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What 2012 Holds for Social Media

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We’ve already taken a detailed look at how outsourcing of social media could increase in 2012, but how else is the industry set to change in the coming year? There’s a lot to be expected in 2012, from Facebook’s impending and much-anticipated IPO, to seeing how the Google+ and Facebook rivalry will finally play out.

With the three heavy hitters – Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – taking up most of the social media space, it’s hard to imagine a new company coming into the picture and taking people’s attention away from existing services. Instead, we’ll probably continue to see services that plug into the existing environment, like Flipboard and its many competitors, which have capitalized on how social media has become a tool for the curation of current events and news. While the news aggregator space is overcrowded as it is, other tools may come to the forefront in 2012, capitalizing on social media as a tool to be used in politics, particularly with the US presidential elections on their way, and in education.

At the same time, new networks, like Path, have seen impressive growth rates, and with its focus on the mobile experience, 2012 may have a lot of good things in store for the unexpected service, but will it last? We take a look at these questions and more in the following list of 5 predictions for what 2012 holds for social media.

Continue via What 2012 Holds for Social Media.

Written by Kees Winkel

January 8, 2012 at 10:57

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The social in ‘social media’

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I found this article in The University of Utrecht’s New Media Studies group pages, right here and decided to share it with you.

by: Mirko Tobias Schäfer
Abstract:

The so-called Web 2.0 and social media are enthusiastically embraced as enabling technologies turning alienated couch potatoes into active producers of media content. But what is actually so social about ‘social media’?

A plethora of publications frames web applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and others as ‘social media’ to describe the dynamic interaction and massive participation of large audiences. However, ‘social’ receives here an overly positive connotation, something like ‘nice people are collaborating nicely with each other in order to create nice things.’

Three aspects are remarkable about the popular framing of ‘social media':

a) Claiming that users belong to a community. Drawn from the notion of collective intelligence and peer-based production, the ‘social’ in ‘social media’ receives a positive connotation as a community experience. It is perceived as a social phenomenon rather than a commercial one.
b) Claiming mediated communication equals publishing. The simple use of technology that mediates communication and facilitates interaction is presented the replacement of established media production with user generated content.
c) Claiming that these practices are specific features of the Web 2.0 and distinctive from earlier media practices online.

The commentary on Web 2.0 constitutes a ‘rhetoric of community’, emphasizing aspects of togetherness, equality, collective production and democratic decision making. Turning users into media producers is only one part of the promise the ‘social web’ bears, the other is changing the world for the better through collective efforts facilitated by ‘social media’ (e.g. Leadbeater 2008, Shirky 2010). Social progress is considered as collective effort achieved by simply using advanced technologies properly.

In his programmatic text We think. The power of mass-creativity, Charles Leadbeater dreams of a way to amplify the collective intelligence of the plurality of users who then, in a joint effort, provided technology is used ‘wisely’, could “spread democracy, promote freedom, alleviate inequality and allow us to be creative together, en mass” (2008:6). Through this repetitive positive connotation of ‘social, the ‘social media’ acquired’ a public understanding that goes beyond the original denotation of social interaction and organisation. Actual events of using Web 2.0 applications, such as during the Obama Campaign in 2008 or in response to the Iran elections of 2009 constituted a strong belief in the revolutionary potential of media technology. However, this image is mostly shaped by not telling the entire story and therefore creating media myths.

Web 2.0 platforms or ‘social media’ established themselves successfully as community driven platforms committed to public weal. And while the enthusiastic promoters celebrate their potential to empower passive consumers, entrepreneurs have long realized that the ‘social media’ users are not only yet another audience for advertising, but also a crowd of helping hands in distributing the commercial messages. A plethora of marketing oriented books promises to provide strategies on how to employ social networks for commercial success and how to boost a company’s image by appearing friendlier and more committed to customers communicating through ‘social media’.

Recently some critical voices are pointing out problematic aspects about Web 2.0 platforms (e.g. Lanier 2006 and 2010; Zimmer 2008, Scholz 2008; Petersen 2008; Mueller 2009; Schaefer 2009). Critical perspectives can be divided into three accounts. The free ‘labour account’ draws from post-marxist critique of labour in media consumption (Andrejevic 2002; Terranova 2004; Virno 2004).

