Reaching Out

Jan 9, 2010

Chris Brogan wrote about how to reach out to bloggers.

Here’s the part that struck me the most.

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The trick is not to talk about your stuff. You should have started this outreach weeks and weeks before ever needing anything, and it should be genuine. Be interested in the people you hope will take an interest in you.

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I think that goes back to what I’ve been writing recently. That ultimately, it’s about people, and relationships. And I think those who understand that, not the ones who are just after monetization, are the ones who will get paid off. Those who spend the time getting to know people are the ones who will succeed in this space.

It’s also why I think there’s so much value here for individuals, not just companies. Perhaps even more for individuals than companies. Because it’s easier for an individual to meet new people and build relationships than it is for an organization, I believe. It’s therefore almost easier for an individual to engage and succeed in this space, than it is for a company. And that’s why I love this space. It gives power back to the individuals, the power to do as much as, if not more than, a formal organization.

So, as Chris wrote, “[y]ou should have started this outreach weeks and weeks before ever needing anything”. Who are you reaching out to today?

Why I Love Social Media

Jan 1, 2010

NYE @ Arab Street Tweetup was amazing, and I think it epitomized everything I love about social media. It had everything – spontaneity, great conversations, new friendships – it was just awesome. And before I go on, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who made last night happen. Jerrick, Ivy, Justin Lee, Justin Ng, Hisham, Michael Cheng, Nicole, DK, Shawn, Jean, and everyone else who stopped by. I had a great time.

Here’s what happened. A few days ago, Jerrick and I were talking on Twitter. He’s back in Singapore for the holidays, and we were saying that we needed to catch up before he left again. Off the top of my head, I threw out the idea of doing something for New Years Eve with the other local social media people. Jerrick then retweeted the idea, and Ivy came across his retweet, and said it was a “great idea”. The three of us then started discussing what we should do, and by the next day, we decided (Ivy’s idea) to go hang out at Arab street for dinner, drinks and the like.

So, we created a twtvite and sent it out. People responded, and two days or so later, at the event, we had about 10 people show up. After dinner and some drinks, we decided to head to Hackerspace Singapore, for more conversations. And let me say, Hackerspace is awesome. They have a great idea, great beliefs and ideals, and I really hope they do well. But more on that another day.

Back to last night. We went to Hackerspace, and just hung out and talked. For something like 8 hours. In between that time, more people joined us, some left at various points in the night. But all in all, a group of us were there until 7 in the morning. We did a countdown, we talked about everything. From what social media meant to us individually, to our thoughts on how Singapore is like at the moment, to random conversations about toilets.

But it was great. Just hanging out, and having a great time with friends, filled with great conversation and discussion. I can’t think of a better way to start the new decade. Before yesterday, I had not met half of the people who were there before. By the end of the night (well, the morning, to be specific), I had made new friends, and I had had a night filled with great conversations, with really smart people.

So yes, that, in a nutshell, is why I love social media, and what I think it should be about. It’s what I’ve missed the most while I was on hiatus. Conversations, community and friendships, with a dash of spontaneity. We get so caught up sometimes worrying about how to monetize our blogs, how to build a reputation, how to further our personal brands, etc (and yes, don’t get me wrong, those things are important, in context), that we forget the social aspect of social media. And I think we need to always remember that.

At the end of the day, social media is about people. At least, that’s what I think.

What do you think? What is social media to you – and what do you like, or not like, about it?

Photo by mhisham

The Problem with Twitter Trust Metrics

Dec 27, 2009

Charles Green from Trusted Advisor just wrote a post about measuring trust on Twitter.

I think it’s an interesting measurement, but there are issues with it. He mentions the biggest one, saying

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The biggest problem comes not in the measurement, but in the subject matter. So it is with trust. In the TweetLevel tool, trust is largely a function of how many people cite you. That’s perfectly reasonable. People definitely hang on Perez Hilton’s words a lot more than on mine.

But it does beg a huge trust question: trust Perez Hilton to do what? To say what? To behave how? What is it that we trust about John Mayer–and is it the same thing as for which we’re trusting Oprah?

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That speaks for itself, I think. Nothing more to add there.

My biggest worry, however, is the possible effects this measurement may have. As much as I see the value of measuring something, a measurement like this brings a lot of false promises. Most importantly, trust is a very personal thing. What matters is how much each individual trusts you, it’s not a question of broad statistics, in my opinion.

The issue of a trust metric like that is this. Once you put a number to something, people tend to strive for higher numbers. It’s the nature of human competitiveness, kind of. And I fear that the more we put a number to trust, the more people will try to game the system just to get higher numbers, making more retweetable tweets, etc. And that could easily lead to even less personal interaction.

TweetLevel measures how often you’re cited, and that’s certainly valuable. But we need to not confuse this too much with trust. Yes, it’s probably a reflection that people trust what you say, and think you have valuable input. But do they really trust you? And I think that’s the main question. You can be having personal conversations on Twitter, things that others don’t retweet. Your trust metric won’t go up, but because your conversations are personal, the person on the receiving end gets to build a relationship with you more and gets to trust you. Is this any worse than being retweeted often? I’d say not.

A while ago, Chris Brogan wrote this:

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I’d go to Savvy Auntie because Melanie Notkin will give me advice that would help me buy for kids, where Amazon’s just too big to feel helpful in that regard.

I’d go to Wine Library because Gary Vaynerchuk will take the fear factor out of buying something I’m not educated about.

I’d go to Glynne’s Soaps because I appreciate Gayle and Jennifer’s efforts via social media, so it’s like buying from a friend.

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And I think that’s more important. What you do with the “trust” that you have. It’s all well and good having high numbers, with people retweeting you all the time.

But you need to remember to ask two things. Firstly, what are they retweeting? And secondly, how are you relating to those who are retweeting you? It’s not all just about retweets. There’s also huge value (perhaps more) in a personal relation, that cannot be captured from that.

WordPress Direct Misses The Point

Nov 26, 2008

Mashable tells us about WordPress Direct, which has apparently reached ten thousand users.

What do I think of this? I think it’s really sad – the number of people who don’t get it.

Yes, you can probably make a blog with decent content using a plugin like that (albeit by stealing it from others). And yes, you probably can earn money from it, because it’s optimized and all. And it doesn’t take that much work.

But in my opinion, in doing so, you miss the whole point of blogging. Blogging shouldn’t be about making money. Far from it. It shouldn’t even be about the content per se.

More than anything, in my opinion, blogging is about the community.

It’s about who you’re reaching, who you’re interacting with. It’s about the connections you make, and the people you can influence or inspire. It’s about connecting with like-minded, intelligent people and improving each other.

That’s the value of blogging, in my opinion. It’s about the people, the community.

Why do you blog?

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