DE-Vangelist Counterpoint: Chris Brogan

3 09 2008

I recently interviewed @amandachapel here (A DE-vangelist in The Chapel of Outrage). In the brief history of this blog, I’ve never seen a stronger response.

@amandachapel landed some strong punches and gave no quarter. I thought it was only fair to hear the other side of the argument.

Chris Brogan was kind enough to grant me an exclusive email interview like@amandachapel’s. There are some small differences: the model in the picture appears to be Chris himself. His bio does not offer details about the perkiness of any body parts. And no Chapel-esque undergarments are on display (at least, not in this cropping).

To keep things fair, I asked Chris almost exactly the same questions as @amandachapel.

So, let’s get to it.

@tjcnyc: Chris, how would you define Social Media? Specifically, what is it not?

@chrisbrogan: Social media is the two way web. It’s a series of software tools like blogs, social networks, video, and more that permit two way interactions on the web.

It is NOT a movement, per se. It is NOT a cure all. It is NOT the evolution of marketing. That’s like calling email the evolution of marketing.

@tjcnyc: Can social media offer real ROI, or is @amandachapel’s ROP (“Return on Prayer”) a fair criticism?

@chrisbrogan: Dell is a great case study. In 2005, a single blog post from Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine brought the search term “Dell” into a series of negative blog posts, burying a link to Dell.com at the bottom of the first page at Google.

Michael Dell needed to address the technical complaint, but also to get sentiment around the company restored to reasonable levels. He also had to get the search terms restored. Both were accomplished by GENUINE blogging and communication by Lionel Menchaca. Since then, Dell has launched IdeaStorm, which has had measurable results in product development, sentiment surveying, and more.

Other case studies exist, but we all agree that they are still few and far between.

@tjcnyc: I agree people can build their personal brands via social media. But what about major advertised brands, who must influence millions of people quickly? What role, if any, can social media play?

@chrisbrogan: Several brands are experimenting with the value of social media. Frank Eliason from Comcast is running the team around the Twitter account, @comcastcares. He’s received positive press from several publications, mainstream and otherwise. Others experimenting with these kinds of branding efforts include: JetBlue, TheHomeDepot, WholeFoods, Blackberry, Zappos, HP, Dell, IBM, Rick Sanchez from CNN, and several more. And that’s just Twitter.

Branding and outreach via social media is a really hot area right now, and though metrics are still slow in developing, it’s clear that several businesses are exploring this as an outlet.

@tjcnyc: Peter Kim questions “can social media scale?” What’s your opinion?

@chrisbrogan: I think it’s not about scale in the longer term. I think it’s a series of personal touches. This is a really crucial point to bring up, though. Starbucks used to be the corner coffee store. It used to be the new guy. Now it’s vast and empire-like. Sentiment has changed around the brand perception. But did they do something wrong? Not at all. Franchising and scaling a quality product isn’t a sin.

Will this come easily to social media efforts? I don’t think it will be easy. But I do think there are opportunities to infuse some of what social media teaches (two way communications, mass personalization, human-focused business relationships) into other spots.

@tjcnyc: You’re one of the “A-Listers” @amandachapel has placed in the crosshairs. Why you? Are you angry, flattered, or both? Do you think @amandachapel adds to the conversation about social media, or detracts from it?

@chrisbrogan: I think Amanda offers a necessary service. When she’s doing her best work, her criticism is useful and gives me a much-needed stone to sharpen my blade upon. If I’m forever receiving praise and acceptance, I’ll miss chances to improve.

Amanda serves a very valuable niche need, but only when she’s ‘on.’ Calling people fat isn’t especially useful.

If I were advising Brian and the team behind Amanda, I would press for even more critical analysis. Drop more into the blog and get off the 140 character-only critiques.

@tjcnyc: If you had a marketer friend at a company like Procter & Gamble or Unilever who was actively considering a Social Media program, what are the five key pieces of advice you’d offer?

@chrisbrogan: Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. There’s five.

I feel that where marketing can gain the most ground is learning how to listen in a much more active, much more actionable, and much more human-scale way is one of the biggest opportunities.