The critique aims at the  the unacknowledged implementation of user generated content for commercial ends (e.g. Scholz 2007a, 2007b, 2008; Petersen 2008). A joint effort in revisiting participatory culture as unpaid labour for corporate companies has been initiated by Trebor Scholz on the mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity and a conference with the programmatic title ‘The Internet as Playground and Factory’ (Scholz 2009).

Another branch of critique emphasizes the violation of privacy in online services (e.g. Zimmer 2007, 2008; Fuchs 2009) and the power structures facilitating means of control and regulation (e.g. Galloway 2004; Chen 2006; Deibert et al. 2008; Zittrain 2008).

A third thread of criticism considers Web 2.0 platforms as emerging public spheres (Münker 2009; Schaefer 2010) and the new socio-political quality of user-producer relations in governing software applications and their users (Uricchio 2004; Kow and Nardi 2010). This is exceedingly important to consider since ‘social media’ platforms are indeed becoming something similar to traditional “third places” where conversations take place as much on private issues as on socio-political concerns.

In expanding the traditional private and public spaces and increasing the possibilities for socio-political organization and debate the actual social quality of online media is revealed. The function and role online platforms occupy in daily social life are still subject to negotiations between the various stakeholders ranging from common users over corporate producers and public administrations. These debates result from the technological qualities of the new media as well as from the media practices that are eventually transforming social interaction, markets and politics. Drawn from a deep-rooted idealism for participatory societies, democratic decision processes and freedom of expression expectations are formulated for potential use and regulation of the new technologies. Currently social media platforms constitute an area of conflict where platform providers and users negotiate possibilities and limits of corporate governance. While users attempt to make a difference through petitions requesting consumer rights, the platform providers seek ways of communication and negotiation in setting up policy blogs. The social in social media is recognizable in how these platforms increasingly constitute semi-public spaces and how they turn users into something similar to mini-societies while their corporate providers find themselves in the roles of governors.

Mirko Tobias Schaefer is assistant professor for new media and digital culture at Utrecht University. He is co-editor of the recently published volume Digital Material. Tracing New Media in Everyday Life (2009 Amsterdam University Press) and author of Bastard Culture! How User Participation Transforms Cultural Industries (forthcoming at Amsterdam University Press, December 2010).

Literature
Andrejevic, Mark. 2002. The work of being watched. Interactive media and the exploitation of self-disclosure. Critical Studies in Communication, Vol. 19, No. 2:230-248.

Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. 2006. Control and freedom. Power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Deibert, Ronald, John Palfrey, Rafael Rohozinski and Jonathan Zittrain (eds). 2008. Access denied. The practice and policy of global Internet filtering. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

Galloway, Alex. 2004. Protocol: How control exists after decentralization. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

Kow, Yong Ming  and Bonnie Nardi (eds). 2010. User creativity, governance, and the new media. First Monday, Vol. 15, No. 5.

Lanier, Jaron. 2010. You are not a gadget. Alfred A. Knopf: New York.

Leadbeater, Charles and Paul Miller. 2004. The pro-Am revolution. Demos: London.

Leadbeater, Charles. 2008. We think. Mass innovation, not mass production. Profile Books: London

Müller, Eggo. 2009. Formatted spaces of participation. In Digital material: Tracing new media in everyday life and technology, eds. Marianne van den Boomen et al., 49-64. Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam.

Münker, Stefan. 2009. Emergenz digitaler Öffentlichkeiten. Die Sozialen Medien im Web 2.0. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M.

Petersen, Søren, Mørk. 2008. Loser generated content. From participation to exploitation. In First Monday, Vol. 13, No. 3, <http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2141/1948&gt;

Schäfer, Mirko Tobias. 2009. Participation inside? User Activities between Design and Appropriation. In Marianne van den Boomen, Sybille Lammes, Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Joost Raessens, Mirko Tobias Schaefer: Digital Material. Tracing New Media in Everday Life and Technology, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009, pp. 147-158.

