Thursday, 22 July 2010

Guest Blog: First Take over Twitter, then Facebook, then THE WORLD: My take on Social Media




I’ve been asked to run my predictions for Social Media in the next few years. Luckily for the owner of this blog, I’m always happy to oblige.



My route to social media



Twitter had been around for a long time before I started using it. I always thought the idea of 140 character messages were ridiculous, and I even had an issue with Stephen Fry (who is otherwise one of my heroes) being silly enough to use it.



Even my close friends who had got involved with twitter had pulled out of using it very rapidly – something I believe is extremely common with Twitter users.



I’d already been burnt with social media. When I ran Fotogenesis – my third start-up and a photography company – I had a fan page on Facebook that I found almost impossible to maintain.



Also, I was the first person I knew to have a proper Facebook purge. If I hadn’t had 3 Facebook purges now I’d have over 500 friends (many who discovered me when I was doing the photography), but instead I have 199 and treat 200 as the target for which I run another purge.


Here’s my prediction #1: Call it unfriending, purging, or rationalisation – this trend is going to get bigger and bigger


My sudden Social Media revolution


Between January and March this year, I got control of my Facebook page. I have a list of colleagues, one for acquaintances, and my ‘access everything’ list of.


Then I joined Toastmasters, and started putting up my videos on YouTube (at http://www.youtube.com/setsights ) and more recently I started taking videos of interesting things I see and adding them on there too.


Here’s my prediction (or more of a statement) #2: Once you join the social media bandwagon, you tend to join multiple channels. Therefore there is going to be more convergence in accessing social media.



What I use Social Media for


Like many I use different types of Social Media for different reasons. I use YouTube because I love public speaking and want other people to see my videos. I do genuinely think they’re good, and I’m desperate to have this video - http://3.ly/haberdasher - go viral, as I think it’s the best bit of comedy I’ve done. Although I also recommend you look at my speech half in English and French on my youtube.com channel which can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/setsights



I desperately want to be a part time, or even full time, professional speaker one day (if I can’t be the next Stephen Fry) and these videos can help publicise me and my upcoming foray into the stand-up comedy scene.



Facebook is a personal-only thing. I mainly use it to find out what other people are doing, providing many of the same links I do on Twitter (such as the latest run I’ve been on, or my latest blog post) and keeping all my photographs in the one place.



I have a blog at http://blog.setsights.co.uk/ which Carly Smith, the owner of this blog I’m writing on today, has written for. It covers career development and personal development, which is the theme of Setsights Ltd which was my 4th start-up, now mostly on hold as I’ve gone into a career as a full time Management Consultant from September 2010 onwards after a chance in direction. It also covers dating – largely because I adore the human interaction of men and women – and occasional I pop in something personal – what I’ve learnt about a situation, or my opinions on Social Media etc.



Too many platforms = sore head



I’ve already said I can’t handle Facebook. I barely have the time to handle twitter.



Mind you, I’ve been impressed with Twitter. When I was thinking about buying a printer, I got an unsolicited message from Dell. When I was angry with M&S, I posted this on twitter and got a rapid reply and resolution.



Each channel is slowly developing its unique angle on social media use.



Prediction #3: Each method of social media will focus on a particular angle, and gradually each angle will be dominated by a single brand



Would Foursquare go and die already?


There are few things that really irritate me on social media. Posting information about your farm is one of them. Posting information on twitter about how busy the M25 is every 10 minutes is another.


And foursquare badge posts are the last. I do understand the point of location based services, I really do, but what I don’t understand it why they need to focus on badges etc. As more companies offer free drinks a la Starbucks and similar promotions, badges will become less and less necessary.


But at this point, Apple or similar will enter the Fray. If your phone has GPS and can detect your location, then sooner or later a company will integrate this into their phones. Or they’ll integrate Foursquare (or even Gowalla) into their basic set of applications.


Either way, I consider myself to usually be an early adopter, but like many people when it comes to something like location based services I don’t want to tie myself down to one format when it may lose.



Here’s prediction number #4: Location based services won’t take off until there is without doubt a dominant company, and yes, I think this will be Foursquare in the short to mid term



But here’s prediction number #5: The first location based service company to integrate augmented reality images into their software and make it work really well will be that dominant company mentioned above

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