Monday, 16 February 2009

Why Twitter is the blind disco of social

Well, i survived a night out on Friday 13th with no hockey-masked psycho in sight. Job done. To celebrate still being alive, I thought i'd blog today having read some inspirational stuff from Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO and embracer of all things Twitter.

So, what has Tony's insight taught me? That social media is relevant, you just have to work out how and why before you embrace it.

I'll use a blind disco analogy (ooh we do love a good analogy at e-inbusiness!). There are thousands of people in a room, all with the same goal - have a great night, (hopefully) meet someone they like. They are all listening to music via headphones but get to choose what to listen to. The room itself is silent. From time to time people look up from the maelstrom, take the phones off and talk to each other. Sometimes that spreads and conversations start. The room suddenly has a buzz, the reverberation of conversation amplified by many voices. The individuals then gradually return to their own music and indulge in their own little world. The room falls silent again.

Social media is like the blind disco. On an infinitely larger scale. There are millions of individuals absorbing communication every minute of every day, from friends, celebrities and companies. Frequently they take time out and share information with other people, personal associations or simply people in a network they use. The ripple effect starts and one conversation strand suddenly embraces hundreds, thousands of people. Then the moment passes, the hubbub calms and they go back to doing what they want on their own until the next buzz descends. A bit like watching an episode of Bagpuss...

This happens. I know it, I am regularly involved. I love the buzz of getting something relevant sent to me. The challenge for brands is to work out who wants to hear from them and then put a program in place to give them the information where and when they want it. Then give the support needed to help them use & share it. And most of all to listen to what people are saying and act when needed. No, it is not easy. Yes, you need to think carefully. Yes it can be relevant to you.

To put this in context, I highly recommend you read Tony's blog about how Twitter can enact positive change, both for the individual and the company. You can read his thoughts here.

Hope you enjoy!

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