Scholz, Trebor. 2007a. A history of the social web. Collectivate.net, <http://www.collectivate.net/journalisms/2007/9/26/a-history-of-the-social-web.html&gt;.
— —. 2007b. What the MySpace generation should know about working for free. Collectivate.net,  <http://www.collectivate.net/journalisms/2007/4/3/what-the-myspace-generation-should-know-about-working-for-free.html&gt;
— —. 2008. Market ideology and the myths of Web 2.0. First Monday, Vol 13. No 3 <http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2138/1945&gt;.

Shirky, Clay. 2008. Here comes everybody. The power of organizing without organizations. Penguin Press: London, New York.

Shirky, Clay. 2010. Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age. Penguin Press: London, New York.

Terranova, Tiziana. 2004. Network culture. Politics for the information age, Pluto Press: London, Ann Arbor.

Uricchio, William. 2004. Cultural Citizenship in the Age of P2P Networks. In European Culture and the Media, eds. Ib Bondebjerg, and Peter Golding, 139-164. Bristol. Intellect Books.

Virno, Paolo. 2004. A Grammar of the multitude. Semiotexte. Los Angeles

Zimmer, Michael. 2008. The externalities of search 2.0: The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web 2.0. First Monady, Vol 13, No. 3, <http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2136/1944&gt;.

Zittrain, Jonathan. 2008. The future of the Internet, and how to stop it. Yale University Press: New Haven, London.

Written by Kees Winkel

September 23, 2011 at 11:24

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Social media nightmares and how to avoid them – TNW Social Media

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While social media may be the pervasive form of communicating online today, it’s not without its inherent flaws and dangers. We’ve seen companies made and ruined, as well as the same happen for personal reputations, all because of the behavior that is relayed via social media. While it’s always infinitely easier to give advice than to take it, sometimes what we have to do is take a step back to examine cases as they have happened in order to learn from them.

It’s with that in mind that I went to work this past week, asking people for their social media horror stories. It’s either sad or fortunate that what most people consider to be a horror story is really nothing more than a typical first-world problem, but there were a few stories that stood out among the rest.

Here’s where I’ll tell you that every story relayed here is based on something that has actually happened. The names have changed, the businesses have changed, but the stories are all real. If you think that you recognize one of them…well…you’re probably right.

So here we go. We’ll be taking a look at some cases where social became a nightmare, and then we’ll also point out some ways that things could have gone for the better. Our first story is one of fine dining, a terrible illness and the troubles that followed.

Continue reading via Social media nightmares and how to avoid them – TNW Social Media.

Written by Kees Winkel

September 12, 2011 at 08:22

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Experiential currency drives digital and social landscape – Luxury Daily – Multichannel

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NEW YORK — Starwood Hotels and Resorts employs a localized infrastructure for all digital and social media to provide a 360-degree customer experience, according to an executive at the Luxury Interactive conference last week.

Starwood creates separate personalities for each of its hotel locations and equips them with personal social media sites, Web site pages and tabs in mobile applications. Unique brand identities are extremely important and must be recognizable across all three platforms.

“The new economy that drives the digital and social media landscape is based on experiential currency,” said Stephen Gates, senior creative director of global brand design for Starwood, New York.

“People want to have unique experiences and they want to pay to be part of and experience something that is not the same as what everyone else does,” he said.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts owns high-end hotels and resorts such as The Luxury Collection, St. Regis and Le Meridien, as well as the W, Westin and the Sheraton brands.

Stink bombs

The three overall platforms that Starwood focuses on for all of its properties are Web sites, social media and mobile.

On the Web, the most important factor for brands to remember are the core values of the brand and highlighting them through the Web site design.

For example, Starwood’s Le Meridien hotel site is based around the brand’s core brand positioning: “Discovery starts with you.”

To embody that in digital form, a feature on http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien allows guests to choose photos they like, and drag and edit them to create a collage on the screen.

Based on the images that a consumer finds appealing, Le Meridien suggests personalized vacation destinations that she would specifically enjoy.

