Webometric Thoughts

July 20, 2009

Social Media Non-Adopters: Engagement v. Exposure

Filed under: BCSMC,Twitter,spam — admin @ 8:04 am

The topic of last Tuesday’s Black Country Social Media Cafe was Social Media Non-Adopters. Although the group chose the topic it was quite a quiet event, so we dumped the panel-at-the-front format in favour of a round table discussion. Despite the limited numbers (or possibly because of the limited numbers), it turned out to be a really interesting discussion, covering numerous different topics under the umbrella of ‘Social-Media Non-Adopters’; from the protocol of ReTweeting on Twitter to turning your avatar green for Iran![Nb. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of many social media campaigns].

The area of discussion I found most interesting was that of ‘Engagement v. Exposure’: When we encourage people to participate in social media are we giving them the support necessary to engage successfully and deal with the problems that come from potentially exposing yourself to communication with some of the world’s less desirable elements.

One seemingly innocuous example was that of retweeting, i.e., re-broadcasting a message in Twitter by updating with someone else’s message with ‘RT’ and the original messenger’s username at the front. Whilst a RT is generally seen as highlighting the noteworthiness of someone’s content, it can also be used to attribute content to a person who never twittered it. Such false-attribution could be anything from adjusting a comment for length, to attributing something embarrassing/slanderous to someone. Most such examples are examples of misinformation rather than disinformation; they are not deliberately trying to give a false impression. And most disinformation is more likely to be in an attempt to drive traffic than to be slanderous, for example:

‘RT @stephenfry Probably the most interesting person ever http://bit.ly/LnyqI

Which is probably more likely to generate traffic than the same quote without the Stephen Fry attribution.

Responses from Twitter show a mixture of those who accept the need for shortening tweets, and those who expect a carbon copy.

The problem of celeb-attribution-spam was the topic of a post at bloggingtips last week, unfortunately they are not all as obvious as this:

June 10, 2009

Black Country Social Media Cafe: Excellent Journalism 2.0 talk

Filed under: BCSMC,Black Country Social Media Cafe — admin @ 6:10 am

The mixture of informal gathering and a more formal talk went down well again at yesterday’s Black Country Social Media Cafe. Dan Slee, Philip John, and Linda Jones did a magnificent job of leading us through the changing world of the newspaper industry.

What’s particularly good about the panel/discussion format is that everyone throws in a few opinions, and everyone learns something new. Aptly shown by Dan’s after-event-tweeting:

What did I learn? Newspapers have an important role to play in the local media, but if they don’t adapt quickly enough to the opportunities offered by social media they could see themselves marginalised by the likes of The Lichfield Blog and the work of Talk About Local.

I also learnt that of all the social media people at the BCSMC, I am probably the worst photographer:

As always I am looking for suggestions for both speakers and topics (and photographers) for future events, so any ideas let me know.

Thanks to all those who came along, and this month’s sponsor Wolverhampton Development Company.

May 13, 2009

Black Country Social Media Cafe: It’s worse than Birmingham’s!

Filed under: BCSMC,Black Country Social Media Cafe — admin @ 7:28 am

Yesterday was the second open Black Country Social Media Cafe, another good turn out with a lot of new faces. Whilst I don’t think it had the same swing as the first cafe, it’s all a learning curve.

My initial disappoint with the turn-out was mostly due to a faulty memory. This month’s BCSMC had twenty people at it’s peak, whilst I was convinced last month’s had twenty-five (20% drop). According to my blog, however, there were only twenty-three last month (13% drop), and two of those were invited speakers (5% drop). With at least half-a-dozen claiming prior commitments, I can’t be too disappointed. Nonetheless we can’t be complacent, if we want to grow we need to work on the marketing. Next month: thirty-or-bust!

The content of this month’s cafe was “You”, we wanted to know how social media had worked for people at the cafe. Great idea, poorly implemented: my fault. Rather than having the round the room input that was originally envisaged, the sun went to my head and I suggested we do the filming outside. As such no one knows what anyone else said and half the people opted out. Hopefully there won’t be any problems with the film, and we will have some idea who we want to speak to at the next cafe.

Next month (Tuesday June the 9th) we will seen a return to the successful speaker/discussion format of the first cafe. Any ideas for talks, talkers, or sponsors, please let me know.

[Update- a couple of hours later] In response to “social media is not in our best interests, so we will not cover your story”…next month’s topic will be journalism 2.0. Sign-up here.

