It’s been two years since Twitter first started out as an “I’m eating cereal” micro blog and the winner of the SXSW Web Award.
In 2009, the benefits of social media platforms and tools have moved from trivial to critical when it comes to marketing, business development, sales and customer service strategies for both corporations and small businesses alike.
This morning at the Day Stage, Alan Moore, the author of “Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day” spent an hour presenting the key points of what’s contained in his book, which takes a beginner through the paces of social media marketing over a three-month period.
As the first seminar of the day, it was great to start with practical, basic and logical information that is useful, even for those that were already familiar with the aspects of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et tal. Moore started out by pointing out that while technology is often seen as anti-social, robotic even, the success of innovation is tightly woven into human need and providing value to society. Without it, Guttenburg’s printing press would have ended up “in the back of his garage.”
Moore mirrors social media evangelists in the belief that this way of online communication in bringing people together, versus the outsider belief that it has tried to replace face-to-face interaction—“people embrace what they create.” And when they create relationships online, whether personal or professional, the convenience of 24/7 communication opens a door of opportunity for them to stay in touch, converse and collaborate in ways not possible prior to the social media platform.
Moore’s book and emphasis of this presentation was on the networking aspect of social media, the use of those sexy algorithms that are often used to woo women at cocktail parties. Basically, you need to know not only how to calculate your ROI with his marketing tool as much as you do with your online advertising and PPC campaigns.
A term first used by a writer for AdAge, “data with destiny” is used to reference the behavior within 3D profiles, or all dimensions of our digital footprint. It’s the next step in analyzing the metrics within the blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn activity and marketing dollars.
This includes CPRA, or Cost Per Relevant Audience, which differs from what may be monitored currently within previous online campaigns such as CPC. The data will enable us to learn from those that are engaged in our social networks by their activity or lack thereof, use the one-to-one / one-to-many model to expand our network, messaging and opportunities for customer-centric relationship building, and take advantage of the expanding net of social networks that go far beyond just Facebook or Twitter, as more focused, interest-based social networks are born.
Next was a timely panel, “Can Social Media End Racism?” In an era where social media is being used to campaign for the first African American presidential candidate and where news of racist acts can spread around the world within minutes on Twitter, the opportunities to sweep things under the rug are becoming slim.
The panel featured Jay Smooth, “New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI’s Underground Railroad” and the creator of Ill Doctrine, his video blog; Phil Yu Angry Asian Man, an Asian American pop culture and political blog that’s been around for about eight years; Kety Esquivel, the new media manager at National Council of La Raza (NCLR); and Latoya Peterson from Racialicious.com.
The point of the panel wasn’t how “racism 101” but was to present examples of how they’ve used social media to increase awareness of human rights and racial issues, to involve the community in the conversation to promote change, and energize activism in areas all across the country (and internationally).
Esquivel explained how NCLR is using Facebook to support their initiatives and some of her background in advocacy, along with the death threats the organization that were eventually investigated by the FBI. WeCanStoptheHate.org was created as a platform to present awareness and discuss hate crimes against Latinos, including the February 25, 2009 edition of Hannity, where Sean Hannity belatedly lied (surprise, surprise) when he stated that NCLR, “has called for Mexico to annex southwestern states.” This rallied both Latino and those outside the Latino community to speak out online in protest.
For the most part, there was a continual line of comedy mixed into the discussion of a serious matter, which I believe can help one keep clarity and a sense of calm when addressing racial tensions and ignorance. Smooth did it best with his YouTube video, “How to tell people they sound racist.” The emphasis on the “sound” part of what someone said or did that was just plain stupid. Getting them to listen and be open to your observation of their act is divide it into “what they did” versus “what they are.” Meaning, “Dude, what you just said sounded racist,” versus “I think your ass is racist,” because that person can easily derail the conversation and duck out of being responsible for their actions. His example of how this happens is the funny part of the video, because it’s so damn true and we’ve seen it way too many times. So learn up and check it out.
And when you post videos such as this, it sparks conversations within a social online forum, from positive comments “Wonderful – simple, clear, pithy, elegant, and most of all: extremely useful” along with “I hate Spics.”
But then there was Peterson from Racialicious.com who stated that because the majority of people who work at the organization are women, they tend to get a lot of comments that have a “racilized sexism” bend. One that she recalled was, “Obviously this person is so angry because she has a big vagina,” by which Carmen, “That’s why I carry my laptop in it.’ So sometime you find the humor in it.”
Yu who created Angry Asian Man, on the other hand, doesn’t allow comments. I feel this strategy, since in my experience, the majority of people who post comments are bottom feeders. Their posts are weak, ignorant and always misspelled. I avoid them because they do make me angry and recharge thoughts of moving out of this country.
But Yu does get hate mail. And one funny example of the level of racist retardation was someone telling him to, “’Start speaking fucking English.’ Motherfucker! I’ve written the whole [website] in English! So yeah, I get a lot of that.”
Again, really funny but really sad at the same time. Social media unto itself cannot end racism, according to the panelists. But social media and the online advocacy as tools can be used really effectively to build awareness of racism that takes place on our streets, in our communities, on television and radio, and within everyday conversations by getting stories and truth out there to a mass group of people.
They presented three key strategies for using social media to do this. First, spread knowledge: through tools such as podcasts and video, along with blogs that are an informational warehouse. Second, creating a refuge: this is where you created a community where you can share like or new ideas, allowing for conversations to talk about issues that aren’t tied down to Racism 101, which can be both online and offline (i.e. conference calls). Third, mobilizing your base: which can take local issues and empower change to happen nationally.
As social media evolves, the online/offline space can evolve with it to support ownership and the ability to “fight the good fight,” providing hope and empowerment for those running the show now and for the new generations who are breaking the chain of inherited racism.