Archive for December, 2009

Gettin’ h*sht*gged

Posted: December 31, 2009 in social media, Twitter
Tags: , ,

Hashtags. They’ve made the list for 2009 word of the year from Oxford Dictionary.  Okay, well individual hashtags have not, but as a term they sure have.  And my how they come in useful.  From labels to sarcasm, hashtags are the new duey decimal system of social media 2.0.

Some of the common ones you’ll see:

  • #fail
  • #journchat
  • #yyc (or other airport codes for location tagging… like #yvr or #yeg)
  • #followfriday or #ff
  • #oilers, #flames, #nhl

Some that are trending today:

  • #10yearsago
  • #Y2K
  • #happynewyear
  • #in2010

Some that have made a big splash in the past:

  • #h1n1
  • #tigerwoods
  • #iranelection

And then some randoms I like to seek out:

  • #cantmakethisshitup
  • #yycdonairs
  • #yycgno/yyckno

There are some that are frustrated by the over use of some simple hashtags, such as #yyc.  The way I see it, it’s forcing us to become more creative in their use.

I’ll add more as I think of them.  But seriously, pay attention to the hashtag.  Get a feel for how people use them.  I’ve LMAO at a number of them and a hashtag can put such a spin on an otherwise plain tweet.

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I have a new buzz word.  It’s complacency.  Do you know what I think complacent people like to do?  I think they like to complain. If they complain, they get to feel like their doing something constructive, without actually having to do anything at all (am I complaining here?  Maybe… but I’ll move on to something more constructive in just a moment).

I also have a beef with people who are being part of the problem and not part of the solution.  Take, for example, those who like to complain about the “so-called social media experts”.  They seem to have a lot to say about how they think these other people are using social media the “wrong” way, but I have yet to find a post where someone complains about a “wannabe” and points to an example of who they think is actually doing social media right, or at least proposing some alternatives or discussion points to show what they’re seeing as flaws in that person’s behaviour.  To me, that’s only adding to the problem.  There are all of these examples of people doing it wrong, and no examples of people doing it right.  Ask anyone who’s been working or participating in the social media scene for the last year or two.  I bet any of them could very easily come up with 5 examples of what not to do on Facebook or Twitter.  Ask them what you can do to be successful.  Does anybody know without pointing to the obvious examples of Dell, Zappos or Comcast?  I don’t know think so.

But I think that’s because we’re always too busy focusing on the negative, focusing on what not to do rather what we can do that we end up too scared to take any action at all.  We only learn by doing what we’re not supposed to do, and we don’t know that we’re not supposed to do it unless we do it first.  So, I applaud all of you who are doing the things you aren’t supposed to do… especially if you don’t know if you’re supposed to do it or not.  It means you’re open to learning, you’re open to making mistakes, you’re open to moving forward, and you’re being a part of the solution.

Whether I agree with their methods or not, here are some local Calgary folk that I think are doing their part to contribute to the solution (and note these are in no order except the order in which they enter my head as I type):

There are many more, but I believe that the first ones who’ve come to mind have made the biggest impression on me one way or another.  They’re experimenting, they’re learning, and they’re involved in crafting the foundation of where we’re going to go.  I may not always agree with them, I have picked on them from time to time, but I appreciate the diversity and discussion they bring to the scene.

Who would you add to the list?

I saw this twice in my newsfeed on Facebook today:

♥-♥♥—-Put this —♥♥—♥♥—On Your —♥♥—♥♥—status —♥♥—♥♥—іf уоυ кnоω —-♥♥-♥♥—-ѕомεоnε —–♥♥♥—–ωно нαѕ or —-♥♥-♥♥—-нαѕ нαd —♥♥—♥♥—Cancer♥ I wish for the cure of cancer. 93% won’t copy and paste this…will YOU?????

No.  No I won’t.  Absolutely, positively never will that be my Facebook status.  Why?  Because it’s all wrong.  I want a cure for cancer too.  Pasting that into my status does absolutely nothing.  How does it raise money?  How does it encourage people to get checked for prostate cancer or breast cancer?  How does it encourage awareness, story telling or healing?

It doesn’t.  It’s a spammy chain letter that’s now made it’s way onto Facebook.  And it’s the worst way you can possibly use it.  And what’s with the guilt trip?  “93% won’t copy and paste this…” Of course they won’t.  There are better things to do with our status updates!  It’s almost as bad as campaigns spamming Twitter with hashtags.. but at least they were raising some money while spamming the rest of us.

I get that you want to make a difference.  I get that you want to feel like you’re doing something… except copying and posting that into your status isn’t actually doing ANYTHING.

