JUST RELAX: 7 ways to approach new social media platforms

So, what’s going to be the new Facebook?

So, what’s our strategy for using the new Facebook?

Actually, do you know what? Just do yourself one great big favour. Just relax. Because no-one knows. Not even Mark Zuckerburg.

There’s big predictions for the rise and rise of social media. Emarketer, for example, predicts 1.43 billion will be using social media in 2012.

There’s also no doubt that in 10 years time the landscape will have shifted. Once AOL was an internet giant. Remember how Friends Reunited was going to be the future of the internet?

But please don’t run screaming from the room. That would just be silly.

The lessons you’ve learned on the social web are portable and will stand you in good stead.

A few weeks back there was an excellent session for local government people at localgovcamp in Birmingham that looked at new social media platforms.

As a comms person who is doing more and more digital it was fascinating.

Rather than being just a check-list of which ones we should be using – and Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram were mentioned – the best discussion was around a broad approach rather than being platform specific.

As someone who managed to dodge the Google Wave boat that rather appeals to me. Google Wave, by the way, was an ill-fated Google product that arrived in a blaze of hype then died.

 6 ideas on approaching new platforms

1. Should I horizon scan? There’s no harm at all in being on the look out and have an ear to the ground. But life is too short.

2. Should I use it as me first? Use a new platform as yourself first. Kick the tyres. See how it flies. Make a few mistakes in your own name. Then think about it for the organisation.

3. Are there numbers? Ask yourself if there’s a sizable community that use it. And is that community people you’d like to connect with?

4. Will this platform do something for you or your team? Shane Dillon, who I rate enormously, pointed out that sometimes a platform isn’t about the big numbers. It’s about that little thing a platform can do. The free video conferencing on Google+ alone can make it an attractive proposition ahead of huge numbers.

5. Is there best practice? Have a look to see how others are using it. Be an ideas magpie.

6. Then launch quietly. Don’t enter into a platform in a blaze of publicity. Let it grow naturally. If it’s a success you’ll make your own waves.

7. Just relax.

That’s it really.

Creative commons credits

Deckchairs http://www.flickr.com/photos/danieldslee/6064681224/

Ice cream hut http://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/5812007896/sizes/l/

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  1. Great post Dan. You really do come up with the bestest lists. It was the first time I’ve been brave enough to pitch a session, and ended up really enjoying it.

    1. Thanks, Mark and good work with the session idea too. There can be a lot of attention to new social media sites. There’s an eye watering amount of them and some we just don’t need to ever bother with. Others we do. Even if its just a small number. As ever, it can be the right numbers that are important and not just big numbers for the sake of it.

      1. Absolutely right. At least with a bunch of us on the look-out we don’t have to try every social media site personally. First in can tell others what the water’s like etc

    2. Thanks, Mark. It’s quite a nerve wracking thing for the first time to stand up and say to a room ‘I’m not sure if I have the answers but who wants to help me find them?’ I thought this year especially it would be really good to make it even easier to pitch. A postcards suggestion box, for example.

  2. Hi Dan
    A post on an approach really appealed to me, and how great that there was a discussion like this at localgovcamp. I think the attraction of shiny new platforms has a parallel in the field of community engagement/involvement/development (whatever name doesn’t offend). My colleagues and I get so frustrated that people working with communities want to learn about exciting or fun looking consultation or facilitation tools and techniques but aren’t willing to spend the time understanding and reflecting on underpinning principles, processes and issues (including around power – there, a third ‘p’ – good for lists!). It’s causing me to wonder how much some of my work on ‘understanding engagement’ might be tweaked only slightly to apply as an approach to digital. In fact, I hope to explore this in another way with David Wilcox through work on ‘community enablers’ (http://socialreporters.net/?page_id=684). Interesting times … 🙂

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