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Alt-Rogue takes on Alt-Right

January 26th, 2017 No comments

We certainly live in interesting times. For social media, the use and misuse of a single communications channel may have just changed the course of the free world. Which makes for even more interesting times.

I don’t know about you, but I could use a little less excitement.

In the recent 2016 U.S. election of Donald Trump, a concerted and strategic social media arsenal was unleashed, one that the Democrats seem to have been wholly unprepared for.

How is that? While we (yes I’m one) were busy laughing at people who watch Fox News, a “network” whose news stories and celebrity-talking-heads have been debunked time and time again, the last laugh was on us.

“Fake News” became facts, and fears became fuel, and fools became leaders.

The new white house itself is proud of its reliance on “alternative facts,” which — although Twitter has had a ball with the notion — is scary as shit.

Many of us original bloggers (Y2K here) remember when Ev Williams started Blogger and began self-publishing around that time. When Ev started Twitter, I don’t think any one of us ever saw the future: A POTUS spreading fallacies and threats and rumors, and then drawing dangerous lines in the sand with enemies and allies alike, all in 140 characters or less.

How did a medium that once was, if anything, super honest and highly personal — with early bloggers and twitter users making themselves vulnerable and human in sharing from the gut — become a channel for hate, hyperbole and falsehoods?

The medium isn’t the message, folks. The messengers are.

In this case, the alt-right’s Bannon and company ran a brilliantly strategic social media campaign, complete with a literal paid island of young people manufacturing a digital arsenal of fake new stories that made them rich, along with paid trolls posted at every corner of every comment section that mattered.

Bannon thought of that. We didn’t.

Because at our core, liberals and progressives believe that no one would believe it, that people are intelligent enough to distinguish hyperbole and alternate facts from truth, and that in the end, we should believe the best about our fellow man, and that love should trump hate.

Boy were we wrong. DEAD wrong.

So, how should we take back social media? Can we? What would it take? Do we have to fight “fire with fire,” as Trump said last week about national security?

While I’m glad we are building an army of comedians like Alec Baldwin and the SNL cast, who is building our army of truth-tellers that can deprogram and sway a public that has already been captured by an army of trolls?

One sign of hope this week: the ALT-rogue twitter movement

When the National Parks twitter users were silenced by federal order, some brave rangers went rogue and launched their own “AltUSNatParkService” handle. Scientists (@ScienceMarchDC) who have been directed to run all findings through the new administration before publishing them have followed suit with a planned march on Washington and bevy of rogue twitter handles of their own.

Suddenly the Alt-ROGUE movement is rising up against the Alt-Right movement.

This week – I see it as our best hope.

But we’ll need more. A lot more.

Categories: grieving, So-So Media, The Man Tags:

The Jazz of Social Media

June 7th, 2009 1 comment
Coltrane Blows

Coltrane Speaks

I came across a good article in AdWeek about how and why social media differs from the broadcast mindset. In the article, Paul Gunning explains that while companies are rushing ahead into social media as the next-best-shiny-new-way-to-build-their-brand strategy, they haven’t yet crossed the reality chasm. Gunning describes this headlong blind rush into social media as “techno-ecstasy” — which I define as the love of being in love with social media.

The phenomenon is musical, really.

The problem is that while traditional marketers and MBAs and HR folk understand what it feels like to “broadcast their message,” they don’t know what it feels like to “jam,” to play with micromarkets in an already-in-progress composition, an evolving melody, on the market’s own stage, in the customer’s own house.

You see, Marketing 1.0 had charts.

Social Media is improvisational.

It really comes down to that.

It’s a struggle for classical marketers to feel comfortable playing social media jazz, because engaging with your market can feel REALLY uncomfortable. You can get dirty. It doesn’t always sound right. You have to Let Go. You can be misinterpreted. You don’t always look good. You can’t control the flow.

On the social web, clams are a given. How you respond, what you make of those mistakes and conflicts, and how you RECOVER determines how you build loyalty, a following, and long-term trust.

You can hear things you don’t want to hear when you decide to join this unending song of conversation.

