Twitter is *not* a marketing platform — it’s a *medium*

I think that the latest goldrush to Twitter by desperate sales and marketing teams is another example why they are desperate in the first place, at least with respect to newer media: they just don’t get it.

“New media” is the unfortunate umbrella word that has encapsulated this nebulous yet recognizably distinct set of communications tools. I call it unfortunate simply because besides being catchy, it really doesn’t have any inherent meaning. It holds the same level of informativeness as “modern art”, a term which is now totally meaningless except in a jargonized context. Anyway..

The important feature that seems to be common to all of these “new media” is that they are much more inter-communications media than “traditional” media. It’s not about pushing your message out to the masses, it’s about engaging a smaller yet more dedicated group in a conversation, providing a dialogue which is interacted with rather than a monologue which is consumed.

Twitter is even more exemplary of this “new media”, because it has very little distinction between “producers” and “consumers”: everyone is both, we are all “participants”.

So that’s why, when you stick your painfully ignorant mass-market message in my mass-communications medium, I get cranky.

If you see Twitter as a platform for advertising and consumer marketing, you have missed the point. I didn’t come to Twitter to be marketed to, I came to engage in conversation. I doubt most people came to Twitter to be the target of impersonal messages.

I didn’t buy a phone to receive cold sales calls and telemarketers. No one did. Is there any wonder that they aren’t received well?

I did buy cable television. (Well, I did once, but not anymore..) I expected commercial television to contain commercials — it was part of the deal when I signed up. I accepted it.

Not so with Twitter, my phone, my home mailbox, my email account…

So, am I telling all marketing types or product pushers to go take a leap? To find a hard structure and subject themselves to self-punishment? Well, I’m tempted to, but instead I’ll give them this advise: forget what you used elsewhere. It doesn’t work here, and can in fact make things worse for you. Be informative. Be personal. Be useful. Be responsive. Make people want to come to you. Make yourself attractive to be followed, and don’t abuse that.

TV gave us the ability to change the channel to get away from the marketing message — now we can completely silence you from view.

Get smart — or GTFO.

Happy Amateur Professional Christmas!

One of the best developments of the web over the last several years has been the rise of the amateur professional. These people have always been around: the creative types with too much time on their hands and access (one way or another) to a lot of fancy gear.

What makes it different now is the convergence of (relatively) inexpensive gear and the incredible publishing opportunities that the Internet brings. From podcasts to movies to books to music and more, the amateur is bringing an essential quality that mass-produced media has been lacking for a while: passion.

Don’t get me wrong: there are some fantastic books and tv shows and music being produced right now. But the many-to-many nature of mass distribution means that the most acknowledged are really the most general, that the ones you hear about from centralized news sources and reviews are the ones which appeal to the broadest audience.

The specialized nature and decentralized nature of the Internet allows anyone to produce something highly specialized and get their audience who absolutely love it. The common context that was once shared because everyone had the same 4 channels on television and thus likely all watched mostly the same shows is gone, replaced by a common context that is shared more likely with pockets of people around the world rather than your neighbour. Your community is not where you live, your community is where you love, or something mooshy like that.

This outburst of bloggy goodness was all inspired by stumbling across Clay’s latest video with Stanley. Stanley started out as an entrant into the contest for the Evil League of Evil, but seems to be gaining more traction as a general actor (so to speak). Coincidentally, the Christmas special from MyboyfriendCat (and Tabz) has just been released as well.

So, some alternative holiday greetings from people I’m both in awe of and am proud to call my friends.

Stanley’s Holiday Hunger Hymn

MyBoyfriend’s Video Podcast #2: Merry Christmas