Beyond that? Dip in NOW, try the tools, do some light stuff to just get a sense of what it means to have a blog, what it means to talk back and forth with people on Twitter, what it means to put up a Facebook fan page for a business. If you’re not in the lab right now, you’re like a T-Rex feeling fairly smug while we mastadons are all growing out our coats.

====

My thanks to Chris, and to @amandachapel for her interview in the original post. I’m hoping this will spark some good conversation. What’s your opinion?

If you’re a social media true believer, can you offer data that explains your passion? While I agree the Dell example Chris highlights is valid, I’d also agree when he says more case studies are needed.

I’m especially interested in programs that influenced millions rather than hundreds of people.

If you’re a social media non-believer, do you think Chris Brogan’s approach works? What about the scale issue?

All comments are welcome. After all, this IS social media -)

Advertisements

Actions

Information

20 responses

3 09 2008
gregorylent

mention a firefox problem on twitter, they respond within an hour about how to fix it. that is a great use of social media. being followed by @sarah1985 to get me to go to a skin blog is not. or a roofing company. or a doctor. assistance vs. intrusion, and few companies get the difference.

social media is a huge tool for customer service, customer relationships, customer experience enhancement. and for many big companies, that is the last thing they really want to do.

can you imagine verizon responding to customer complaints via social media? it would take a division 24/7.

so, if you function on a level of intimacy, a great tool. on the level of impersonal corporate efficiency, it is limited. and another secret, a lot of corporations would fall apart if they allowed the human it intrude into their operating procedures.

in short, it is a 2007-08 buzzword, and points to further communication possibilities in the future that will function better. hyper-connectivity is not going away.

and being an “expert” in the “discipline” gets some speaking fees.

3 09 2008
tjcnyc

Thanks Gregory. Agree about the Verizon example. Will we soon see customer service bots answering consumer complaints on Twitter? I can actually see this working well, esp if you can escalate by Tweeting “let me talk to your supervisor”.

3 09 2008
Charles

It’s a good interview – and he makes good points.

@tjcnyc: in your post, at the end, you say “I’m especially interested in programs that influenced millions rather than hundreds of people.” Social media campaigns that influenced *millions*? Seriously? They can’t exist. You’re thinking of TV and radio adverts – surely those are the only form that has that sort of uniform reach. Social media collects into groups; there’s influencers in those groups, and messages will spread, but it can’t be uniform or predictable. How do you get a message out to every blog? You can’t. You can’t advertise on my blog because I don’t take ads. But I’ll write about things I find interesting; I’ll tweet ideas or links that are. I think you’re looking for a scale that doesn’t, perhaps never will, exist in social media.

Remember the very basic human fact, that in general we have about 150 people with whom we can have a sensible, trusted relationship (Dunbar’s number: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number). It emerges from evolution. It’s very relevant here, I think: try to push your connections beyond that and the fabric becomes strained. How did the Romans manage armies of thousands of people? By breaking them into smaller trusted groups – cohorts and centuries. You’re looking to reach millions in person? You can only do it by reaching thousands of much smaller groups – and that might mean tweaking your message, because they’re not an army following orders.

Hell, look at what’s happening in front of you now. Two politicians, tweaking their messages to reach tiny groups within the 250m Americans. Is it social media? Politics? Marketing? Advertising? What do you think?

3 09 2008
Tom Cunniff

@Charles: “Social media campaigns that influenced *millions*? Seriously? They can’t exist.” At last, we’ve reached the core of the question, at least for CPG marketers like me.

I’m OK with reaching smaller audiences for our brands, especially if I think those audiences can be influential. But, each conversation and each targeted sub-group consumes scarce resources. (Imagine a human being with only limited breath in his or her lungs. Too many conversations at once, and you keel over dead.)

So, the math bit of this boils down to: 1) how many conversations can we have and still be effective?; and 2) how many of these conversations must we have to reach an audience that’s a meaningful size?

I don’t expect an answer to this, because it will vary greatly by brand. I’m just posing those questions so you can better understand where I’m coming from.

Social media may be most meaningful as an extension of customer service, or as part of cause-related marketing efforts. What I’m trying to figure out is where this all fits.