You can be asked to change things you can’t change. You can be upstaged by the competition, who is allowed to walk right in with their snazzy new thingamajig and tell the same people you’ve been talking to why their thingamajig is better. And they may be wrong, or they may be right, but you may be having a conversation that you CERTAINLY wouldn’t have paid $4,000 to see spread across a full page ad for all the world to see. You might in fact pay double that, if you could, for them NOT to see it.

But you’re having that conversation because you showed up.

According to Gunning, there are some surefire questions you can ask to find out if you’ve been afflicted with techno-ecstasy:

1. Am I focused on using the social realm to listen to and learn more about my consumers, or am I more focused on executing a fan page?

2. How much participation is required to make a difference on my brand? Does adding 4,600 “friends” have any impact on this goal? Is this scalable to the level I need?

3. Has my company trained CSR, legal, HR and sales on our social-media strategy, or has only the marcom department received a social-media 101 session?

I’d add a thing or two here, related to whether a company is ready to play in the social media arena, or whether they should stick to classical marketing in rehearsal rooms a little while longer. Ask yourself:

1. Have I been shedding long enough to understand my sound, my self, my capabilities, what I bring to the scene — or am I trying to pose so that I don’t miss out?

2. Have I really studied the early and fundamental material of this era of change – Have I read Cluetrain, looked back at blog archives from the turn of the century, so that I understand the foundation of this art form before I step up to the mic myself?

3. Am I committed to finishing what I start, to staying in this relationship – group – collaboration – with my customers and colleagues and competitors over the long haul? Can I agree from the start not to pack up and go home early?

Like the business of music, Social Media is not glamorous, except for the fortunate few.

Sure, you have your viral video successes.  You have your “OH i WISH that would have been MY company” campaigns. And you have “OH i’m GLAD that wasn’t MY company” disasters.

But if and when you decide it’s time to add to the collective knowledge and shared fun, to the stunning composition of what’s possible, there is one thing for certain: you will be changed.

News Flash: Men Follow Men (oh and so do women) on Twitter

June 1st, 2009 No comments

New Harvard Research suggests a Man of Twitter (MOT) is almost twice as likely to follow another MOT than a Woman of Twitter (WOT).

And in other news, Hell is still HOT.

The NEWS to me is that Harvard finds this trend stunning:

These results are stunning given what previous research has found in the context of online social networks i. On a typical online social network, most of the activity is focused around women – men follow content produced by women they do and do not know, and women follow content produced by women they know. Generally, men receive comparatively little attention from other men or from women. We wonder to what extent this pattern of results arises because men and women find the content produced by other men on Twitter more compelling than on a typical social network, and men find the content produced by women less compelling (because of a lack of photo sharing, detailed biographies, etc.).

Huh? Remember the pre-historic era of blogrolls? Remember the echo chamber? Remember Aggregators and top feeds? Remember Techmeme? Twitter is not a new Internet, it’s just a new node with the same tendencies and hierarchies (and patriarchies) replicated in 140 characters. I really don’t GET the assumption that men usually follow/read/link-to women, and that women do the same. It’s just not true. Not online, not offline, not never.

An interesting fact to me is the sheer velocity of popularity on twitter, and how ACTIVITY (not content) may be what drives follows:

Specifically, the top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets.

That may mean that tweeting OBNOXIOUSLY OFTEN gets you somewhere on Twitter. But then, I think we already knew that.

Everyone Using The Google

May 18th, 2009 No comments

I’ve had three experiences in the past week where normal people have talked to me about my online writing. By normal, I mean people that use the Internet, not people who write the Internet. In other words, not you people. Not the twittersphere or blogsphere regulars, but rather regular people who googled me.

OH I forgot to mention – they said nice things!

It was kind of freaky (guess what category THIS post is going in!) because I’m used to my meatspace (yeah, i hate the word too, but just go with me here) life invading my blogging time, but I’m not used to my blogging life interrupting my meatspace experience.

I think that means something. Something’s going on here with critical mass. Besides the Oprah-Twitter effect, I mean. And I have no clue what.

Nonetheless, Thanks for all the fish!

Categories: freaky_deaky, Humor, Not so freaky, The Man Tags:

so, like, if you don’t pay your hosting bill…

February 10th, 2009 1 comment

they delete your blog and your account. who knew? where’s my blog bailout?

guess i gotta start again, again.

Categories: The Man Tags: