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On the Edge – Part 6 – the purposeful control of your Information.

April 25, 2016 Leave a comment

 

When the internet was launched and Social Media was born I immediately thought here is a way for everyone to be equal, for all to be heard, but mainly for everyone point of view to have a forum.

It promised the free flow of information … the availability of different perspectives!

Social Media, like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and others for instance become a self affirming bubble of our beliefs … which instead of the wonderful optimism at the beginning seems to have the opposite effect .. which widens the gap between different and sometimes opposing points of view .. basically because the views we receive ar not balanced, we do not hear the other side perspective taken into account …. at least this was the good part of Old media from once credible broadcasters .. Mass Media … you all got the same information, albeit through the sometime political perspectives of the provider … then we interpreted that information through our beliefs.

Politics and the Internet – once the internet was a place where one could achieve clarity – now we are back to the wild west as Trolls, Government surveillance operating and participating within social media for goodness knows what reason .. but knowing Government agencies and their machiavellian thought processes .. it can’t be good,

We have news in its various forms around since the beginning, from the Town Cryers of old England to the printing press …. but in a way there was always someone determining what news we would have access to … in Old Media … which includes newspapers, magazines, Film, Politicians … someone, usually the editor made the assessment then for the whole community, society of country … this is News and this is not. This was usually a person.

Current mass media still continues the editing role, deciding what news is relevant … (I mean sensational .. that brings ratings) and therefore money … I have spoken about the ownership and advertising impact of the neutrality of media previously.

The difference between serious responsible journalism and infotainment … is that every mean, stupid, vicious act now gets a light shone on it … is that why we think the world is a darker place?

The media has become a vehicle for manipulation, vested interests, propaganda as well as religious extremism and terrorism, as what Terrorists seek is exposure … to push their own ideology … a terrorist act without sensational publicity has little impact of making people afraid.

All religions and purveyors of ideologies have used the name of God to inflict maximum harm against innocent people to promote their own political ideals – the media just focuses us … sensationalises it … remember the occasion where the media walked through a alleged terrorists house .. before the Police arrived is total irresponsibility and would have harmed the hunt for clues irrevocably … but the media was after a story … they are after the ratings, the exposure .. the acclaim … money …that is the problem

There are many negatives of algorithmic tailored news #NotBalancedNews

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Facebook … the long term survival & Viability

May 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Change is inevitable, survival is optional

I think that is a truism, and seems to be ignored, is that nothing is permanent, we are constantly in a change cycle … the old generally gives away to the new … few companies from my youth still exist … companies such as IBM and GE come to mind, will the modern day companies be adaptable to change as these companies?

I wonder about FaceBook, from my point of view I have never understood the hype … for me it is essentially a modern day bulletin board … never believed how it could make the sort of income numbers the “industry sages” tell us it should, and with the recent Morgan Stanley fiasco over future income and hence profitability … there seems to be a dawning of this realisation.

I cannot see it blooming … if anything it will essentially stay stable, more likely contract from an income point of view.

It seems with the move of Ford out of Facebook advertising they may be one of the first to see the writing on the wall … at the end of the day .. advertising has to deliver … the money spent always comes back to results …

Over the next little while I will also look at other companies who are currently flavour of the month … next up will be Twitter.

Marketing, Relationships and Social Media

January 3, 2012 1 comment

I am either going to post a series here on Marketing and Social Media or write a book or perhaps both.

We need to address some basic questions first, very superficially and briefly here.

Social Media is a disruptive concept, it is essentially an engaged interactive relationship, or it should be, as well it is a Marketing and Relationship creator, nurturer and building tool, all to add to the perception of your brand.

In Marketing, you need to define exactly, what is the market for your specific product or service, then you as the provider, the seller, create and build the relationship, which generally works by providing content that engages with your market. All of this work and content, is to build a relationship, a separate entity so to speak, which is feed and nurtured by both sides, in the case of the company, at some time, a option will be provided to further build the brand relationship and give the customer the option to leverage or in fact contribute to the relationship by perhaps engaging with the Companies content, quizzes for example, this has the effect of deepening the relationship.

Note this is important: Social Media is not a direct Sales Path

1. What is the function of the Internet?

Simplistically, lets start by looking at what the Internet is good at, besides the obvious world wide connectivity issues … access to almost any type of information at any time (with some of it actually true) and the ability to allow for quick and easy access to all sorts of information, and the ability to connect with people, products and services worldwide. One thing though, the internet is just an communication platform, an enabler if you like. It facilitates spontaneous and interactive communication in real time.

