Thursday, August 20, 2009

Throughput and New Media

Welcome guest blogger and Media Theorist, Seth D Brown. Throughput issues in New Media Throughput and New Media Recently in talking to independent small business owners, I've found that many are unsure how to use new media to their advantage. By 'new media' I mean the social networking services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and the many derivatives thereof, as well as Twitter and to a lesser degree FriendFeed; also lets include the website/blog as it stands in its current state. Let's take a trip up to the mezzanine level above the lobby to look at these services in a more abstract way. We have:
  • Deep content inherently networked (LinkedIn, Facebook, et al)
  • Short content inherently real time (Twitter, AIM, Skype, SMS, et al)
  • Deep content inherently additive and inherently static compared to the other two (Website/Blog)
Don't concern yourself with names of the services or the minor differences in how they operate. Don't make a distinction between MySpace and Facebook, they are for our purposes, more or less the same. Our goal of course, is more throughput for our efforts and reducing the 'chicken-with-the-head-cut-off' feeling of running around from service to service trying to spread the word about your business. Its important that we focus on core principles to be most effective and efficient with our time. From a broad perspective, we have services that allow us to attract attention from potential clients and we have services that allow those potential clients to learn more about us, and learn more about our product or service in depth. A major loss of throughput is data entry and relearning new services. Lets not do double-duty on deep content. (What a mess that makes!) Go out and get yourself a third party application that updates Facebook and your blog or website at the same time. Don't want a blog? You don't need one, just use LinkedIn and Facebook for your deep content, get really good at using their tools to express your ideas. Importantly, choose one or the other, or use third party tools to replicate information, don't wear yourself thin with data entry. Now, lets turn to the ever-so-addicting Twitter service, and lets go up to the mezzanine level where Twitter, AIM, SMS text messages, and Skype chats look mostly the same: short messages exchanged in real time. This is where things start to get interesting. You could spend all day long promoting your product or service in these formats and still get diminishing returns. Remember your competitors are doing the same thing. This is the first mistake, promoting your product or service, and not promoting yourself. These spaces are used most effectively as intimate conversation spaces and not as large reverb chambers where you echo the same message all day long. I know that I will choose a service, or pay more for a service if I feel comfortable with the proprietor, or more simply, if I like them. If you live in a city you may have a preferred convenience store that is a block further than another store, but you will take the longer walk to share 5 minutes of conversation with the owner or clerk. If you live in the country you may pay more for your lawncare service because you feel comfortable talking to the owner and workers. This is where short messages in realtime become your greatest asset. Follow your passions, not your profits and you will be rewarded with both. Have you ever heard someone say, 'I heard this great tip from a guy on the golf course' or 'A guy at the bar told me about this new restaurant'? Conversations are built on common ground and listening. When you use short message services, talk about yourself. Talk about the new coffee machine you have in the office, or the miles per gallon of your car. It doesn't matter what you are talking about as long as you are being honest and being yourself. I enjoy conversations with interesting people who are passionate about their lives. Most of my business life overlaps with my personal life despite my efforts to keep them separate. Guess what?, its all life. And, the new media is catching up to who we are, people, plain ordinary people living our lives. I will follow-up on a person in Twitter if I feel that we have something in common. Then I'll check their website or their LinkedIn or Facebook profile. If I find a quality product or service, I will recommend it to friends. I'll take the time out to promote that product or service for the proprietor for no other reason than the fact that I like that person. Stop wearing yourself thin. Start being who you are. Get your deep content right and walk away. Start meeting people and start listening, start finding common ground, and you will find more throughput. Seth D Brown (c)Copyright 2009, Seth D Brown. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.
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