Monday, August 11, 2008

Communities in Social Media

This upcoming week in class, we are going to be discussing microblogging, which includes Twitter. Here's one great way I use it: I find all kinds of links to interesting posts. I just saw one about the difference between communities and online conversation, thanks to a Tweet from Matt Dickman (@technomarketer).

Here is an excerpt from Beth Kanter's blog (which, BTW, is on using social media with non-profits - pay attention, students, as your final project fits the bill here!). This excerpt should get one thinking - and spark some conversation:

A traditional online community is a group of people who interact
together and have a relationship over time on a site where people can interact around a common interest. A loosely coupled online community is a group of people who are joined together by a common interest and have conversations is different - this might include groups on social networking sites or a network of blogs. It's important to determine if your organization needs a traditional online community or something else.

Later in the post, Beth discusses whether our communities are more like book clubs, where members all discuss the same book (she used movies as her example), or are they more like real social clubs, where we meet and discuss our interests and dreams. There is a big difference!

What do you think, students and readers? In which cases would the first example work vs. the second example? Let's discuss!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Updates and Great Links

This post has info for the students as well as for other interested parties (go to the end of the post).

For the students:

Now that the mid-term exam is over, we can focus on the road ahead of us over the second half of the term:

• August 6: Viral marketing and intro to final project – guest speakers from Brickfish
• August 13: Microblogging and widgets
• August 20: NO CLASS - work on your projects!
• August 27: Communities and Creating a Social Media Plan -guest speaker from Intuit
• September 3: Final Project presentations

Our final project will be to put together a social media plan for the non-profit organization We Rock 4 Kids! Be sure to bring your questions, as we will get the "client brief" tomorrow night in class.

For Everyone

In my Google Reader today, I spotted a great graphic that was shared with me by Phil Gerbyshak of the Make It Great! blog (thanks, Phil!). The graphic was part of a blog post put together by Matt McDonald as an easy way to explain social media. Here is the graphic:

Matt goes on to explain the difference between his three circles of socially created content, social networking, and socially highlighted content (as well as the in-between content!). In class, we have covered the first two quite a bit; the latter weeks of class will round that out, as well as dig into the power of social media in highlighting content for others (the "collectors" written about in Groundswell, our textbook).

Check out the comments, too, for a discussion by the community on where improvements could be made to the model (including "swirly circles within circles and bathroom people"). I have added my take to it as well, as I am not sure how this would go over in a "B2B" or business-to-business company.

I believe it is important for us to be able to speak the language of our audience in order to share our ideas well. I think we are on our way, but many times, we are best at speaking our own language (as it is the most comfortable for us). Right, international students?

What do you think?

Is Matt missing anything? Does this picture make social media easier to understand? Add your comments here or on Matt's blog!

(Photo credit: 3pod)