Le Meridien’s photo collage feature

Each Starwood property also has personal social media sites that are monitored 24/7.

From these sites, real employees can interact with current and potential guests to offer suggestions, follow-up on complaints and respond to questions in real-time.

In one extreme example from a Starwood property, someone tweeted a bomb threat to the hotel.

The social media employee saw the tweet within eight minutes and alerted hotel security, who then cleared the glass-encased front lobby.

Fourteen minutes later, a bomb went off across the street and no guests were harmed.

via Experiential currency drives digital and social landscape – Luxury Daily – Multichannel.

Written by Kees Winkel

July 5, 2011 at 11:17

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The Rise Of The Mobile Social Network – TNW Mobile

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Right now, we are in the middle of the smartphone boom. Apple, Google and other mobile operating system vendors have provided the foundations for developers to launch innovative new services that add extra functionality to powerful new mobile phones.

Increased smartphone use has led to the introduction of many mobile-based social networks; some aim to connect people based on their location, others assist users in sharing their photos or help people find a new partner – but it never used to be that way.

Myspace, Bebo and Orkut have enjoyed success, multi-million dollar valuations and unrivalled popularity in different countries around the world. Whilst they may have presences on mobile, none of them managed to leverage the boom in smartphone use to their advantage and have since languished as Facebook continues to innovate via its website and mobile applications.

Google launched its long-awaited Google+ social network last week, unveiling a service that many had referred to as “Google Circles” after ReadWriteWeb’s editor Marshall Kirkpatrick’s revelation earlier in the year. The search giant not only launched an impressive new Web service, it also dropped a companion Android app to help those with early access interact with the service and their friends that had joined it.

Google and Facebook are tech behemoths but startups are trying to innovate the social networking space each and every day, introducing new features that ultimately mean they are snapped up by the very companies they are trying to beat.

The shift to mobile has been fast and it has been highly innovative. Here, we take a look at what investing heavily in mobile can do for a company’s strategy.

via The Rise Of The Mobile Social Network – TNW Mobile.

Written by Kees Winkel

July 4, 2011 at 08:12

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A lesson from Zappo’s: The Like button is not a social media strategy – Social Media

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Since its introduction, the Like button has provided as many difficulties as it has opportunities for brands. It seems to be largely responsible for the near-meaningless race to numbers we’re now experiencing, as it places a value or an indicator of success against every piece of content it’s installed against. Whether this is your site, a blog post, a piece of clothing, a classified listing – the Like button has become dangerous for brands, as many seem to view it almost as their complete social media strategy.

We’ve seen a proliferation of Like buttons in marketing both offline and online, including the most annoying Facebook Like advert we’ve ever seen, but often the call to action is completely lost or there seems to be no strategy behind its placement. The temptation to make the Like button centre stage because of its ease of use, and the option to tick the social media box when it’s done can be dangerous for brands who risk missing out on the real potential.

via A lesson from Zappo’s: The Like button is not a social media strategy – Social Media.

Written by Kees Winkel

June 10, 2011 at 09:03

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McDonald’s Brilliant Interactive Billboard Campaign – Social Media

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We thought we had seen every type of app and interactive billboard campaign under the sun until we came across this brilliant one from Mcdonald’s that the company ran in Sweden recently. The concept is a simple one in that users get to control the billboard and turn it in to a personal game. By completing the game in 30 seconds win coupons for free food in the nearest Mcdonald’s restaurant.

What is especially interesting about this technology is that you don’t actually have to download an app, which normally causes quite a big barrier to entry. Instead the phone picks up your location and you can join the game via a website address. Not only is this some of the most interactive and engaging marketing that we have seen in some time but it also drives people into the Mcdonald’s restaurants to redeem their coupons. It’s interesting to see more and more campaigns combining mobile and billboards and it’s a trend that we will probably see accelerating over the coming years. Hats off to Mcdonald’s on a great campaign…

via McDonald’s Brilliant Interactive Billboard Campaign – Social Media.

Written by Kees Winkel

June 5, 2011 at 10:41

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