Primarily where the internet has come into its own, is in its ability to form communities … and allow for the connection of family, friends, interest groups and commerce, to in fact act as the global replacement for the town square, the meeting point, the notice board, the coffee shop, where people can easily connect for a wide variety of reasons, such as to stay in contact with as well as to develop and maintain relationships with family, friends, special items of interest, education, news and their community just for brief example.

2. What is Social Media ?

Firstly, Social Media is a truly disruptive concept, which can markedly change how you company is viewed and interacted with in your area, or globally, depending on your footprint.

Social Media allows using the infrastructure of the internet the potential to build a relationship, which will allow (if properly setup) for social communications between at least two parties in a commercial sense. It allows for the exchange of ideas, ideologies and user generated content of a a huge number of diverse types and interests. In simple terms it provides the technology which can allow the parties to create, nurture and build a relationship, in human terms.

Very few organizations have any idea what they are doing!. The other day I was speaking to a friend of mine and he said to me … Organizations try to use Social Media as a sales path, which it isn’t, as well Social Media’s main function from a business point of view is to allow the formation and maintenance of relationships, by providing the information, tools and engaging content to build credibility, as part of the fostering the brand relationship and by this, support a relationship between the two parties. At some point, it may be possible to leverage the relationship at the choice of the customer, by requesting involvement from the customer is some form, while still investing in the relationship

Too often, for organizations Social Media is used to try and close a sale, customers on the other hand want a relationship, so this is what is wrong with most people involved with Social Media, they try to close, this is flawed, but similar with many other types of ego driven entitled relationships from adolescent boys onwards.

There is a huge amount of content to cover here .. these are some of the items that I will need to look at..

  • What Social Media is, and what social media isn’t
  • All business is relationship driven
  • How to heal the disconnect between companies and their customers
  • Engagement Strategies
  • The disconnect between Companies and customers
  • The de-personalisation of the customers, and the flawed paradigm that underlines the MBA programs
  • Customers want a relationship, they want to be valued, they want their voice to be heard, it you don’t .. your company will appear only in the history books
  • I know it is an old adage, but you really want to give a customer what they want .. if you want your company to grow and survive.
  • Listen and consult with your customers in anything that will change the customers experience of your product or service.
  • Social Media Platforms such as Twitter & FaceBook, their strengths a weaknesses
  • Klout and PeerIndex .. why are they needed, what function do they fill
  • The Social Media relationship paradigm +++++++

One thing you must remember however, is to ask yourself the question, why is so much of the Internet and Social Media free ?  The answer is simple, because you are the product that these platforms are leveraging, at the end of the day, they care only about how you can help them, they have little regard for you as a individual or the safety of your information, they will use and leverage your presence and your information is anyway they can to legal and otherwise for their own benefit … so beware.

In my view this kind of attitude is the very antithesis of what Social Media is … but there is an underlying mismatch between management styles here, as although the market segment they are working in is Social Media, they bring all the baggage from worst parts of old media and old business to this new sector, this is why it doesn’t mix well.

My view is that those companies, including legacy companies from the transport and communications sector that do not change the way they relate to the customers will by the end of the decade be found only in history books.

How to build influence without seeming to

November 4, 2011 2 comments

I have watched with interest how organisations that operate in the Social Media sector .. and I have some observations about how to define your strategy

Lets start with the function of Social Media ….

Social Media is not a direct influence or sales path …. it is a tool to build a contact .. to build a relationship and ultimately to add to an experience of your brand from which you can then leverage, while you continue to add value to the overall experience.

Social Media is the Internet’s replacement in this insular world for your sphere of influence … your community, your friends, and those organisations that you are interested in engaging with.

Social Media has been hyped up to the point where people are living their life in this cyber space instead of the real world … please take note … Social Media is not your life, and the most important people in your life, are not on Twitter!, well they shouldn’t be (if they are, it’s something to think about) – professionally speaking I believe many mature bricks and mortar organisations would be more successful especially on Facebook if they de-activated their account – their strategy is all one sided, and is all about providing the information that they believe is important – which is not how you build a relationship .. One thing, numbers of Facebook does not means that they are actually listening to you … but on Twitter … I believe they are more engaged and therefore interested and note, the un-follow button on Twitter is a heart beat away.