Here’s what I’m doing instead.  I have 363 connections currently on Facebook.  My status as of a few minutes ago is the following:

Here is my cancer awareness post: Facebook says I have 363 connections. For each of those connections that shares a memory of someone in their lives touched by cancer by commenting on this status or leaving a note on my wall between now and December 31, I will donate $2 to the Canadian Cancer Institute (I wish I could do more… but it’s a start)..

And those that are contributing are sharing their stories.  Through sharing our stories, we unite more towards a cause and we feel GOOD about it.

Note:  It’s the people who share their stories on my Facebook wall or post that I’ll contribute the $2 for.  When I’m rich enough to be able to make it limitless… well then I surely will.

Story telling.  Sharing.  Engaging. Encouraging.  Making our lives better because of the interactions we’ve had with one another.  That’s at the core the successful use of social media.  Not spammy.  Not leaving people guilt ridden into sharing something that isn’t of use to anyone else.

I get that you want to make a difference.  But think about your networks, and think about what will make an impact… versus what people are just going to ignore.

Last night, I was playing around with my camera and taking shots of a candle flame.  (Don’t judge, it was filling the whimsy of the pyro in me).  What I didn’t consider was the temperature of the flame and the proximity of my lens.  I melted the front just a wee little bit.  So this morning, I was thinking about whether I was going to keep on with this camera… it still seems to work okay, or if it would be a good excuse splurge for an upgrade.  I considered what I wanted in a camera.  I still want a small one that I can take anywhere, but I want a small one that takes uber awesome photos (you can’t get more awesome than that).  So, I turned to my favourite pass time.  The Internet.  And I searched for “ultimate mini cameras”.  Most of what I came up with were spy devices, not particularly what I’m looking for.

Now, it’s also 945 on a Saturday morning.  I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, nor have I had the drive to get the coffee percolating.  I click on one of the search results and I see this:

McDonald's Breakfast web ad

Damn.  Now I want one.  And McDonald’s is just down the street.  Except the weather outside is like this:

Calgary Blizzard

Image grabbed from the Weather Network, posted by somebody named Debbie

Sorry McDonald’s, I’m not going outside in that.  Even though you’re a block away, I’m a huge winter wuss, and I’m just not.  But here’s how your online ad would’ve sold me a breakfast wrap… heck, I’d probably order a couple of egg mcmuffins, 3 hashbrowns, one huge cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun to polish it off… and polled the neighbours in the building while I was at it.. (“Hey Stuart, I’m putting in a McD’s order, do you want anything?  What about you  Sally?”… hello capitalizing on the snow storm).

McDonald's ad

And this is how I would sell me a McD's breakfast on a blizzardy morning.

I’d probably change the tagline too… but seriously, if the McDonald’s down the street advertised that for me?  OMG… not only would I be drooling at the beauty of how well that was delivered in terms of geo targeting, thought, precision, etc.  I’d be a customer for life.  At least for the one down the street.

I think that if I were to try and count the amount of ideas I have in one day on my fingers… I would soon run out of fingers.  And if I kept going, I would run out toes.  Unless you’re willing to loan me your fingers and your toes to continue counting on…

With so many ideas, it’s difficult to know which ones to pursue, which ones to shelve, and which ones to let go of completely.  Especially if you’ve seen me think.  In an instant my brain can explode all over a whiteboard and so many new projects and opportunities are born that I need to borrow more than just your fingers and toes to keep track of them all.

I believe that I’m not alone in my abundance of ideas.  And also, not so alone in my conundrum of not knowing what to do with them all.  Part of this is the reason I blog, the idea has an outlet, and maybe somewhere down the road I’ll come back to it, or somebody else will find it and do something even more marvelous with it.  This really doesn’t have anything to do with why I started this post, however.

This post is supposed to be about sticking with one idea, although I’ve just figured out the link from the previous paragraph.  People (and by people, I mean me) are figuring out that the web is the place to try out new things, new ideas, new concepts, new inventions, new everything.  The web is the place to try more and fail faster, to move on when something doesn’t work, to tweak, to grow, to get back up on that bike… except the next time it might be a bike, or it might be a horse, or a carriage, or a car… what I’m getting at is that I think people (me) are beginning to understand how easy it is to try out an idea, but I think that they (me) may have so many of them that when it fails, instead of sticking with the same idea, they (me) jump on down the line to the next one.

I’m musing a bit with the concept that the strategy to success on the web might be sticking with one idea.  Letting the rest go into the unknown to find other homes.  Picking one and failing many times with the same one until I find the model that works for it.  It’s still about failing faster, trying new things, innovating, changing and adapting, just a little less all over the map.  So, in an online world where everything changes at lightning speed and people can’t keep up with even what’s out there today, let alone with what’s going to be out there tomorrow… perhaps the people that will be successful are those that stick around in one area for a long time.  As everyone else rushes around to try out everything just because they can, we can be the ones going further by not going everywhere.