to directly connect with discerning audiences.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.