In the early days, very early days on Twitter, on another account I did an experiment with that exact scenario .. and then changed the nature of the feed .. the response was immediate … that feed lost a large number of followers .. and note people remember … that … if you don’t value them .. well enough said

Now lets look at how to build influence

It is built by engagement and valuing the people you connect with, but you MUST speak with your own voice and from your own values …. if you do not offer up something of yourself then what makes you different than the thousands of voices of the Internet .. that say .. buy this .. do this .. see here … your strategy must be to enhance the experience of your followers … their world expands, perhaps made somehow brighter by following you on Twitter or any other Social Media channel, in other words you provide something they want in their life.

I have seen worthy organisations who are so focused on getting their message across, without seeing the other side of the picture …. you need to involve people in your world on a more personal basis or should I say your persona …. which on the Internet is not the same thing .. well it shouldn’t be. Also if you are speaking as the voice of a organisation, you need to follow strict protocols of how you engage … what you say .. and how you say it … bring your personal views of what they did, or how they have treated you is counter-productive and will lose you followers.

There are specific processes and strategies to interest, to engage, involve the customer / follower, to retain them and use that connection as a leverage to a wider audience … but so many are missing the mark here …. to start look at your own interests and those sites you follow and ask yourself, why am I interested in this information, and how do they retain my interest and how do they interest me enough, that I want to re-tweeted my message to my followers … this is a critical point … to a large extent I choose the people I follow and likewise unless I believe the overall experience of my feed will be enhanced and will add something to my message … I will not engage … so I this is how I value them by not devaluing our relationship –  and therefore I will only re-tweet a message and content that I can relate to … and I believe my “friends” for want of a better world will find of value …. basically because I do.

At the end of the day … you need to remember on thing .. this is Social Media … it is not a one way passive “relationship” as in Mass Media, it is or at least it should be a engaged interactive relationship, that value and engage with your people … to build a joint experience, and note joint means together …. do not make the mistake of seeing your followers as a means to an end .. as the equivalent of email fodder … value them, respect them and you will succeed … don’t .. well we know what happens if you don’t.

MPAA and Film / TV Content Production and Distribution – the next 6-10 years

March 18, 2011 2 comments

My experience is in content production, distribution, Broadcasting & electronic Media.

Just doing some more research on the current “issue” or alleged issue of Piracy for the motion picture industry, which is primarily represented in the USA by the Trade Organisation the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America, http://www.mpaa.org).

Now until recently I was aware of the issue, but not of the financial details, now I am actually wondering if there even is a real issue, with the effect of the Global Economic Crisis being seemingly felt across every market segment imaginable, except the motion picture industry, which has according to their own figures had a 15% domestic increase and an International increase of 30% over the years between 2006 and 2010 … wow ! This despite the fact that the number of actual releases in theaters increased just 10.1%.

The price of the admission ticket, rose by 39.4% from 2001– 2010 and yet the cumulative cost of the CPI rose just 27.95% …. ?

OK all that aside …. the rise in the income 2008 –  2009 for theater sales can be expected, as if we go back to the depression, even in harsh economic times (because of the times in fact) the industry has been pretty much recession proof.  The major demographics for the audience goes from 12 to 39 year olds, it is a very niche audience which in these harsher than normal economic times seem to be the only ones that actually have any access to disposable income.

I could go on and on .. however the point is essentially this …. Yes there is a problem with Pirating ( a small one ), but it is not serious, how can it be when year on year the income from sales of theatrical releases has increased far in excess of the CPI … the figures for loss of income presented by the MPAA are not believable.

The following from the immediate past interim CEO, of the MPAA, Mr. Bob Pisano is basically unsubstantiated rhetoric, more commonly known as spin, how can there be a serious problem with over time the income to the industry has increased 30% … such statements as “We will continue to work with our industry partners to fight for common sense ways, through legislative, enforcement and legal avenues, to vigilantly protect the creativity at the heart of our industry from theft.” These kind of statements are making the industry look ridiculous, as well the U.S. Supreme court did rule that just copying did not constitute theft.

I do not agree with piracy, however, this mis-information, is on going and has not be substantiated, they are beat ups by what is essential a trade organisation with a big voice – these statements are not showing the industry in its best light … there are many other industries that employ far more people and families in the USA and worldwide … that actually are in serious and dire straits .. because they don’t have access to the Hollywood Media their voice is lost.  Many families on main street, also have no disposable income to currently invest in any sort of recreation, except free to air TV and maybe cable … remember cable, content on demand and it new variances will be the ever increasing choice for the distribution of content to the wider market.

