Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Truths of Social Media

I am here at the New Comm Forum conference this week hoping for some insights on what I am am trying to do with social and digital media at the institution. I have met some really interesting people and heard some comforting news about what is happening in communications and social media across many industries. We are not as behind as we sometimes think we are.

In a conference full of communicators, and authors on communication practices you hear lots of sound bytes. Thus far Joe Jaffe, Jim Long and Richard Binhammer provided for me the best of the quotes.

These are the truths that resonated most with me.

  • You have to be social to understand social media. This is not the right communication vehicle for people who don't like people.

  • Social media is about the intersection between media and technology

  • Nobody is in control --- Not communicators, not consumers nobody

  • Humanity | Humility | Humor

  • If you want to understand social media you have to be like a storm chaser, and drive right into the eye of the storm. You have to be a "all up in it" to really understand it
When I get home, you may hear me integrate these into my pitches, training and conversations. I think these will be important points to make in helping the nay-sayers and social media newbies to understand what this is and why and how to use it to meet our goals.

Feel free to use them too.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Care and Feeding of 2.0 Development

Yesterday was very busy. It started with video shoots and ended with a podcast meeting. Somewhere in between that I landed myself on an web steering sub sub committee, and attended a networking luncheon. I was at my desk for about 1 hour and 30 min of my 9 hour day.

While at that luncheon I stopped to speak with a guy who is hoping to travel down this 2.0 rabbit hole with his organization. We got onto the topic of how hard it is too start and keep these social media projects going once you get them started. This is something that I have been thinking quite a bit about lately. As we get closer to the end of the fiscal year, and my project plan is rolling out I am realizing that in the not so distant future, I will have to maintain all of the FY08 projects while implementing the FY09 projects.

How AM I going to do that?

1- I am going to stick to the plan
Back in January I was required to write a strategic plan for implementation of social and digital media for the institution. It identified the projects, and tied them to the strategic goals of the institution, and the department. It was the best thing I could have ever done for helping me to focus on the task at hand. I still use it as my roadmap for what I am doing, and why. I am going to write another one in September.

2 - I am going pick my battles
Even with the plan in place new opportunities present themselves often. We have recently been approached by a few social media sites, and a couple of video content sites to help them develop with content from our experts. These are potentially great partnerships, that would develop the brand and provide the guarantee of quality in this online healthcare content. HOWEVER...They all want original content, and exclusive rights to it. So with every request a writer, or videographer has to be pulled to produce this stuff, and I have to stop what I am doing to shepherd these projects. If it does not match my road map for the year, and it is more time intensive than it is beneficial I would rather not do it. We just can't do everything...right now.

This journey into 2.0 has been paved with planning, and policy writing, and watching and testing, and training. This is a new area of content development for the institution, so I cannot say for sure how we are going to juggle all of this? I imagine it will be like any other communications initiative, it will take constant care and feeding, and will require support to help it grow.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Video and the Quality Debate

The debates about the quality of the video and audio content we create in-house are as hot as ever right now.

The are two camps
- Some folks think that viral, un-produced content is the way to go. Last year the "experts" said that your video content should look homemade, and authentic. The flashy produced look would turn youtube type viewers off.

- The video elite frown upon youtube and any content like it. To them it is unprofessional and nothing less than broadcast quality will do, even online.

While at a conference over the weekend I heard a refreshing take from a multimedia person who works for one of the local papers. In essence she said that their organization has content that has shot by professionals with big fancy cameras and stuff shot on the fly with a handicam, then there are levels of quality in between. She said, they understand that their audience understands the differences in the purpose of the content, and they consume it for the content and so much the quality.

I have to agree with her. I think there are times when you get a gem of video or audio while you are out in the field, and you should not just dump it if the type of content is what your audience is really looking for. On the other side of that just because a piece is well produced does not mean it won't be popular on youtube. One of our best looking videos on youtube is the second most popular one.

Let's just try to produce quality content, in a timely manner that represents the institution well.

I have been having quite a few discussions about video and audio lately. This is not the last that you will hear on this issue.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shameless Promotion of Web 2.0 Projects

Now that we have launched the first phase of our web 2.0 presence, here begins the fun. It is time to start spreading the word. As a former marketer I would expect that I would be full of ideas on how to do that. All of the things that immediately spring to mind for me include shameless self promotion, since that is not how social media works, my list to date is short.

- Added the links to the newsroom page
- Sending out an e-mail message to our subscriber list letting them know we are there
- Asking everyone I know using these social media tools to join and share with their contacts

Next week I am meeting with internal communications, they can help in getting the word out in house. That is a group of 17,000 possible followers and friends. Maybe they know some others that might be interested?

Do you have any ideas on what else I can do to promote theses tools