Wednesday, April 22, 2009

social media marketing is (mostly) evil

Social media. Sounds nice.

There's a media, a place of connection between various parties, and it's social. Like an ice cream social. People hanging out with each other voluntarily and enjoying the fellowship.

What could possibly go wrong?

Marketing. Sales. Corporations. Who always bring along their token Celebrities...or is it the other way around?

Take "social media", a good thing, and add "marketing" to the end of it, the goal and aim of it: "social media marketing." Sounds ugly, crass, and bothersome, does it not? I think so. When you watch how certain corporations, con artist investment opportunities, and self-promoters exploit the blogosphere and Twitter world, you see patterns of arrogance, greed, and deception.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)
is an ugly phrase like:

"public bathroom evangelism"
or "multi level marketing"
or "investment opportunity".

In far too many cases, social media marketing is malicious, avaricious, or counter-productive.

As usually practiced, social media marketing exploits online communities, while either pretending to be "sociable" in a contrived affiliate manner (interacting with others who are in on the con job) or is entirely dismissive of being an authentic individual and a good community member.

Social Media Marketing, in the best sense should be 95% unproductive, altruistic, non-ROI oriented interactions with community members, and only 5% marketing messages. You could say that Twitter users are "marketing/promoting" their opinions on politics, films, restaurants, etc. That's true.

But there's a big difference in communicating an opinion and hyping a product, which is why user forums have more credibility than corporate messaging, ads, and PR. If a user praises or criticizes a product, he generally won't gain anything, so his opinion is relatively unbiased, even if his user error is at fault, and he doesn't know this yet.

Twittering can be
a marketable skill.

As a veteran Twitter channel pro, your primary skill is NOT social media marketing -- but brevity/accuracy of communication. Businesses need Twitter adepts who know how NOT to use Twitter to sell their junk, but to communicate in short message format effectively.

Ability to condense thought, sum up succinctly, abbreviate a thought, truncate a message, trim a statement, put a complex idea in a tidy package -- business applications abound for Twitter type communications.

Twitterized Messaging /

Micro-blogging /

Short Content /

Brief Communications:

* brochure bullet points

* email newsletters

* blog posts

* inter-office memos

* digital billboards

* product packaging

* PowerPoint presentations

* text message marketing

Social media is alien
to sales and marketing.

Social media is not a new advertising platform.

Social media participants are not craving sales, marketing and PR messages. Nor do they seek to buy shares in the "next Google" or any other unsubstantiated con job. If they wanted to know about your product, they'd go to a user forum to read reviews of all the competing brands.

Business and Social Media

Having said this, it's okay to very occasionally, i.e. rarely, post a self-tooting tweet, blow your digital horn, and announce or link to some junk you sell that might actually benefit some of your Followers on Twitter.

It's okay for a company or news organization to "get on Twitter" or "start a blog". But while there are multiple ways to do it wrong, make it backfire, and cause more harm than good, there are also some good guidelines for effective use of social media.

First of all, your goal should NOT be increased sales or viral buzz. Forget relentless hype, insular non-interaction, and having a ratio of "Followers: 3,000 / Following: 127" (meaning: you want to preach to others, but you don't care to hear what others have to say).

Your goal should be to use social media primarily as a speedy, public, personalized channel of customer service and user feedback. Be "on Twitter" to solve problems, answer questions, handle complaints, take requests, explain policy, and schedule service calls.

You could also educate, via messages or links. Share your organization's insights and values. Teach users new skills. Help customers pick the right model. Help them understand features, applications, implementation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Web abuse by Associated Press

Check out the information police at the Associated Press. They so tightly control their precious content, they force publications to take down news reports from the AP after they've been publicly displayed on the web for 30 days.

Thus, if you link to that story, after 30 days, it will be replaced by this:

Our content licensing agreement with AAP stipulates that the material must be taken down 30 days from the date of publication. Therefore this particular story, having exceeded that time frame, has expired. We apologise for any inconvenience.

That's on the deleted post "Twitter storms SA [South Australia] political scene" on ZDNet.

What can the Ass Ociated Press possibly gain from such protectionist tactics? It's a self-generated, anti-user, anti-Web, negative publicity campaign. This wrecks research referencing, factual accuracy, and dissemination of relevant data regarding events of public and private concern.

This arrogant tactic by the Associate Press is belligerant opposition to the web revolution, the idea of making information available. Charge money to get your news feed, but don't put stupid limitations on the life of the displaying of the information.