4 09 2008
Charles

@Tom: “So, the math bit of this boils down to: 1) how many conversations can we have and still be effective?; and 2) how many of these conversations must we have to reach an audience that’s a meaningful size?”

I think you’re asking “how can we start a forest fire all at once? We simply don’t have enough people with flamethrowers to get it going.” Yet forest fires do happen, often started from a single, tiny source. The key is the flame and the readiness of the trees to burn, not the effort to get it started.

If I come across someone whose product I really like (probably software; because that’s the sort of field I’m in), their attitude might influence how I then represent their product to others in my “Dunbar group”. (Assume such a thing exists. Maybe a subset of my Twitter followers.) If those others respect my opinion, they may take it up themselves. There: the product’s reputation has spread without the direct intervention of the original person to a wider group. Fire spreads. Achieved how? Not through direct effort – through connection. The fire can spread if there’s the right conditions. (Similarly a flock of birds doesn’t have one bird telling the rest what to do; they just observe the bird ahead and to each side. )

What makes it hard is that you can’t buy it. You can’t completely predict it. You can hope; you can forecast; but it’s dependent on how you and your brand come across in individual interaction, which makes it really hard to drive. It’s a political skill – politicians do it very, very well in person.

Social media seems to me to be meaningful for companies wherever companies need their individuals to interact with those outside or inside. That may mean at the engineer level (Microsoft has scores of public, engineer blogs); or the customer service side. The sales side, hmm.

4 09 2008
Amanda Chapel

RE: BROGAN ON THE DEFINITION OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Let’s make a few points clear:

1) Brogan’s words: “Remember that I’m a technologist and not a marketer.” http://tinyurl.com/6q7e9w
2) Calling SMedia a “series of software tools that permit 2-way interaction” is tantamount to saying the National Highway System is about cars and not traffic, totally ignoring its complexity, seriousness and risks.
3) Not to recognize email as a “revolution” let alone “evolution” in marketing is to not understand marketing. Email is the lowest-cost targeted push-marketing message-delivery mechanism ever. Now, if he’s implying effectiveness, i.e. low conversion rates, that’s not the point. For better or worse, unsolicited bulk email currently accounts for approximately 95 percent of all email http://tinyurl.com/6qe8x8 …for a reason. Apparently, there are thousands of marketers that disagree with Chris here.
4) To not recognize SMedia as a bona fide “movement” is astonishing! By definition, a movement is: a. trend; b. a series of organized activities working toward an objective; and c. an organized effort to promote or attain an end, e.g. the civil rights movement. Question: What is Chris leveraging when he conducts his many Social Media Marketing Bootcamps if not the social media trend? Lastly, let alone movement, many are at least trying to suggest “revolution.” See http://tinyurl.com/3x6jcx.

RE: BORGAN ON SOCIAL MEDIA ROI

First, Chris concedes that case studies are still “few and far between.”

That said, Chris ironically cites Dell and the Jeff Jarvis debacle. Excuse me but Jeff and Dell isn’t a case study on ROI; it’s a case study on my earlier admonition #2 “Beware of the demagogues; People and competitors are just waiting for you to make a move for them to leverage.” http://tinyurl.com/63erhb

Jarvis wasn’t an example of return on promotional dollar. He inspired a crisis and an all-hands-on-deck defense. Jarvis saw a weakness and capitalized on it to build his own web fame. See “Wake up Corporate America, You Are Being Watched” http://tinyurl.com/6rsf3f . Jeff took the Web’s unique ability to organize complainers and bolster schadenfreude and molded that into a virtual army: “Behind me a mob gathered 6 million with pitchforks and torches ready to storm castle Dell.” Calling Dell response a case history in ROI is ridiculous. It’s like thanking the arsonist and saying your fire sprinkling system is a growth strategy.

With regard to Dell recent adaptations to social media, see http://tinyurl.com/6m6hlm . Andy Lark, Dell’s VP of Global Marketing and Communications, has since reigned in the “conversation.”

Lastly, back to the topic of ROI, the Guardian’s Charles Arthur hits the nail on the head in the comments here: “What makes it hard is that you can’t buy it. You can’t completely predict it. You can hope.” And that’s ROP, Return on Prayer.

