- October 4, 2011
- 69 Comments
Twitter continues to impress its supporters and critics alike. With 100 million active users, one billion Tweets published every day, and a fresh round of funding, Twitter’s monetization strategy continues to mature. In addition to licensing deals for its coveted fire hose and a future revenue stream tied to analytics, Twitter’s blue bird truly flies with the help of its expanding portfolio of Promoted products. The company is now releasing its latest offering, and it’s the most controversial product yet. New Promoted ads currently in a limited round of tests, hit streams even if users do not already follow the brand but are “like” those who do. Notoriously conservative in pushing ads to its fiercely loyal audience, this move represents a Mad Men moment for Twitter as it ventures into bold new territory.
As a consumer, you are blasted with the same request over and over, “Follow Us on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook” As a consumer however it is more than natural to ask why should I or what’s in it for me? These are questions of which a significant number of businesses cannot genuinely answer.
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
+1 us on Google Plus.
It’s an all too familiar request that consumers face everyday. But what are businesses doing to help convince customers why they should do so? The answer is not as pervasive as you might imagine or hope to expect. In fact, I believe that “why?” is the least asked question by businesses in social media today.
One of the easiest ways to explain social media to newcomers is to liken it to a networking or cocktail party. The behaviors that will make you the life of the party (or a pariah) will have the same effect in social media. And we all know how painful it is to listen to someone at an event just talk about themselves all night long.
The question seems premature or perhaps over dramatized, but I ask it with all sincerity. Whether the answer is yes or no or if the answer is not yet within grasp, think about the question at any level you wish and try to answer it. It is the process of thinking through the strengths and weaknesses of Facebook and Google Plus where you discover what each network means to you and why and how you will divide your time and focus in each. Or, you may uncover reasons to jump from one network to the other or pull the plug all together. It’s a healthy exercise to help you find balance and reconnect with your core values that drive productivity and fulfillment.
While there are already countless articles about Google+ and many more sharing up-to-the-minute statistics to emerge from the burgeoning network, I reserved my thoughts until now. I needed time to think about it.
Part FriendFeed, part Google Buzz, part Facebook, part Google.com and all of its properties, Google Plus represents a fresh approach to social engagement not seen at this level since the early days of Twitter. In the U.S., we have only a few top traditional TV networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC. In social networking, we now have a top three to compete for the online attention of not only Americans, but also the world–Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Foursquare is an emerging mobile network that connects people and places through mobile phones. While it isn’t the only player in the space, Foursquare does appear to be the game to beat. The 800 pound gorilla is Facebook Places but other geo-location nicheworks are also growing including Loopt and Gowalla. Each equally bring together the real and virtual worlds, unlocking the world around consumers through checkins and supporting gaming mechanics and social effects integrated into the experience. Foursquare has blazed the trail and as a result, it’s rewarded with escalating consumer adoption and engagement.
Hashtags are to the social web what emoticons were to Web 1.0 and TXTing. While both are forms of expression and sentiment, there is one subtle, but vital difference. Hashtags are not only part of online culture, they are defining a new era of communication on the Web and IRL (in real life). With over 140 million Tweets flying across Twitter every day, hashtags surface a method to the madness – the ability to group conversations into an organized timeline. But what started out as a way to index conversations in Twitter has now substantially altered how people convey, relay and discover information in and out of the popular nichework. The hashtag has also become an effective form of #selfexpression.
There’s an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Twitter is a paradox that redefines that old saying to, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it, because it works.”
For all intents and purposes, Twitter shouldn’t work, yet 200 million people (and bots) have created accounts in this thriving information egosystem. Now, news no longer breaks, it Tweets. Celebrities use it daily to connect directly with fans and also augment their income streams. Politicians and governments use Twitter to communicate with constituents and one another. Everyday people rely on Twitter to find information and share experiences. And for those more “influential” Twitter users, connectedness pays off in the form rewards, recognition, and compensation.
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.