AP sucks.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

simultaneous webcasting and filming

This blog post on Simultaneous Webcasting and Filming is an assembly of Twitter messages as I communicated the topic to my followers on Twitter. Presented here in chronological order.

However, on my Twitter profile, my archived messages will be read backwards, but my Followers who were on Twitter and observing my message stream saw these messages, in real time, in chronological sequence.

For first time in 3 months, I got out of my house & did some remote webcasting last night. I operated 2 cameras simultaneously.

Quite a comback huh? After being absent for so long.

I operated a live streaming (on Ustream) video webcam in one hand & a movie camera palmcorder, recording a separate film, in the other.

Thus, 2 versions of the same event: my webcam video archived at Ustream & my palmcorder film version, which is better.

It's not easy to make two separate video documents of an event & drink Schlitz beer & argue with your wife/assistant about cords.

Actually, I had 3 or 4 assistants, a wee bit of creative anarchy, webcam was run by 5 different people at different times. Just grab it.

The webcam was secondary, to archive event at Ustream. The palmcorder was primary, as we construct a film of punk comedy skits & music.

I had to watch the computer screen to monitor the live streaming video being recorded on Ustream AND watch the popout screen on the palmcorder recording the movie segment for the client's film project.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

video art vs YouTube

I was shocked to read about how the common person has risen up in audacity and mass numbers to seize, re-factor, and popularize the abstract notions and esoteric practices of video artists, who were represented as having a limited number of tricks of their sleeves.

Artists Unite Against User Generated Content! was the slogan that seemed to be slinking around between the lines. If "everybody's doing it", then what more or different can be brought to the table by the video artist?

If kids are playing around with, and perfecting, all the art toys, how can the video artist stand out and command top dollar, social prestige, and gallery exhibits? If the best video is already on YouTube, why bother with a visit to an installation, where nothing much happens anyway?

If this topic interests you, you may want to read my small posting at Rhizome at the New Museum. It's my first blog post over there, where I archive my best music videos.

"Music Videos for Abandoned Art Galleries"


Also recommended "Moments of Illumination" on Lawrence Jordan's video art: "which includes many of the greatest films ever made by means of cutout collage animation, a range of lyric films that capture the spirit of his life and the lives of other California artists in the late 1950s and early ’60s, and films directly inspired by and incorporating poetry."

Monday, April 6, 2009

maximum Twitter message length for retweeting

From my Twitter Communication Optimization seminar January 2009:

For greater viral reach of your brilliant Twitter messages and links, do this. Use this secret Twitter optimization technique as your a Twitter message floats in a blur on the rushing river of brevities.

To optimize Twitter effectiveness, start now to reduce all messages to UNDER 140 characters. While Twitter enables users to post messages up to 140 characters in length, smart communicators and marketers are keeping their tweets shorter.


To facilitate retweeting (RTing) their tweets (Twitter messages). When your tweet appears as some other user's tweet, it's called a retweet, or RT. Common practice precedes your @ username with RT to indicate it's a retweet, or a quote of what you tweet, giving you credit, linking to you via the @ sign.

We now calculate the new maximum ReTweetable message length:

140 chars MINUS RT + : + space + @ + number of characters in your Twitter username + space

140 - 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + (number of username characters) + 1 =

(new) MAXIMUM Twitter message length.


In my case that would be:

RT: @vaspersthegrate

RT: is 3

space after RT: is 1

@vaspersthegrate is 16

(@ + vaspersthegrate, no space between them)

space after username is 1

Total pre-message characters for a ReTweet is 3 + 1 + 16 + 1 = 21

TOTAL characters to subtract from 140 character Twitter limit is 140 - 21 = 119

Therefore, the ideal number of characters is now 119.

IF I want to enable fellow Twitter users to quote my tweet in full, without bothering to truncate or paraphrase it.

Many great tweets go un-retweeted, thus missing reach opportunities, due to being too long to easily RT. Don't let this happen to your genius gems!

Let's promote this blog post as a ReTweetable tweet on Twitter:

Why you can NO LONGER post 140 character length messages in Twitter

The retweet RT of the above tweet would then be:

RT: @vaspersthegrate
Why you can NO LONGER post 140 character length messages in Twitter

21 + 92 characters of message = 113 (6 less than my new 119 limit).

NOTE: The ":" after RT is added by TweetDeck, which some Twitter users employ as a 3rd party app to send messages via Twitter.

Comment Craving Syndrome

Do you know someone with this debilitating disease, CCS?

