Participation

Turns out everybody wants to participate.

Facebook is about connection, Twitter is about participation.

We were thrilled to learn we could connect with everybody we’ve ever known. Facebook accomplished that. But that’s the past, and the action is in the future.

Just like Wikipedia, Facebook is a great place to study up on people. It’s just not a good place to interact. It’s too slow. Akin to e-mail, where you send and then wait for a reply. In a world of text, Facebook is a phone call. Something too slow and drawn out to be of much utility to the bleeding edge, which is populated by all those youngsters advertisers are truly consumed with.

If you want to build something that lasts, allow people to participate. This is what Amanda Palmer knows and Don Henley does not. That if you’re not willing to get down in the gutter with your fans, you’re done. Rich people might have all the money, but when it comes to social interaction, we’re all in it together. Everybody is a star in his or her own movie. And they hate being ignored.

TV has now become social. If you can’t comment and make fun of what’s on screen, you don’t want to watch. That’s the essence of live. That’s why ratings for live events is so large. It gives the public a chance to play when the most eyeballs are watching. Tweet about a “Seinfeld” rerun and you’ll be the tree falling in the proverbial forest. Have an opinion on what Jodie Foster said at the Golden Globes and you’ll be part of a veritable swarm of like-minded, interested people. Not only are you reacting, engaged by the interaction, deep inside you believe your words might be retweeted to the masses.

It’s funny to watch the Twitter arc. People sign up and tweet incessantly and then stop. They’re just not sure who’s listening. And generally speaking, very few are. Then there are those with miniscule followings who have found their raison d’etre. It keeps them sane, to be a voice in their tiny little world. And then there are events, when everybody’s checking their Twitter feed like mad, wanting to know info and give their opinion on it.

Is Twitter the answer? Is it the last stop?

The only last stop seems to be Amazon. Which started selling books and now sells seemingly everything and reinvests almost all profits, confounding investors. What Jeff Bezos understands is he not busy born is busy dying. If you’re not reinventing yourself every day, if you’re resting on your laurels, it’s just a matter of when you’re marginalized. We live in an accelerated culture wherein Nokia can be king and then an also-ran in a matter of a few years.

This is the new reality. If you’re not planning where you’re going, you’re in the process of stopping.

This is what confounds me about Apple. Without a streaming music component, the iTunes Store takes a huge hit. It may be too late to beat Spotify/MOG and Deezer. Then again, a well-placed strike soon could result in triumph.

That’s the Amazon model. Be first when you can, play catch-up soon when you can’t. Break ground with the Kindle, play catch-up with the Kindle Fire.

Then there’s the triumphant marketing effort by Oreo. Whilst the other advertisers were placating fat cats at the game, Oreo tweeted humorously during the blackout and ended up with a ton of free marketing after 15,000 retweets.

Next year, to be sure, every advertiser will have a social media team, like the fifteen person cabal Oreo fielded yesterday.

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