RE: BROGAN ON MAJOR BRANDS WITH SMEDIA FOR OUTREACH

“Branding and outreach via social media is a really hot area right now, and though metrics are still slow in developing, it’s clear that several businesses are exploring this as an outlet.”

Excuse me, “several businesses exploring” makes the uncontrolled “conversation” that is SMedia a rogue business tactic.

Actually, Charles Arthur gets it right here, too: “Social media campaigns that influenced millions can’t exist. You’re thinking of TV and radio adverts – surely those are the only form that has that sort of uniform reach. Social media collects into groups; there are influencers in those groups, and messages spread, but it can’t be uniform or predictable. How do you get a message out to every blog? You can’t. You can’t advertise on my blog because I don’t take ads. But I’ll write about things I find interesting.”

That said, the ethical implications of an organization inherently with an agenda injecting themselves overtly or not into an “authentic” group or otherwise manipulating unknowing individuals is VERY troubling.

RE: BROGAN ON WHETHER SMEDIA CAN SCALE

“I think it’s not about scale in the longer term.”

Silly. Business is all about margins and scale. Other than that, you’re making your own shoes.

As far as scaling genuine “relationships,” c’mon! Polygamy is rare because it is hard, unmanageable, and ultimately abusive.

Arthur again, “[Tom] You’re looking for a scale that doesn’t, perhaps never will, exist in social media.”

RE: BROGAN’S ADVICE TO MAJOR BRAND MARKETERS

“Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Beyond that? Dip in NOW, try the tools, do some light stuff to just get a sense of what it means to have a blog. If you’re not in the lab right now, you’re like a T-Rex feeling fairly smug while we mastodons are all growing out our coats.”

Ridiculous, out of touch and regrettably arrogant.

First, Chris assumes that companies are not listening. Successful companies are and have been. Corporate and marketing research is a huge industry.

Chris also implies that he’s smarter than all the thousands of highly qualified and experience MBA and professionals in the Fortune 1,000. Regrettably, what social media has done is given him the platform where volume drowns out actual business rational and value. And that sadly is the basis of Chris’ “fame” and the root of his evangelism and enthusiasms for SMedia.

4 09 2008
Charles

Apart from blatantly agreeing with me – which must have really stuck in his craw – @amandachapel actually misquotes me. The sentence doesn’t end at “hope”. It said

You can hope; you can forecast; but it’s dependent on how you and your brand come across in individual interaction, which makes it really hard to drive. It’s a political skill – politicians do it very, very well in person.

So I’m saying: it can be done.

As in, it depends how you come across. You can do it well, or badly. Good grief, have you noticed there’s an election going on in the US? They can’t visit every voter. They can’t even hit every voter with TV ads. Social media might give politicians some way to reach people they couldn’t. But you can’t force the message; only find the message that people want to tell.

The best definition of news I ever heard (from a non-journalist, as it happens) was that news was “stuff I care about, stuff I want to pass on.” You might consider how that applies to any brand you want to spread the word about via social media. (I’m not a marketer, so you’ll have to talk amongst yourselves while you do that. I’ll watch.)

5 09 2008
Roger

Just a quick point about the 5 “listens,” That listening is pointless without responding. This was made clear in the recent twebinar, Using Social Media for Listening hosted by none other than Chris Brogan himself (and others).

The five key pieces I’d offer would be:
1. Listen
2. Care
3. Respond
4. Share
5. Be authentic

5 09 2008
Webconomist

Good interview. @AmandaChapel just “might” be a PR person, but not a marketer. Email is not a “revolution”, the results are less than direct mail now, and yes it’s cheap, it’s just the Web version of DM. Nothing more sexy than that.

Again Amanda misses the point on the “listen” front as well. Companies have been listening thru focus groups, surveys etc., but it’s a very different form of listening, arguably much better than focus groups and suvryes which have inherent bias/skew issues.

Social Media is a great way for companies to listen and learn about possible innovations for products; features to add, delete or change. Which can be put into the product management plan and product roadmaps for further development. Used internally, SMedia platforms can help innovation and improve productivity as well.

5 09 2008
tjcnyc

Thanks, Webconomist. I agree companies need a new way to listen to people and learn from them. IMO, today we’re likely to hear more real opinions as “a fly on the wall” than we can sitting in a dark room eating M&Ms at a typical focus group.

