I’ve come to the disturbing realization that I am using Twitter to recreate my high school experience. I’m not sure if this means I’m stunted, the Internet is stunted, or the whole process of normative socialization is stunted, but I can no longer deny what I see. I am currently enrolled in Twitter High.
Let’s start with the institution. Organization and segmentation are the typical characteristics of a high school environment. Time is institutionally managed, activities regimented, and the day is broken into 47 minute work intervals with two and a half minutes for travel between classrooms. All this organization promotes compartmentalization. Math is studied for 47 minutes in this room, with these people; a bell rings and within three minutes, you change your work, your peers and your location. So goes the day. Each pursuit has its own setting.
My Internet life operates in similar compartments. I have folders of bookmarks for my different interests, times of the day where I work on different pursuits. I’ve even written myself a daily schedule that cuts my day into half-hour segments.
The activities of my day are vaguely connected by setting. Just like the high school building I took classes in didn’t change, regardless of the class, I am still on my computer, regardless of what I’m doing. And just like in high school, there is some overlap of work and peers; people of similar intelligence level or with similar interests tend to glom together. Communities form, but I’ll get back to that later.
When I open my laptop in the morning, my daily “productive purpose” plays out quite like a school day (though unfortunately, the day doesn’t end in the afternoon but rather continues until I close the laptop again for the night). I force myself to focus for periods and then let myself wander before switching gears. I haven’t bought a bell to ring when I need to change what I’m doing, but I haven’t yet ruled out the purchase.
More compelling than my general organization is my social life. Okay, it’s maybe not that much more compelling, but if I were in high school it would be! After all, that arena launched a million horrible movies, TV shows and best-selling vampire series. High school is all about socializing—trying to hang out with the cool kids and get the girls. Here is where we get to Twitter, the place the Internet goes to socialize.
In high school I hung out with a variety of different groups, which I think is a rather typical experience. I was into music, so I had my music friends. I played sports, so I had my athlete friends. I was good at English, so I had my smart friends and horrible at French, which I didn’t take seriously, so I had my slacker friends.
Here are the main groups I follow on Twitter: battle rappers, professional athletes, writers, bloggers, journalists and people in the media. It seems like I’ve filled my high school quota for cliques (though I won’t tip off which group is the “slacker friend”). I’ve managed to recreate the socialization patterns I had in high school on my Twitter stream, and in no way is that pathetic!
What is easy to miss in all the snark regarding high school is the importance of these categories when we socialize. A large reason Twitter is succeeding is the ease with which we can compartmentalize our interests and manufacture communities. I’m not a part of the world of professional sports, but I get to hang around that world. I’m no rapper, but I get to see battle rappers be creative and appreciate their process even though I’ve never battled (though if I were you, I wouldn’t test me—I got bars). However, I am a part of that loose group of introverts known as “writers, bloggers and journalists” and by participating in that clique, I get to feel some camaraderie. Twitter might benefit the writers most of all, as we wrestle with insomnia, self-doubt, and Vitamin D deficiency while staring at blank Word documents alone in our respective homes.
Basically, Twitter gave me back the ability to do what I love: hang out with people who are more interesting than I am, pick their brains, and be social in a broad sense. My days are more like high school because of it, but I don’t mind—47 minutes of work, then a few minutes of chatting in the hallway. So it goes.
- Jason Oberholtzer
Nail on head. So start-ups are essentially (mostly) young, confident (arrogant?), risk-taking humans who have a different way of seeing things. It would make sense that one day in our sleepy little tech bubble, a new kind of start up hero would emerge and become a haven for start-ups to unburden themselves and let the world know of their great and not so great ideas. More real than Skynet and more genuine than most modern day reporters, we happily can say that StartUp Lucky is the true hip-hop start-up syringe that you should all inject yourself with each day. Raw, honest and full of juicy details, we can’t get enough of the show. Thanks Aronado (Twitter: @aronado) for making start up news so meaty. Thank you sir, can I have another?
If you are a start-up and dare to expose yourself, apply to be on the show here – JLH
Tattletech always finds itself in good company – always around start ups that seem to have their finger on technology that will pull the current market forward and with entrepreneurs that do more than focus on the technology but how to apply it to our lives. When we met Dragos, we knew immediately this compay was onto something. We caught up with uberVU’s Co-Founder, Dragos Ilinca and here is what he had to say. (uberVU was also a 2008 Seedcamp winner!)
Tattletech: So… let’s start with the question you are probably asked over and over again, what DOES uberVU mean?
Dragos Ilinca: uber is a German word that means “more, better, super”, just like in ubergeek or uberblogger. “VU” is just a misspelled “view”. we weren’t trying to be cute, but uberview.com <http://uberview.com> was taken. So in its essence uberVU refers to having a “superview” of the conversation on the Web.
TT: Will aggregating all of the conversation threads into one place make the online world a smaller one, in the positive sense of the word?