There are a few issues that the MPAA and the industry in general needs to address… urgently

The price of tickets is not sustainable, bearing in mind that on top of these are the travel, parking, food etc .. taking your children is not the escape it used to be … I took my son to see Avatar at the local cinema and it cost one adult and one child over $40, not including parking, vehicle .. drinks etc…

The lack of growth is also a social one, and manifests as a result of the niche interests of the population, in their online lives – there will come a time, and it is not that far away where people will not go to the movies in anywhere near the same numbers, it is trending down in real terms and will continue to, for lots of reasons, some social, some concerning access, transport and financial to name just some, hopefully before then the studios will have come up with a way to reach people directly via Video Streaming in their lounge rooms, using the dreaded internet … this is here now – so change your business model or else basically … you have less than 5 years, probably less.  I wrote about the effects of technology on the film industry over 12 months ago, and it seems very much to be following the path and the time frame suggested then … in Australia with the NBN (National Broadband Network) this is supposedly designed to provide fibre access with data speeds from 100Mbps to 1 Gbps … this will have a major effect on  the access to On demand services including rich and video media content in Australia.

The Film industry, as with Television needs to start to make relevant stories that people will in the short term at least want to invest money in to go and see … perhaps the new business model is to make low budget movies that are truly an escape from the current meltdown and the huge pressures on families just to get by … but hopefully not too many more regurgitated sequels !!! – mind you that would not be too bad .. if they had a good story, as one can forgive just about anything if the writer and the Directors are at the top of their game –  unfortunately that is not the norm.

Also I have been saying this forever, content distribution is inseparable from content production … if you have funds you need to have been or will be investing in infrastructure for program distribution. The future will not be in venues as it is now, if you don’t now make these strategic investments or at least strategic partnerships, the future is going to be a difficult place as you are going to be a poor position at the bargaining table when it comes time to negotiation in 3–6 years …. because then you will have no distribution infrastructure that you influence, control or own.

Future distribution will not be by a Bricks and Mortar Theatrical release, ultimately the distribution will be in the form of data perhaps via a Peer to Peer network such as a Bit Torrent data stream, as explained in a previous article here  … think outside the box people .  Further the expansion of major releases will become a rarity, not the norm, and hopefully Hollywood will actually become a mature business instead of what it appears to be at the moment, an ego driven teenager with entitlement issues.

The uptake of new movies will have to have relevance to the actual market, talk to them, the real users, use the internet, that is its strength, where relationships and communities are the norm, not the exception .. also personally I am pretty tired of the predictability of the content coming out of Hollywood .. what about an original story please – also how about appealing to some level of standard and not the lowest common denominator.

To expand on the above via a personal observation, there are some unique and profoundly creative talents in the film industry, starting with unique writers that are true story tellers, their connection with the viewers illicit profound emotive responses, exceptional Directors with intuitive timing and insight, fantastic Cinematographers, gifted actors and support staff … with so much raw talent to draw from why is it so hard to put it all into an exceptional film that does not necessarily follow the prescribed formula … but that creates a real connection, and is not just some faded copy of a something that was once a profound original work.

Mainstream mass media including film, is normally a passive experience (except in the case of that true creative work), this mass media model also includes Newspapers, Radio, Cable / Satellite and terrestrial TV …. there is normally little to no  interaction with the viewer, that is not where we are going, the future will trend …. in the longer term your content will need to illicit a emotive response, or if you cannot create a masterpiece then at the very least, interactive ….ultimately the technology and the data speeds will materialize to make this a reality … unfortunately, the current trends for content is that it will come out of virtual sets, and actors as we understand them now may be a thing of the past, computer generation will be much more prevalent than it is even now.

Concerning the future distribution model, basically the Telco’s that currently own the fiber, need content just as much a you will need their fibre for distribution, however I guess if there is no successful negotiation, between you, then I guess content of the ilk of “I love Lucy” and “A Wonderful life” will be the only content … for distribution … funny that.

I realise that if I was again actively involved with the industry, that is back in the club, after a while, perhaps as little as three years, this type of objective perspective would be nearly impossible for me to create, as unfortunately those in the industry have an total inability to be objective and relate to their viewers, their users .. they are too busy doing, but doing what actually ? However a revelation will be forced upon the industry sooner or later, as they clearly don’t get it … change is here, recognise it, or suffer the inevitable changes that will be forced upon you, which you won’t like so much – it’s like I say “Change is the only constant, how we experience it, is up to us” ….

