Social media and 'IRL' as the new platform.

It”s 2011 and the metrics in social media never cease to amaze me – as connectivity and engagement continue to rapidly increase, the village mentality once again seems to be returning to the fold as more micro-communities are created through various social media platforms.

A recent example of this is Path, a photo sharing social networking service that enables users to share their lives with a a group of small people (limited to 50). For three months I shared pictures with fifteen people up to ten times a day. Their responses were emotions (not comments) and the interaction did not evolve beyond that simple intention. It was organic and personal.

What was the  Six girls boarding schools were graded B; 11 received C’s. value of Path to me? I certainly wasn”t sharing photographs of the office, coffee and the view of the sunset from my bedroom on Instagram. Maybe it was knowing that I was sharing moments with a close circle of friends that could not be accessed by the masses – it was not public behaviour like Facebook or Twitter.

Soon, the app was updated. Someone posted ,”Path isn”t fun anymore.” What had changed? Two simple things: Path integrated Facebook and filters, morphing into what felt like a variant of Instagram. With that simple update the value of the close relationships that had been formed was suddenly consigned to oblivion. It is evident that as humans we are seeking out relationships in new ways through our engagement with online platforms, but we do not always want these to be displayed in a public manner.

Earlier this week in her blog post, Jan Stewart explored the relationships formed through online social interaction and our increasing need for profound engagement and how real life is the next social platform. Please take the time to read it and reflect for a moment.




Colt Ford, Twilight and the power of cultural relevance.

Cultural relevance is a powerful tool. It generates attention, conversation and the almighty revenue stream.

Colt Ford, a country music singer from Athens, Georgia. Ford’s debut album Ride Through The Country peaked at #24 on the Billboard Country Charts in December 2008. The highest charting single of his career so far is “Cold Beer”, a collaboration with Jamey Johnson that peaked at #53. Despite the lack of mainstream support from country radio, Ford has sold over 207,000 copies of his debut album and 123,000 of his recently released Chicken & Biscuits.

Ford has generated an unconventional following through his constant touring schedule and is validation that country radio is not needed to sell records. However, that is not the objective of this post.

This is:

Filmed in Nolensville, TN – this video is a parody of the Twilight phenomenon.

The above is Colt Ford reaching out to Twilight fans via his Twitter account. With this video, he has now placed himself in a circumstance where he can establish mainstream interest on television as well as the Internet. Why is this of interest?

Colt Ford has adopted something that is culturally to the point (Twilight) and that makes people take notice – people that are not simply country music fans.

Is cultural relevance one of the keys to the expansion of your brand and its audience?

The social reality of Socialmelb

I submitted my honours thesis yesterday and it was a victorious moment. As I was chatting with @bryonycole this morning, I realised that despite my “non-industrial experience”, I already feel a part of the industry. The support, the willingness to dispense advice and ability to make you feel welcome is like no other.

During my first visit to Social Media Melbourne back in August I met @Jareen, @Melpay and @ChloeSometimes who welcomed me into their conversation as if we had been friends for years. This feeling of community has only expanded with time. From that point on, each Friday morning at Social Media Melbourne functioned as a respite from the ten hours of thesis writing, as well as inspiration and motivation to push forward.

At the Social  Media Melbourne Dinner at the Honey Bar, I was able to talk with The PR Warrior @TrevorYoung, the gentleman whose blog post validated my decision to enter into the digital industry and @SamMutimer, a woman’s whose energy appears to have been generated from an alternate galaxy. I also had the pleasure of meeting @Jeremy_Irvine (also known as #parmaboy) who has since provided constant support as well as incite into the complex world of the parma.

Sitting at Mr Tulk right now (obviously posted at a later time), the atmosphere of community never ceases to amaze me as someone who was essentially a digital immigrant only three months ago. It almost parallels a facet of thesis where I examined communities connected by a shared musical experience and mediated by radio.

Social Media Melbourne serves not only as a networking opportunity but a hub of inspiration and driver for creative productivity. It is also proof that social media actually cultivates social behaviour.

While I am but a fresh graduate keen to learn and  get experience, I feel a part of a community and industry. This is a rarity and something to behold.

The weight of Twitter summed up in one Tweet by Scott Monty.

I am not in a position to present a complex analysis of the authority social media but when I saw this, I felt it was an explicit demonstration of Twitter“s role in the new media landscape.

This is a reply tweet from Scott Monty – head of Social Media at Ford .

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Read more about Scott Monty, Ford and their social media strategy here.

Have you had any social media moments where Twitter”s real-time effect has come into play?

Lady Antebellum is playing with karaoke. How is your brand engaging with its audience?

For me, successful branding equates to three words: connect, engage and enlist.

When you are a music artist – you are the brand. To develop a successful music brand, you need fans or brand evangelists. It’s not simply about using free promotional/social tools including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to spread the word. It is about maximising every impression made between fans and the music product. If the initial music impression is active, then it is more likely to generate the music consumer’s complete attention.

Country music group Lady Antebellum uploaded an audio track of their duet with Maroon 5 titled ‘Out Of Goodbyes’ onto their YouTube account. In the video, they also included the songs lyrics. Why is this relevant?

Lady Antebellum not only increased the likelihood of the potentially transient consumer paying attention to their video by making the music a foreground experience, they also engaged the viewer with lyrics, generating a deeper initial impression. Methods like this are small yet effective ways of prolonging audience attention.

How would you engage your audience with the music product?