The one thing you can do today to properly understand social media

If you want to understand how social media works, listen to the Facebook earnings calls. I tell people this.They don’t listen to me. 

That’s why I’m happy to tell you my little secret here, because you probably would rather pay two thousand dollars to go to a half day workshop and listen to people who aren’t Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg talk about social media. That’s up to you. 

Facebook has the family lunchbox users and Twitter wants them
And then Sheryl would have explained to you that social media is still a very small part of most brand’s marketing mix and that there is still a big job to do with marketers getting them to understand how to use and measure the ad products to demonstrate ROI. That would have explained to you the Twitter Australia/ Nielsen TV presentation last night and also the overly sorry apology from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo for not zapping enough trolls because they need to reposition Twitter as family friendly. The proactive communications machine roared into life well before the Twitter earnings results this morning which showed that, other than the Google deal, there wasn't much to say. 

Tony-hater of keyboard warriors, the Internet, coffee and the future of the free world
Apparently the Twitterati trolling politicians like former Prime Minister of Australia Tone Abetz for calling social media ‘electronic graffiti’ is not good content for top media buyer Woolworths selling 85 cent loaves of bread to working families so everyone needs to be a bit nicer so Twitter can attract newer, more gentle, kid’s lunchbox users and take some TV ad revenue. You would have heard Mark Zuckerberg explain very clearly to you that social media updates started as text and then went to photos- where Facebook got the big mainstream growth surge from- and that the next wave is mobile video. So if you want to make your posts to rank well on Facebook, perhaps you could post a video? Just a thought… 

If you are the one person that heeds my advice, then the Twitter earnings call this morning is a walk in the park to understand. You would have heard Sheryl talk about the growth of video on mobile and instantly understood why Twitter have incorporated video into their mobile app this week. 

You would have heard Mark talk about search and providing a search experience that ‘nobody else on the internet can provide’. By that he means Google. So then you would understand why Twitter has restarted their deal with Google to index data for search because everyone seems to go through the process of figuring out that a walled garden always seems like a good idea for ad revenue but it’s a big fail for content and discovery. 

Next gen products-mobile, visual, hyper social friend networks
You would have heard Sheryl talk about ‘next generation’ products like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and understand why Twitter launched group direct message functionality.You would have heard the Facebook CFO chappie Dave say (at great speed) that ad prices went up 300%, mainly due to growth in mobile video ads and because they can measure stuff better now. Um what? Yes the prices are going up. 

It’s brilliant, Facebook tells you everything. You have to be a bit more Turing code-breaker to pick the winners in the Google call because it’s basically everything they aren’t talking about that’s interesting. Analysts are spooned up some token numbers about ad network rates that don’t really mean much and then there’s a dismissive hand waggle to ‘emerging non-ad business’ and Google for Work’s plans to take over the world with their operating systems and work tools …look at the self-driving magic Noddy cars everyone!

Today, Facebook is setting the pace in social, definitely in a commercial sense and arguably in an innovation sense and they are worth listening to to give you clarity about the big chunky things that matter in the industry whether you personally like Facebook as a platform or not. 

But that’s up to you. 

PODCAST: BP Oil, Quit Facebook Day & Tweeting Journos

Mornings » Courtney Lambert - New media consultant Courtney Lambert talks to Mornings host Ed Swift about Facebook privacy mistakes, BP parody Twitter accounts Mike McRoberts and John Campbell
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Company Dog-Sniffing 101


I hate being asked what I do.


It’s one of those dog sniffing things that we all do to make sense of the world and sort people into little piles of understandingness.


It’s up there with ‘what part of Auckland are you in?” (socio-economic profiling) or by far the worst “what did your parents do?” (bloodline check -excuse me have we gone back 300 years?)


I fluff around and run a few words together depending on the company. Suited types call you a ‘contractor’, Chuck Taylor creatives call me a ‘freelancer’, the Company’s Office calls me a ‘director’, conference bios say ‘consultant’ and receptionists tend to call me a ‘temp’.


When I tell people what projects I’m doing they often question the role “yes but who do you report to? Do they not have a very big communications department? I suppose most of it gets outsourced to a ‘consultant’ so you wouldn't get to do much (yes, I am the consultant).” What would probably be more useful would be telling them the amount of projects that I HAVEN’T got. Literally hundreds. I’m serious.


Perhaps I’m the wrong gender, height, flavour, shoe colour or astrological sign but I’m not quite sure what a whatever- I- am is meant to look like but clearly it’s not how I roll out of bed most days.  


If you get a chance, head over to Facebook and watch the video of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote at the F8 developer conference.


He’s a 25 year old nerd, in mom jeans, in a zipped up hoodie, with bad gingerish hair. He is also one of the most powerful men (boys?) in global media with bucket-loads of cash. He is a terrible presenter. The most surprising thing I learned from the keynote was that Mark has a girlfriend….go Mark!


See, I do it too.  We all want the quick and easy “are you a red one or a green one? poke poke” answer to socially organising people. It’s a bit like search engine tagging.


Watching the video made me think that if IT helpdesk sent some little nerd burger over to reset my password and we started talking about web apps, would I take notice? Would I listen to him or would I think “you’re an IT guy, you don’t know anything about media or communications or advertising. Go home and play World of Warcraft Mark Zuckerberg ITC co-ordinator person from level three.”


It’s a very common organisational burn to discriminate by department and dismiss ideas because you feel threatened in your own little patch. It can be quite humbling having some little freak breezing through the job that you’ve been doing for 30 years, and it’s a very natural reaction to dehumanise someone by tagging and pigeon holing. I’m going to make it my new hobby to be a ‘Zuckerberg’ spotter. I’m sure there’s some vanilla, totally forgettable, ugly, mutated person out there that will cure AIDS or make me look like Rachel Hunter or create a cool web app. I’m pretty sure they aren’t the company stars or the person that has the most friends on Facebook. Maybe it’s the receptionist that asks me every morning “do you enjoy temping?”


I’ll go and suss her out.


(Yes I heart temping).