DI: Quite possibly. All the people that comment on a story are part of the same community, they’re interacting around the same social object. So the online world around a story will be bigger, as you’ll be aware of people you did not know commented on a story. It might be smaller in the sense of more intimate, as in time, there will be many more familiar faces around each story or blog or content source. The point is that people should care about who is commenting and what they are saying and not have to worry about the underlying platform.
TT: At the end of almost each article or blog post we see an unending list of icons and link backs – will Ubervu end all of that clutter?
DI: Some of those icons have their purpose, such as sharing the article on different services. The purpose is not necessarily to end that clutter, but be able to interact with people on the services that the icons represent without paying much attention to the service itself. This means getting comments from people everywhere in one place and also allowing you to reply to those people from one place. It’s about freeing the conversations from closed silos and exposing people to each other.
TT: What is the main differentiator between what you do and others? Do you trace the conversation and not the user profile?
DI: Yes, that’s the main difference. We get comments around a story, not around a person, user profile or keyword. Whether those will be included I don’t know at this point. One more difference is the ability to reply from within uberVU, in the sense that they reply gets sent back to the site/service where it should belong. From this point of view, we seem to be a great complement to a lot of existing services that people are already avid users of.
TT: Do you think users will quickly adopt using uberVU?
DI: Hopefully, although that’s not the goal in the short term. Our main goal is to understand how people are using uberVU, what they need and don’t need from it and how to transform those demands into usable features so that they do start to use uberVU regularly. I think we still have some way to go until uberVU hits the bullseye and becomes just right for people. That’s why we’re experimenting with different things right now, such as being integrated by Disqus through our API. Maybe we’ll be a great destination site, or maybe we’ll serve as an infrastructure service that will only be used by way of API.
– SM and JLH
Over in Zurich, we found Arjen Strijker, the founder of SOMESSO and entrepreneur who saw a lot of commotion and fanfare around social corporate media, but not one event that actually brought all the parties together in its evolving ecosystem to discuss, share and add value to this high growth communication channel. So, he created SOMESSO a series of conferences centered around social media usage in corporate environments. They just finished their kick off event in Zurich and on the Somesso blog you can see why it was a success. - JLH
TT: You just held a very successful corporate social media event in Zurich last month, what made you decide that Somesso was something the market needed?
AS: In my last job, I found myself rubbing shoulders with front-office bankers and other people working in financial institutions in Switzerland. I was (and still am) meeting them on regular basis and many have become my friends. Personally, I believe in social media and like to test and discuss the latest social media tools and solutions on the Internet and found myself quite often explaining to my friends in the financial world why and how they should be using these things to make new business in a better way. Although I knew already that banks and financial institutions generally are not early adopters of such new technology, I found that many people were interested but they just didn’t know where to go and how to start. After some benchmarking, it became clear that there was a need for a think-tank discussion forum / information share point (both online as “offline”) where corporate social media related issues are presented and debated. After some more market research I launched SOMESSO.
TT: You have put on events before in both venture and technology, what was the most challenging thing about putting on a social media event like Somesso?
AS: As the SOMESSO Zurich `08 audience experienced themselves last month, the most unique feature of SOMESSO is its exceptional mix of participants. This was also the most challenging issue about organizing this event: although I strongly believe in the strength of communities, no one could guarantee that all these different groups of people would mix and interact with each other to build new bridges and synergies to each others’ worlds. The audience ranged from sales and marketing experts to recruiters, agency traditional and new media specialists, entrepreneurs and VCs. We found that even at the first break everyone was interacting. It was rare – and pleasing – to see all these different categories of people sharing their ideas about corporate social media and presenting their latest projects and discoveries to each other. We are going to work hard to keep all future SOMESSO events with this same environment so we can satisfy all of the attendees’ networking expectations while recognizing the importance and enormous potential of social media in driving companies’ business values.
TT: Do you think that Somesso has legs? In other words what makes it stand out amongst all the other social media events in the market today?
AS: Yes. The purpose of SOMESSO is to bring together a unique mix of participants from a wide range of industries to discuss and debate the corporate social media trend on continuous basis throughout Europe. Different from all general Web 2.0, new tech or new media conferences, SOMESSO is a highly focused event that covers only the corporate angle of social media. At SOMESSO attendees can find answers to questions like “how will social media change the way a company does business?”, or “how do companies start building their short-term corporate social media strategy?”, or “how does a corporate social media strategy impact employees and external networks?”.
Also, due to the strong variety of people from different industries, the networking part at SOMESSO Zurich `08 was highly valued by the audience. Both the diversity of newcomers to corporate social media, as well as the diversity of industry experts that attended the event ended up doing business together. All this at a one-day event in a European city – next up London.
TT: You are Dutch and Tattletech is very fond of Dutchman, but you live in Zurich – do you see a difference in the approach to social media by country?
