Showing posts with label Steven E. Streight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Steven E. Streight. Show all posts

Monday, September 3

Staking Claims: Social Media Borg


The most humorous aspect of staking claims in social media recently came to me from a post made by Jeremy Langhans at RecruitingBlogs.com. It was a sum up of a Pete Cashmore quip about Facebook.

“In light of recent controversies over who exactly invented Facebook, I think now is the time to come clean: I did. Not Mark Zuckerberg, not the ConnectU folks and certainly not the latest claimant to the idea: Aaron Greenspan … I was considering a way to include high school or college photographs in a printed book, and came up with a concept I called Faces Book.”

I saw it again at Geoff Livingston’s Now Is Gone blog as Steven E. Streight attempted to set our discussion — when flogs might work and when they might not — straight. The statements rang loudly, perhaps with a hint of seriousness.

“The core values of blogging, as set by the early bloggers from 1992 to 2004, include Transparency, Authenticity, Passion, Integrity … CEOs and others can have pro writers polish up their blog posts, or suggest topics, even write a few sample posts to get them going … The peer to peer recommendation system of the Trust Web will fall apart when fake blogs, phony Twitter accounts, and PayPerPost type blog whoring invade our realm.”

In other words, sorry but that ground was covered. Please refer to the social media rulebook that it is littered about the Internet in random posts and discussions and cite the appropriate sources.

WARNING. New discussion is futile. You must assimilate.

And yet again by Shel Holtz when he shared his bad pitch experience. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty awful pitch from the Washington D.C.-based Adfero Group. It began “I wanted to let you know about an innovative new PR tactic that the readers of the “Shel Holz” blog might find interesting.” (Their misspelling, not mine.)

But then, even Holtz digresses a bit into borg speak while discussing what the Adfero Group calls a new PR tactic: “Funny. That sounds just like the social media press release format I’ve been touting for, what, a year? The same concept that has a home on the web and a working group. It was introduced by SHIFT Communications well over a year ago in response to an appeal by journalist Tom Foremski.”

Yeah, I remember that. I called it a buffet template, meaning no offense to Todd Defren. As I pointed out then, at least Defren had the good sense to do something when everyone else was dragging their respective professional heels. But back then, credit was less important than building upon the social media framework so more people would take it seriously. But now that we have established social media as viable communication tool, and some newcomers are starting to make their own paths, times have changed. Didn’t you get the memo?

WARNING. New tactics are futile. You must assimilate.

Humility. That is one term that the early adapters forget to include in the core values drafted in 1992 to 2004. As professional communicators or others shaping social media, we might remember that much of our early work will go unnoticed by the greater body of people who will eventually employ it in some fashion.

What do I mean? Well, as much as Holtz seemed to chastise the Adfero Group for not knowing the history of social media before making wild claims (and they were wild), nowhere on Holtz’s blog will you find any reference to Jorn Barger or Brian Redman, who were among the earliest bloggers.

For that matter, maybe I should lay some early claim too. I had a daily news update in the 1990s to augment a bi-monthly print and online publication. Does that count too? Technically speaking, minus comments, it was a blog. Or maybe my regular forum postings on AOL before that, as AOL was one of the first social networks (despite everyone claiming social networks are somehow new). No, I'm not that presumptuous. Besides, I have better ideas to hang my hat on.

Funny. There always seems to be predecessors to the predecessors and we all might be well served to remember that. In fact, sometimes similar ideas come from different places with the originator having no knowledge of what the others might be doing. Sometimes they are borrowed upon and made better. Sometimes borrowers give credit. Sometimes they do not. Sometimes they don't even know to do it.

Usually, but not always, the only reason early concepts are stolen away is because the original idea didn’t stick well enough to hold. But that’s the price of progress. I’m so sorry, but nobody really owns social media or the concepts that are being tried and tested here. Much like some caveman’s family isn’t getting paid royalties for the invention and application of the wheel.

To be clear, I’m not against Zuckerberg, Greenspan, Streight, or Holtz reminding us that little pieces of this and that were developed by others first. That’s admirable.

What I am less comfortable with is beating down new ideas and discussions for want of territorial superiority and forced assimilation. When the collective starts doing that, maybe it's time to remember that there is a whole big world out there beyond the insulated cube one can create online. Or, in other words, social media experts invited the world to participate; don't be disappointed if they accept the invitation as explorers and not as loyal subjects.

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