Here  is the link to the Actual financial report of the MPAA, the MPAA Theatrical Report 2010 PDF ….

Is Bit Torrent really a threat for Old Media ?

March 16, 2011 3 comments

Whilst on the surface the Bit torrent application using Peer to Peer technology has the capacity to do harm , again I look at the response to this in a productive viewpoint, how can the studios benefit from this obvious market potential …

For software applications, it is only a threat if the license key operates with the software –  this comes back to the software providers own encryption and licensing software system.

For Video, it is obvious, from the numbers of users, it is well proven point that there is a market for TV shows and Movies … this can be shown by the number of Torrent participants in the data stream … why isn’t it an option to pursue, that the content producers offer a legal stream of product, such as the Australian ABC does when product is broadcast within Australia, OK it is downgraded and in Mp4 Video format, but for those who have missed the show, or want to keep it for their amusement, what is the harm ? – it is a domestic only quality. Alternatively I can view the content in high quality using the i-View program replay service … for a limited time ?  Excellent interactive relationship for a transparent relationship with your customer.

For those outside of the studios primary market, which is primarily that of the continental USA, it is impossible to gain access to the content legally –  due to the Networks own licensing restrictions, people outside the studio zone, cannot view the product on-line … so the Bit torrent Software was born and is used as a response to this limitation. I am speaking primarily here of TV programs, the software allows someone to upload a program that was in the Public Domain, as it has been broadcast, so they can viewed in another geographic zone … In Australia none of the Video Streaming services allow access to the content for users in Australia, due to licensing issues, why is this ? Surely if I was subscribing to a US content provider –  streaming content, my own internet id (Geo location) would identify what geographic zone I was in, and thus my licensing region, and thus the content licensee for this zone … in my view the money I pay for access could be quite easily sent to the applicable country license holder for a particular content, by the i/p address as a subscriber … you guys need to start thinking outside of the box, and there is a substantial  increase in income that will flow once you do something so simple, for no appreciable increase in costs, as well as the increase in net due to increases in good will and lack of a confrontation relationship and the lack of a divisive enforcement arm – which lacks any credibility.

Stripping of a DVD to obtain the Video Stream is something that is another kettle of fish all together, as it was a licensed program, for one viewer only (household) –  I can see the harm here, all though it is no way to take as credible the loss of income the studio pundits claim, you cannot view the numbers and directly equate them to lost profits. However I do not agree with the commercial use of the Bit Torrent service where people pirate these streams to produce pirate copies to DVD’s …. however from the research I have undertaken, talking to users past and present, for a single user .. I have been told by many people I have spoken to actually go onto to buy legitimate licensed products, using the downloaded product as a trial if you like.

The content creators themselves have used the Bit Torrent facility, in the recent past and continue to do so. Recently there was the much heralded release of almost the final installment of a major franchise – (one more to go) … a program full topped and tailed (a teaser .. less than 40 minutes long) was released onto the Bit torrent before the theatrical release date … I have written about this as a use by the studios, when it suited them as a “legitimate marketing channel”, they used the Bit torrent facility, that obviously created interest and did make a positive difference at the box office.

However, by creating scarcity, the studios, the content creators / providers have created a secondary market that is so substantial –  what is their response, instead of being constructive and transparent, and working with the internet, to provide a access channel to provide access to this content, they go to these facilitator organisations that further exacerbate the situation, they troll the internet for alleged offenders. I have been so informed that the content providers / studios supposedly farm out their enforcement to self styled cowboys who I have been told send out unsubstantiated claims of infringement … for which they have no way of gaining anything positive from, except that it creates distance between the two parties and a them and us mentality. Nothing will be resolved … hopefully though, we are looking for a solution here … right ?

Surely if the studios, created a way whereby people could legitimately download a copy of the content, a downgraded quality for free or via something like an i-store or similar content provider at a reasonable cost of say $1 per TV episode (bear in mind there is no medium and the user pays for the data downloaded), the problem would essentially evaporate ….. or provide a encryption licensed video feed on something like a i-View format file, to provide the content …. or invest in a new Video file format that could not be hacked with a one user only encryption key.