7 09 2008
Amanda Chapel

CHARLES

1. Charles ends with his most important point: “I’m not a marketer.” Add to that he’s also not a businessman. He’s a tech reporter.

2. Charles is dead wrong re: hope. In business, the sentence indeed “ends at hope”. Where he continues, i.e. “You can forecast; but it’s dependent on how you and your brand come across in individual interaction, which makes it really hard to drive,” is, from a practical business standpoint, rubbish. The point is social media doesn’t scale and can’t be controlled… which is antithetical to what business fundamentally does. Currency is a manifestation of scale and control. If the Guardian were paying him in “hope,” at least then his idealism would be credible.

3. “But you can’t force the message; only find the message that people want to tell.” That’s pure dee social-media happy talk. A mob is an animal with Tourette’s, composed of liars and cheats who are mostly motivated by tits and ass and schadenfreude. The mob likes to trespass, break glass and hang people. Our history is the bloody trail left behind by its rapacious crawl.

4. Re. The best definition of news being “stuff I care about, stuff I want to pass on,” is absurd and dangerous. Coming from the Guardian… that’s appalling. Charles is telling us to forget objective standards, i.e. forget real value.

7 09 2008
Amanda Chapel

ROGER

Agreed, “listening is pointless without responding.”

That said, respectfully Roger’s addition five key pieces are unfortunately are a reflection of social media’s superficiality. Let start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_research and http://www.greenbook.org/. We in the marketing and communications profession take that information and design strategy.

Now, were it gets fun is that it doesn’t take very many data points to begin to be predictive with a high degree of accuracy. Take http://www.acxiom.com/overview . Bottom line: With regard to what we know and what we can predict… their data goes back more than 6 years now. They know when you’re gonna take your next poop.

Business is about monitoring customer whims and desires; forecasting the sales cycle; and optimizing the sales cycle. That’s what we do.

WEBCONOMIST

1. Again, to debate that email is not “revolutionary” based on results is asinine. Of course it is an extension of direct marketing but the volume it can handle at little to no cost with no barrier to entry is surely revolutionary. Hell, the most significant marketing invention of all time was the shopping cart. Email is at least on par with that.

2. “Companies have been listening thru focus groups, surveys etc., but it’s a very different form of listening, arguably much better than focus groups and surveys which have inherent bias/skew issues.” Naïve. Ridiculous. See research links above. Fact is research is a rich science; and social media rises to superficial bad art.

3. “Social Media is a great way for companies to listen and learn about possible innovations for products; features to add, delete or change.” Sure. But this discussion was about marketing.

8 09 2008
Charles

@brianconnollymasqueradingasamandachapel: one point: I’m speaking for me, not the Guardian. They have a press office. Contact them if you want a quote. (They’ll need a real name, I’m afraid.)

>>
Re. The best definition of news being “stuff I care about, stuff I want to pass on,” is absurd and dangerous. Coming from the Guardian… that’s appalling. Charles is telling us to forget objective standards, i.e. forget real value.
>>

OK, now you’re on my territory. Define “objective standards” in news. Define “real value” in news. Show where it is different from readers thinking “this is stuff I care about, or want to pass on” [ie, tell someone else about]. Is Britney Spears “news”? Is Abu Ghraib “news”? Yes, to some people both are – they want to know about it or pass it on, tell their friends. (To some people, neither is.) Or Freddie Mae and Fannie Mae being taken over – that’s stuff you should care about, because it affects your mortgage. (But some people won’t care. Are you going to make them care? How?)

But you go ahead. You define “objective” news and “real” values to us. Remember, you’re the one who said they existed. Tell us what they are. In a world that ranges from the Guardian all the way down to, well, Strumpette, tell us what “objective standards” are. Tell us how others should spot “real value”.

No name-calling, no evading: you started it, you see if you can finish it. Remember, your “objective standards” and “real value” must apply everywhere – rather as the “stuff I care about, stuff I want to pass on” definition does, for anyone from the smallest Chinese village to the Oval Office. Come on – you say you’re in communications. Show it.

