Beverly Robertson is the national director of the Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center at the March of Dimes, where she runs large educational campaigns. Her team answers questions from the public about preconception, pregnancy, preterm birth, and baby care; and they also offer daily pregnancy and baby tips trough Twitter. She twitters at @marchofdimes and @MoDBev and speaks frequently on social media strategies at conferences including South by Southwest.
[media-credit name=”435Digital Tribune Media” align=”aligncenter” width=”668″][/media-credit]Sree Sreenivasan is the Dean of Student Affairs at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, He blogs at Sree.net and his Twitter handle is @Sree. A contributing editor at DNAinfo.com, Sree calls himself a tech evangelist/skeptic. His lists of social media resources and tools are extensive and free. He is constantly updating updating his Facebook page, Sree Tips. Sree’s social media guide includes case studies and social media guidelines.
[media-credit name=”435Digital Tribune Media” align=”aligncenter” width=”668″][/media-credit]Writing a blog about learning social media is like writing a blog about learning to talk.
Learning to talk starts with the sense of hearing and the ability to actively listen. By listening to the stream of sounds coming from our environment we start to understand and say words. Over time, we learn to put these words together into complete thoughts that we call sentences. Before too long, we string the sentences together and begin to tell the story of what is happening around us and how we experience it. We meet others and share our stories. This storytelling give-and-take is a lifelong reiterative conversation that forms our identity and self definition. Our ability to engage in this conversation deeply influences our path in the world.
Your business learns social media much like a baby learns to talk. First, you listen online to understand what your name, or brand, means to your customers. The sounds you hear might be pleasant — or not. Either way, what’s certain is your customers are conveying important information. It’s your choice whether or not to understand the sounds and fully engage in this reiterative conversation.
Nobody can decide for you. It’s a straight-forward challenge that smacks at the culture of your organization and the ongoing story that is the interplay of you, your products and your customers. It’s a challenge that asks you to understand how deeply you value customer service — really. The repercussions of your choice will be felt all along your value chain of competitors, collaborators, and suppliers.
To get started in this conversation, you need to understand the tools, tactics and strategies of the evolving social media toolbox so you can choose those that work best for you. But as important as learning the tools, is learning how to talk in the world of social media.
By taking on the 435Digital blog beat, I’ve accepted the challenge of helping us better understand tools like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and the nature of the conversation that accompanies them. As important, I’ll be discussing the cultural change and relational juice that is creating a new online economy based on trust and transparency. It’s exciting to peer around the edges of what “is” to see what is possible.
As to my philosophy, I agree with Gary Vaynerchuk, who says in his book “The Thank You Economy:”
For the record, I dislike the term social media. It is a misnomer that has caused a boatload of confusion. It has led managers, marketers, CEOs and CMOS to think that they can use social networking sites to spread their message the same way they use traditional media platforms like print, radio, television. or outdoor and expect similar results and returns. But what we call social media is not media, nor is it even a platform. It is a massive cultural shift that has profoundly affected the way society uses the greatest platform ever invented: the internet. Unfortunately, when the business world is thinking about marketing via social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Daily Booth, it’s thinking about using social media, so that’s the term I’ll use.
This massive cultural shift is to the Knowledge Age from the Industrial Age. And I think Gary is right, there’s no such thing as a “media buy” in social media. Your online success is determined by the culture of your business and the timbre of conversations and relationships that emerge organically from who you are and what you say and do.
The same is true for me and my work on the 435 Digital blog. As we learn together, let me know how I am doing.
p.s. I love my little Twitter bird. I keep him with me always @SaDuros.
A great SlideShare on social media systems from my friends and colleagues — the Web Farm.
I have a new article up on Huffington Post Chicago , inspired by outreach from former iGive colleague Nassim Nazemi. She’s organizing a rally to express solidarity with Iran’s Democracy Saturday. Spread the word.
For Immediate Release:
CHICAGOANS TO RALLY IN SOLIDARITY WITH IRANIAN PROTESTERS EVENT SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY JUNE 20, 2009, 4-6PM AT DALEY CENTER PLAZA
CHICAGO, IL â€“ (June 18, 2008) â€“ In the aftermath of Iranâ€™s dramatic presidential election, protesters continue to march en masse through the streets of Iran demanding freedom and recognition of their votes. Half a world away, Iranâ€™s expatriate community here in the U.S. has sprung into action, staging rallies and candlelight vigils to show solidarity and mourn the protesters who have been killed during the Iranian government crackdown. Supporters in Chicago have secured permission to stage a peaceful rally at Daley Plaza, where a crowd of approximately two-hundred is expected to gather. Rally participants will attempt to amplify the stifled voices of Iranian protesters who struggle to be heard amid a media clampdown in Iran.
The rally, which will take place on Saturday, June 20, 2009 from 4-6pm, is organized by a group of young Iranians who have become acutely aware of the power and value of their civil rights as U.S. citizens and residents. They understand that electoral fairness and freedom of assembly are precisely what the Iranian protesters are pursuing in the face of tear gas, police batons, and gunfire. Planned and carried out almost entirely through social networking sites, e-mail, and text messaging, the rally itself seeks to mirror the activities of Iranian protesters whose use of technology in furtherance of democratic ideals has captured the attention of the world.
â€œPeaceful Rally in Solidarity with the Iranian Peopleâ€ is the name given to this event on the social networking website FacebookÂ®, where users are greeted with the following description:
â€œJoin us in expressing solidarity with the freedom-seeking protesters in Iran. Many of our own friends and relatives are bravely marching on the streets, and we feel a duty to support them by keeping up the momentum and continuing to raise awareness of these important events in Iran.â€
â€œWe all have different views on how best to reach the ultimate goal of freedom and democracy in Iran, and while one of us may believe in gradual reform, another may believe in more radical change. Diversity and a chorus of voices are what make a democracy beautiful, and effective. Let’s embrace the many voices rather than silencing them.â€
more information on this event, please visit our Facebook page.