Tell Me More…or Less – February 25th, 2011
Tell Me More
Living just blocks from the Capitol building in Wisconsin, I’m finally witnessing firsthand the value of social media in the context of a mass movement. Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, the workers’ right marches are relatively spontaneous and disorganized. So when you’re standing in a crowd of 50,000 people, it’s not easy to understand just what’s going on with legislators, the governor and the protest rally itself. Following the #wiunion hash tag on Twitter helps, as does keeping up on Facebook, flickr, and various new websites. While these protests are completely peaceful and spirited, it gives me a little insight into information-gathering utility of social media in the democracy protests currently erupting in the middle East. On Wisconsin.
Tell Me Less
The past fortnight of protests has also brought home another lesson: sometimes there are things you simply don’t want or need to hear about. Especially when people you normally enjoy suddenly erupt in non-stop messaging or start to over-share in ways that are super annoying. That’s why I was excited to hear about Muuter, which allows users of Twitter to selectively and temporarily mute the accounts of folks that have gone off the deep end. So whether it’s dirty laundry or kitty photos, you can control the flow of TMI, without unfriending them.
Getting the Message
Perhaps you read that last October when I attended SoCap2010 – a forum for socially responsible entrepreneurship – I was intrigued by the idea of social media channels that could actually change behavior. One of the projects highlighted there was about preventing unwanted pregnancy, and now I’ve read there’s a new project that covers the flip-side – preventing low-weight and pre-term births by encouraging mothers-to-be to do right by their health. I’d like to think that they won’t come up with a mute-function for this one!
Not Getting the Message
Because I’m in marketing, I care a lot about what people say and do in the social media sphere, especially when it comes to understanding how the technology influences decision-making (whether it’s what to buy, whom to vote for, or which pills to take). In my world, friends announce get-togethers on twitter, ask questions on Facebook, find jobs on Linkedin and post pictures and videos just about everywhere. But even today it holds true that the medium is not the message. My local PR Hero Nate Towne pointed me toa great article this week that explains if you don’t know the difference, you could be betting on the wrong horse.