9 09 2008
Charles

(and just as a coda to the above, I take it as axiomatic that news is checked for accuracy and, as far as possible and desired by the reader/listener/viewer, is sourced.)

10 09 2008
tjcnyc

FROM @amandchapel, VIA EMAIL

CHARLES

1. @brianconnollymasqueradingasamandachapel is factually incorrect and not relevant. The fact that you need to insist on that is about YOU, not Brian or me.

2. Regarding your “OK, now you’re on my territory. Define ‘objective standards’ in news”…

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_point_of_view : “Objectivity is a significant principle of journalistic professionalism. Journalistic objectivity refers to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and nonpartisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.”

Objective standards is when we get you (and Brian) out of the picture Charles. Clearly, you can’t. You boldly underscore the narcissistic hook that is Web 2’s great seduction of amateurs. The topic here is social media marketing and especially its limitations in business. All YOU have done is indirectly demonstrate the latter.

3. As to “I’m speaking for me, not the Guardian,”… the quote was “The best definition of news I ever heard was that news was ’stuff I care about, stuff I want to pass on.’” Again, as tech editor of the Guardian, YOUR definition of news is appalling. No one gives a damn about YOUR petty bias Charles. In fact, YOUR exorcising YOUR personal prejudices has been a particularly annoying distraction in this debate.

– Amanda

10 09 2008
Charles

@brianfrustratedatFurthermorePublishing’sFailure – Nice to see you can’t answer my question. And delightful that you insist on trying to retain your secret identity, which has been known for years now. It’s down to you to demonstrate it as factually incorrect. That would be objective. A webcam might prove it.

What are “objective standards” in news? Is Britney Spears shaving her head news? Well, is it? People choose what goes in newspapers. People on Digg choose what gets dugg. Is the NYT’s choice of “news” right and the NY Post’s “wrong”, or vice-versa? Is Digg’s multi-personal choice better than the small group doing it at the NYT or NYPost?

Admit it: there’s no single answer. News is not objective. Which is why the subjective definition I quoted is so effective.

Point being, of course, that in trying to choose what “news” to pursue, journalists and editors are considering how their *readers* will react, in the “stuff I care about, stuff I want to pass on”. The NYT’s readers are different from the NYPost’s. The things they care about and want to pass on are different.

Objective standards? “Real value”? You’re living in a fantasy. But given your adoption of a fantasy persona, that isn’t surprising.

11 09 2008
Amanda Chapel

1. Anyone who thinks “News is not objective,” shouldn’t be anywhere near a newsroom. Listen: His insistence that he personally cannot remove himself from the news taints The Guardian, i.e. one bad apple. To have someone that is so utterly confused and wrong about the business he’s in is appalling. He apparently brings his bullshit petty ad hominem literal-minded opinion to everything he foists on the public. It’s not news. It’s opinion. And just like assholes, everyone’s got one.

2. Charles also ironically underscores a key flaw in SMedia. Without objective standards or a referee, pissants rule. No one can win, nothing can be determined, nothing can be learned… without knowing and comparing it to something objective. No matter how many times Charles will lose this argument… he’s been empowered and his ego WILL NOT concede. That’s why he needs to continually digress to base name calling.

3. “People on Digg choose what gets dugg.” Exacly. That’s NOT journalism. It does sometimes – accidentally – rise to usable information. But bottom line, it’s just popular crap

4. “Objective standards? You’re living in a fantasy.” Again, when Charles gets paid in “hope” and not actual currency, we can compare notes. His “hope” is fantasy. In the meantime, his case is ridiculous hypocrisy.

5. Again, again, again, the topic here was/is the efficacy of social media marketing. But @CharlesArthurThePrissyPissantTechReporter ONLY can name call and strut his ego. 🙂 Silly. My apologies for stooping to that level.

– Amanda

11 09 2008
Charles

@Brian – I invited you to answer the question, twice, of what constitutes “objective values” and “real values” in news. *You* brought the topic up. And you can’t. Because you’re wrong. There’s no objective measure of “news”.