AS: Yes, very much. SOMESSO Zurich was a success because we listened to our audience and gave them what they wanted to hear and learn. By example, Switzerland is still a pretty conservative country, which was reflected at the conference, as many companies – regional and multinational – had not started to look at social media tools or implementing a corporate social media strategy for their organization before they went to SOMESSO.
Furthermore, it was important for this event that we discussed the topic both from a starting point of view, as well as to provide the latest insights and fads on the subject (as the corporate social media and new media experts were strongly represented too). It was successful; the two groups complemented each other and created more discussion that could be handled in just one single day. By the way, this is why SOMESSO has also an online Twitter community where lots of continuous business is being created even now. The SOMESSO Facebook group continues to have new members request to join on a daily basis.
Our next event, SOMESSO London `09 on May 15, will have a more advanced and global character, which reflects in both speakers and topics, as well as in the general setting of the event. Due to a successful first event, we’ve caught the attention of several global industry leaders who want to participate at SOMESSO London and even SOMESSO Barcelona and Copenhagen – the other two cities scheduled for a SOMESSO event in 2009.
TT: If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
AS: This is always a tricky question… I would probably be working on one of the other business plans that I’ve been compiling over the past few years. Really all of them are (in)directly related to bringing people together to increase their business (not their love-life, in case you might ask .
Image via CrunchBase
In another fantastic Twitter 20 interview by Jay Baer, Convince and Convert, he asks fellow social media guru Jason Falls about the issue of where social media belongs these days in terms of its position as a marketing, sales or PR tool and this is a good question as we see lots of corporations adopting it as a method to reach their users/buyers/subscribers/customers (Ford), etc. Jason answers this more than succinctly (praise be to 140 characters on Twitter but also in a practical, straight forward manner which illustrates how he has mastered the tool – he says that social media is an extension of good public relations, but should be a company-wide approach that PR helps manage and facilitate. Exactly, you can’t have a marketing or PR strategy that is balkanized anymore. Read, tweet and learn, these guys not on board for the trend, they are executing and getting results.
Posted by Tattletech on Nov 11, 2008 in Deep thinking
, social media
, Social media guys
Chris Brogan today put up a great story about communications in a post media world… where we all have a voice, there are still gatekeepers. We won’t attempt to try and rewrite his words -they are powerful in this entry and he’s right, everything is modular and is meant to connect.
Image via Wikipedia
Social media goes global. That is the first line of the article in a recent DM News interview with Ford‘s new social media guru – Scott Monty. Yes, again, I said Ford. Now, to all you folks who don’t believe in the power of social media, what more does it take to convince you that communications has truly changed? When Edward Bernays (the nephew of Sigmund Freud) was sitting in his parlour thinking about how dangerous the herd mentality was and how he needed to manipulate public opinion using the “psychology of the subconscious” he came up with the basis for what we are all doing today – but when he started, people probably didn’t believe either, but here we are – evolving communications even further and refining how to communicate in order to reach a hugely globalized world. Instead of the broad pitch, we now have the micro pitch which requires PR folks to be even more savvy about their target audience.
In the DM News article, David Ward has masterfully pointed out the job that Scott has in front of him in order to globalize their message through social media. Scott points out that its not “one size fits all” as there are even different social networking sites in Brazil v the US. A great chart illustrates the growth of the social media market showing a 25% growth rate from 2007 to 2008.
When people like Scott and Ford and other global brands look at the importance of reaching the globe, its clear why they are considered global leaders — leaders never stop looking outward and for new ways to innovate.
Posted by Tattletech on Oct 26, 2008 in Conferences
, Deep thinking
, Digital Media
, Public Relations 2.0
, Red Herring
, social media
, Social media guys
, Social Networking
We recently attended Red Herring‘s ETRE in Stockholm as both a blogger and panelist, and while we were there we encountered some truly old school PR and marketing folks – it’s okay to be old school, those traditional forms of communications are still very valid when shaken (not stirred) in the current landscape of communicating a message, but deep down, when you look into their eyes, you see a bit of fear and disbelief belief because its a lot to process and easier to just stay put. But then you look at big brands like IBM, SAP and even Ford, who are using the new forms of media, social media, to reach their audience, or rather the audience that fits that method of communication.
Tattletech found the perfect case in point by Convince and Convert headed up by someone we have a crush on — okay so that is so school girl, but we told you – we like people who are intelligent, savvy, full of wit and easy on the eye – maybe we should do a Hot Social Media Guy list… who’s for it?
The interview is with Scott Monty, who heads up social media at Ford. yes we said F-O-R-D, the car manufacturer. And as we head into the last 4 days before Somesso.com the social corporate media event to be held in Zurich this week, it’s clear that this form of communication in the PR and Marketing 2.0 world is here to stay. Thanks Jason for this great interview. London 2009 is calling for the next Somesso event so let’s have a big Social Media guru fest!