Further to these claims of loss that is put forward by the license holders and their cowboys, this is substantially a fallacy, as it looks at the numbers of downloads and equates them to sold product at a sell price, this is such manipulation, as those downloads will not transfer to income unless the studio actually puts a 21st century procedure in to capitalise on this … if those that are seeking content could legitimately source product from the studios, free for a lower quality downloaded copy of pay for it at a reasonable price for a quality product then I believe the problem, much of these I am a victim mentality the content providers, particularly the spin the TV studios are pushing, is substantially a beat up and the problem would essentially evaporate.

If we view the actual financial performance of studio licensing, in context of the United States Balance of payments for 2008, 2009 and now in 2010 –  you can see increases in licensing income for overseas content sales which has increased over these years.

Incidentally there is only one major TV network in the USA that gets it … and coincidentally only one in Australia … that is making an attempt to provide access .. unfortunately the worst network is someone who should know better and I thought that they did

I wrote about this and other aspects of the affect of the internet on Old Media models in a white paper as far back as 2008 … with different ways to re-structure their business models even then, it is obvious that no one is yet ready to see a solution here and start thinking outside of the box now or then.

My view of the Internet and Older business models, is a couple of things, (1) The internet user demands a different relationship with content providers & (2) Use the internet to form communities, and build a sustainable interactive relationship – this is its strength (3) Please think outside the box … you cannot win this – make some money by approaching it another way … and what you can do best, that is to produce excellent content .

My advice to the studios, capitalise on the opportunity …. focus on your craft instead of sending all your profits to the lawyers.

Customer /Reader Engagement – Twitter

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

What is the essence of Social Media Communications ?  There is a wide gap in the understanding about the use of these channels for communication, such as Email, Twitter, RSS or even a properly constructed (from a communications work flow viewpoint) website. Communications in whatever form needs to be carried out respectfully and inclusively, rather than the norm, which is to use these subscribed people as the equivalent of Email fodder –  no wonder it has been said that over 90% of people opt-out .. me included.

Why is it so hard,all forms of communications are a conversation, and to foster and nurture that connection the tone has to be informative, respectful  and inclusive. There very few organisations that do it well. So for the understanding of the majority of Corporate and other “bricks and mortar” organisations .. including News Corporation and many other old media icons –  please take note.

“Communications with direct stakeholders as well as the wider community, which includes your customers –  via Website, Email, Twitter and even Facebook should not be seen as a cost of doing business …. it is your business …. if you are not here to communicate in a transparent fashion to build the relationship, then what in heavens name are you here for ? “  If you do not nurture the relationship with a view to engaging with your “subscribers”, your stakeholders, you will end up out of business.

Stop for heavens sake playing lip service to the idea of “Social Media” it so pains me to see otherwise credible companies, doing it so badly.

Let’s go back to basis … and start with Twitter

According to Twitter … Twitter allows you to answer the question, “What are you doing”

However Twitter is also a incredibly powerful tool which is capable of reaching out to thousands, even millions of people near instantly.

For me, the primary function of Twitter is to establish and build a relationship with your subscribers, your customers, your stakeholders, those people who have decided to engage with you.  This is by and large for the larger population, an emotional connection, where the unfollow button is a click away, mind you even that, because of the near instantaneous nature of Twitter, is a response ( a poll if you like) to what you have done –  in this case – the next problem is trying to re-engage – which may then be impossible.

It is used (badly) by many Governments, corporations (old media who should know better), organisations and politicians ( the ultimate self interest group ). However when properly used, it can engage with its readers with relevant content which will build up credibility with the readers for the Twitter content provider, grow relationships, engender interest, gauge or influence opinions, increase excitement concerning a new product launch (news or website product or service), a special event, an election.

Twitter because of its format, does have a multitude (limited only by our imagination) of uses, for example the latest trouble in Egypt, to provide immediate news on the street, as well the first pictures from the downed Flight 1549, which crashed into the Hudson were taken and then uploaded to Twitpic and sent out using Twitter, it is a  immediate communication tool.

My personal view, is that so far, it is the ultimate way to facilitate social interaction –  to understand the views of their engaged (somewhat) readers, allows feedback, basic polling, product ideas .. and opinion,  the ultimate way to draw on the social intelligence. A way to answer or ask the question that is your hearts desire, all within 140 characters.

Use it responsibly to covey snapshots of relevant information. If you include a well worded intro or description, they may engage, (even going viral, by multiple re-tweets) but that is the essence of the difference between Email and twitter, the engagement or commitment of the reader.

Next time …. we will look at Email ….

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