April 17, 2009

Random Thoughts on Community Radio

Filed under: BCSMC,Community Radio — admin @ 9:20 pm

Rather than the title of this post referring to my random thought on community radio, it reflects the fact that this evening my random thoughts were being broadcast on the local community radio:

Looking for a guest for tonight’s Wolverhampton Politics Show after someone had to pull out. Any takers? :) 8pm-9pm on 101.8 WCR FM

Whilst anyone who knows me would have said “you’d be better off with dead air or possibly a goat”, the ephemeral ties of Twitter were enough for a foot in the door. At least two old ladies and a cat probably got to hear my opinions:
1) Pirate Bay – No sympathy.
2) Email smear campaign – move on you hypocritical Tories and journalists.
3) Green car subsidies – dislike cars, but as people are selfish, green cars are probably the best we can hope for.

I have never really given much thought to community radio before, but it immediately appeals to me (non-commercial ventures generally do).

What the Wolverhampton Community Radio really needs, however, is a tech slot…or more specially a Black Country Social Media Cafe Radio Show! Surely the BCSMC have enough knowledge to fill an hour each week.

Why broadcast in the web 2.0 world? Because it would be nice if the social media cafe could reach beyond the technorati.

April 8, 2009

Black Country Social Media Cafe: It’s better than Birmingham’s!

Filed under: BCSMC,Black Country Social Media Cafe — admin @ 8:24 am

Yesterday was the first open Black Country Social Media Cafe, and in my less-than-humble opinion it was a resounding success! Whilst there are things we can improve upon, thanks to the collective efforts of a number of people, I think the Black Country has given the Social Media Cafe format its own spin and the result is far more than a clone of the Birmingham Social Media Cafe.

Rather than the give-em-a-coffee and shove-em-in-a-room approach of the Birmingham Social Media Cafe (which nonetheless work remarkably well), we have tried to create a more structured event. The planned timetable was:
2.30pm People start arriving, mingling and drinking coffee.
3.00pm “Thanks for coming” and “a few words from our sponsor”
3.05pm Chris Unitt and Pete Ashton give a short talk on what they got from the SxSW conference.
3.20pm People get back to mingling, dinking coffee, and reflecting on the talk.
4.30pm Everyone off home.

As with all the best laid plains, it didn’t quite end up like that. I have been reliably informed that I managed to get the name of the sponsor wrong (I should have said Clarity Digital Marketing), and then the talk went on a lot longer expected. However, as the length of the talk was driven mainly by questions from the floor, it can only be a good thing!

The mid-session talk/panel is definitely a feature we want to keep, although we will try and give people a bit more time to mingle and reflect on the topics afterwards. It was a shame that a few had to rush off, but as the last stragglers didn’t leave until 5.50pm there was plenty of scope for further discussion.

So, a success! The second one is planned for Tuesday 12th May, so make sure you sign up and let us know of any topics you would be interested in hearing discussed.

Nb. For those of more quantitative tastes, there were 23 people yesterday, but with the positive feedback I’m hoping for more next time.

March 12, 2009

Reflections on the Black Country Social Media Cafe

Filed under: BCSMC,Black Country Social Media Cafe — admin @ 3:44 pm

No longer do those interested in social media in the Black Country have to travel through to Birmingham; the Black Country now has its own Social Media Cafe! First (open) meeting: Tuesday 7th April, 2.30pm, Alchemy, Wolverhampton(see map below).

Today a select gathering came together in a Wolverhampton coffee shop to discuss how they could adapt the Social Media Cafe model of the Tuttle Club to the needs of the Black Country. Unsurprisingly a dozen people (more than I had originally expected) have a dozen different ideas. What we all agreed upon was that a Black Country Social Media Cafe could only be a good thing for the area, and that the best way to start was a monthly, daytime meeting. There was also a lot of enthusiasm for special interest splitter groups, as well as less formal meetings out of work hours. So it is, without a doubt, only the start.

The Social Media Cafe is all about making connections and sharing information; two fundamentals for innovation. So if you are in the region, and are interested in social media, or just want to find out more about social media, feel free to come along for a coffee and a chat.

The official Black Country Social Media Cafe blog and wiki will soon be open for updates and user-contributions.

Thanks to everyone who came along today.

[Update 13/03/09]
Black Country Social Media Cafe is now fully social:
Twitter – http://twitter.com/bcsmc
Google Group – http://groups.google.co.uk/group/bcsmc
Wiki – http://bcsmc.pbwiki.com/
Blog – http://bcsmc.wordpress.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=70070480515

View this map on Multimap.com
Bird’s Eye view on Multimap.com
Get directions on Multimap.com

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