Content Craving Syndrome is a computer-generated mental illness, thought to be pre-conditioned by apriori offline personality disorders like grandiose introjection dysfunction or approval-addict narcisissmal disengorgement.

They need the support of others, in other words. Doing it and feeling proud of it is not enough. To really like it themselves, they need to hear in their minds the echoes of fans saying specific things that are positive about what they do. Otherwise, their own work, their own creations, existing in themselves, make them miserable, we can only assume.

It's difficult for them to do or to be, without accumulating flattery, encouragement, and agreement. The feedback must be rosey, of course. How could it be otherwise? You stupid ignorant pig. How dare you utter unwanted critique?

Anyway, these weaker beings really do need our attention, praise, and time. They won't get it, but they keep pestering and pleading.

Not just announcing or explaining or promoting it. I mean down and dirty whining, bitching, and shaming you into:

* listening to their music

* looking at their art

* viewing their videos

* attending their live streaming webcast

* subscribing to their podcast

* reading their blog.

Often, they bring other apps into the situation. They'll beg you to Digg it, or StumbleUpon it, or bookmark it in a social bookmark sharing network.

Look at me.

Like me.

Vote for me.

Politics spoiling the fun, again.

#1 Rule of Online Comments =

Post comments on other people's web content
and some will reciprocate (return the favor)
by posting comments on your web content.

To receive more, give more.

But most Online Comment Cravers are too self-centered to do this.

Do what you do for the love of doing at. If it benefits others, even better. But don't put stuff online, in social media communities, or websites, then try to force people to pay attention to it, vote for it, post comments on it, do whatever it is you think they ought to do.

Why "ought" we to do this?

What compels a person to pay attention to something online? What makes a remark well up within them, so feel an irresistable urge to interact with you or your work, to the extreme act of quickly posting a response, either negative or positive?

It's the content, of course. Not the content creators pleadings and bullyings.

Comment Cravers are desperately desiring "feedback", i.e. appreciation, awe, accolades.

They insist that we:

* notice what they're doing

* like what they're doing

* think about what they're doing

* post comments about what they're doing

* keep thinking about what they're doing

* subscribe to, keep commenting on, continue to like what they're doing matter what it is they're doing.

Forget any but transitory token reciprocation.

They're too busy forcing others to like what they're doing, to spend much time messing around with whatever you might be trying to do. Plus, what they're doing is so much better anyway, than what you or anybody else, is doing.

It's nice to get comments.

Negative flames. Undiscerning praise. Unworthy cheering. Silly gushings of misguided appreciation for the crap you slopped out one drunken night at 4 in the morning. Howling hateful demands that you quit because you look like an idiot or lunatic.

All this "feedback" is welcome by any artist or entrepreneur.

Just don't crave it. Don't yearn for it. Don't dream about it. Don't demand it. Don't expect it. Don't feel entitled to it. Don't wonder why others are too stupid to give it.

Instead: keep experimenting, exploring, trying new things.

Pay attention to what your offline friends are saying.

Are they telling you that your stuff is boring, offensive, stupid, or amateur?

Maybe they're right.

Maybe what's "wrong" is not the lazy, stupid non-commenters, but you. Maybe you and your content are the problem.

Friday, April 3, 2009

the Twistori mystery

Twistori seems to be the Anti Twitter.

In the rotating links Twitter is featuring in the sidebar, it's called "an ongoing and hypnotic social experiment".

You might as well stare at the moon or the television. Twistori is not a "social network" if all the participants are anonymous, without name or avatar, sans bio. It's just sentences interacting, no: piling on top of, other sentences.

You could cut and paste statements from random books and publications, with the exact same effect. You could make a random statement generator that you could gaze at for hours, trying to detect hidden meanings within the chaos of the unconnected and randomized sentences.

The Twistori Mystery: why would you post anonymous messages to other unknowable, anonymous users? As art, it's okay but boring. No utility. Thus, since it serves no purpose that we can imagine so far, it can be categorized as Abstract Nothingism.

To be unknown, a stranger, unidentifiable. To post rootless messages, grounded in the worthless anonymous whirlpool of the digital effluvium, addressed to unknown recipients, to the Web Itself, to no one and everyone, a vague community incapable of being defined or interacted with this communication?

Perhaps all the fake Twitter accounts, ghost bloggers, and trolls could gravitate here by some awful weight of addressee-free confession compulsions.

Anonymous nothingness: the Twistori Time Waste Trap.