News is a social thing too: it’s a form of social transaction. Thinking about social media? News travels over it, in case you hadn’t noticed. (You probably didn’t. Too busy being rude to people.) People getting fired! People being hired! A company launching something! A company closing something! Taxes up! Down! Someone in China winning a medal! All these bits of information will travel over social networks. They don’t have to be internet-mediated. They can travel over the garden fence or school gate. It’s *all* news of a sort if it gets transmitted and received between people.

Gossip is “news” to those who want to pass it on – at the school, local, national, international level. Changed taxation is “news” to those who are affected by it – and to those who are interested in tax levels in different countries, even if they live in a different one. They care about it. They want to pass it on.

Which is why your Wikipedian definition doesn’t pass muster. And the one I recalled does.

And the one I recalled also applies to social media, and to what travels over it. Understand what makes news, and you understand what works in social media. Clearly, you don’t. But I think that’s been evident for a while now.

(Sorry, Tom, for clogging up your blog. But I hope at least this bit is helpful.)

12 09 2008
tjcnyc

FROM @amandachapel VIA EMAIL

Charles,

1. Re: “@Brian,” I’ve told you I’m NOT Brian. I’M NOT! But you insist… out of sheer pettiness. That makes you an asshole Charles. That’s all. And here’s the point ironically: in my world, we vet the unseemliness of assholes by being objective and focusing on value rather than personality. You can’t.

2. I answered your question re: “what constitutes ‘objective values’ in news.” If you want to know more about objective value in news, take a professional journalism course. Or better yet, go ask Alan Rusbridger. Tell him you’re confused.

3. “News is a social thing too: it’s a form of social transaction.” Of course it is; no one said it wasn’t. However, “value” is hierarchical. There is a HUGE difference between “People Magazine” and “The New York Times.” The bullshit on Digg isn’t in the same category as the news on CNN online. You and your social-media “friendz” apparently cannot tell the difference. As such, you’d like to reduce us all to your level.

Bottom line: Our culture, our democracy, our financial institutions NEED to know that difference between what’s valuable and what’s not. As such, we have refined and sophisticated systems that are designed specifically to minimize the exposure to assholes and human caprice.

4. “Gossip is ‘news’ to those who want to pass it on.” No. Gossip is defined as “idle talk, usually about other people’s private lives, esp. of a disapproving or malicious nature; trifling or groundless rumor.” While you (plural) celebrate that, history has learned to frown on it. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossip. “Judaism considers gossip spoken without a constructive purpose (known in Hebrew as lashon hara) as a sin.” “Christianity condemns all kinds of gossip.”

Indeed, your SMedia fad cerebrates what 2,000+ years of history has taught us to condemn… for good reason.

5. Again, this thread was/is about the efficacy of marketing in social media.

Lastly, this is a pointless exorcise, Charles. As I said above, you continue to underscore a key flaw in SMedia. Without objective standards or a referee, pissants like you rule. No one can win, nothing can be determined, nothing can be learned… without knowing and comparing it to something objective. No matter how many times you will lose this argument… your petty narcissism will not – CANNOT – concede. As I’ve said a thousand times online, it all reminds me of the Woody Allen quote, “It’s nothing a fistful of Prozac and a baseball bat couldn’t cure.”

– Amanda

12 09 2008
tjcnyc

tjcnyc (15:26:45) : edit

@charles, @amandachapel –

Thank you both for debating with such energy. But, I wonder whether this has come to a place where it is no longer productive for a business reader.

@amandachapel argues passionately for a pure meritocracy with clearly defined, objective standards for accountability and profit. Intellectually, I agree. But, reality delights in torturing idealists. The world almost never works the way it “should”.

@charles argues passionately that we must deal with the world’s inherent irrationality and sloppiness. Maybe we “should” be focused on the critical issues of the day, but in @charles’ daily reality he sees that human beings love soft “news” and often ignore the hard stuff.

Without acknowledging how humans really act, you can’t sell newspapers. Without idealists to hold us accountable, we will pander to the worst instincts of humanity until we risk causing the collapse of what little civilization we have left.

I find merit in both arguments. What I don’t see is a place where these polar POVs can ever find agreement. I think this argument needs to continue, and both sides are important.

But, with respect to both @charles and @amandachapel, I’m not convinced the argument should continue here. How about starting a room on FriendFeed?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: