Social media vs. Propaganda

Hey guys! You know what?

I got a great news for you!

Social Media holds social in it... and therefore relates to individuals... with (most of the time) more than one field of interest. No kidding.

(Yeah I know how you feel, no need to thank me. I'm proud to release this secret to you, to bring some light in this age of darkness).

You think I'm overstating this?
Well, I wish I was.

I recently had intense discussions with friends, who were literally sick of the non-business related tweets of some of the folks they're following on twitter which I was claiming as "salt of the info", the extra compound that makes you listen to what another person's saying.

One of the major argument was based on: on social media, one must keep a strong firewall between personal and professional life. I have to admit that I had ignited the discussion with one of my recent re-tweet of a statement of the kind, adding in my RT that I violently disagreed.

So let me explain this in two steps:

1 - Social media relates to individuals not to propaganda.
Most companies on twitter / facebook etc. do take advantage of their employees' own pages / network and followers. Aren't they?

Even though companies do have a corporate account, it is their employees who actually enrich
any announcement thanks to the comment they post on their personal accounts. Leveraging their own network to deliver the info.


In my profesional life, I follow quite a bunch of marketing, social media, Open Source and ECM experts. Those I'm really fond of are those who, on top of their area of expertise, tweet on what really matters to them.

Here's a recent example (Damien is one of Nuxeo's customers and an active community member). His initial tweet enabled me to discover about a worldwide 24-hour observation campaign simultaneously conducted by 35 radioastronomy observatories, in order get redefined, global and extremely precise space map.

(More info in French here and here in English)

2 - Imposing rules to an evolving phenomenon is at best a waste of time, at worst an incredible waste of time.

I'm not comfortable with the emerging trend that accompanies emerging social tools: declare and impose rules and code of acceptable (and non-acceptable) behaviors.

Very not comfortable with that. Going this way is missing the point of what social media is about.

Social media are new channels for individuals, allowing real-time one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-one exchanges vs. the asynchronous tools we had so far (email, "static" websites...). We shouldn't expect the former behaviors of asynchronous tools to duplicate with social media.

My feeling is it'll settle accordingly to the way each of us behave in real life: by field of interest, by geography, by gender, by music preference, by family... and if you don't actually go naked to fill in the tank of your car in real life, I doubt you'll pose in the nude on your Facebook page. And even though I deeply regret it, deviant behaviors will exist on social media the way they do in real life.

To wrap-up with my inital RT that allows such (great) discussion, let me tell you:
If my boss / company/ RH people / recruitment company (past, present and future) solely base their perception of my value as a professional on comments or pics I would have broadcast on my Facebook pages / Twitter / LinkedIn... then at least they'd get a comprehensive picture :-)

(popart pic from: http://popartmachine.com/machine/daily/092208/Lichtenstein-style-pop-art/Woman-Whispering-to-Man-pop-art.jpg)


What if good enough was actually enough?

I went lately to one of Eric Ries's leanstartup seminar, in Paris.

Very inspiring and thoughtful as expected. Some of it reminded me of Balzac's "The Unknown Masterpiece": an artist, never satisfied with what he considers his life's masterpiece, keeps on amending it during years. When half mad he finally shows it to a friend, the poor fellow has to face the lamest doodle ever.

The Unknown masterpiece is amongst the most famous novel challenging the sense and the meaning of Arts.

Now, transpose it to IT. Especially to innovative IT. You know, those products and services that have and will undoubtedly change the way we work, the way we communicate, our relationship to others etc.

- Craiglist: the most popular online classified ad site in the US ? The poorest UI and functionnalities we've ever seen = 20 million people visit the site each month, viewing and self-publishing more than 17 million ads and forum posts (check this Wired story)

- Twitter: a limited number of caracters to tell everyone non-sense all day long =
and the list goes on like that.

Now I've been recently talking to a bunch of startup-ers and, as so funnily illustrated by Ries, they're all of them more or less stuck with existential issues of the kind:
- my product/service isn't ready - I must add features
- I have to delay the launch
- How can I raise interest (not mentioning money) with semi-finished product?
- I need 10 extra genius-developers to finish it

Basically those guys are changing the way we will buy on the Internet, travel, manage our inbox, manage and animate our community, and obvisouly invent a new way for us to do so.

How on earth could the know how we - users- will react to it?

Well they can't.

Ries best advice remain: try, fail, ask your users, correct, try again...

As one of those happy "early adopters" of those new services I'd love to say:
1 - Don't forget that we -the users - have, first of all, to understand your product
2 - Need support to use them
3 - would love to exchange with you on our experience
4- would then, and only then, love to have more features :-)