A little while back, I sent out a request via Twitter asking if anyone would be interested in being interviewed for a discussion on social media. With the medium meaning so many different things to so many people, as well as how it can be used, I was interested to hear the views of the people I connect with.
My original plan was to run a “round table” style of blog post – raise the questions and then have a mix of views as the responses. However, the answers I received back were all excellent, and showed why social media is the mix of interesting people and views that it is. So, I decided individual posts would be far more effective in an on-going series of interviews.
Sharing his views today is John Easton, founder of Eastonsweb Multimedia, a new media company helping businesses attract the best customers through the use of video, web and multimedia tools. My sincere thanks to John for taking the time to reply and share his views. To connect with John, or find out more about him, please visit his blog Customer Flypaper.
If someone was to ask you for your definition of social media, what would it be?
The use of online, communal tools and their associated communities to engage an audience around a message, idea or discussion.
What is your reason for using social media?
That is an easy question. I use social media to expand my thinking beyond the boundaries I set by interacting with truly fascinating people and to lend my thinking to supportive communities of interest. In addition, I find social media to be a great tool for expanding my.
Do you feel that social media is being used to its maximum effect?
I would say yes. Does this mean that there aren’t unexplored SM applications? Without getting too philosophical here social is just like traditional media. It’s constantly evolving and at its present state of development, the medium is being used and explored by some of the world’s most creative minds and with every Twitter tweet and new blog posting a different angle is being explored. So I’d say it is where it’s supposed to be.
What social media tools or applications do you use? Why these ones in particular?
My choice of social media tools is a function of my capacity, being a business owner and parent. My personal and professional goals are to build relationships with interesting people and grow myand the behavioral profile of those I am looking to engage.
That said I am an active Twitter user, a vigorous blogger and I am an enthusiastic member of several online communities (The Society for is one). I can interact with each of these communities via my desktop PC, my laptop computer and my BlackBerry and each of these neighborhoods has members who regularly stretch my thinking.
Where do you see the future of social media, both in general and for you?
In general I see social media and its conventions converging more and more with traditional media. The line between the Internet and television as an example will blur. Gone will be the days of cable networks and TV stations. You will watch user generated video alongside professional media wirelessly through your glasses and you will be able to exchange comments with other viewers in real time building relationships as you add perspective to each clip.
I don’t see my goals for the use of SM changing but I will certainly ride the wave and continue to be a bridge between those on the bleeding edge and more middle of the road adopters.
Are businesses effectively using social media? If not, what can they do to improve?
That’s a loaded question. Big business is not successfully using SM. Most of the leaders in this pool approach SM from the old world perspective of controlling the conversation, not realizing that a revolution has already taken place with the power having changed hands from the elite few to the masses. SM is less about controlling the message and more about participating in the discussion, give and take.
Small businesses are doing a better job but still have opportunities to explore. They have to learn to be less revenue focused when it comes to measuring the benefit of SM and consider the wider spectrum of return (building awareness, testing ideas, soliciting new product/service ideas, collaboration, word of mouth, etc).
After all is it better to close one deal or to build a Twitter relationship with someone who can evangelize your offering to several thousand people with the tap of a keyboard?
What do you feel are the best and worst features/uses of social media?
I believe the good and bad of SM is less about the features inherent in the technology and more about the way people use it. At its best social media accelerates the spread of information through networks of linked communities and at its worst it can be a haven for often mindless and self-promoting chatter. All of this depends on the behavior of community members.
- You can find more “Discussing Social Media with…” interviews here.
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