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Welcome! If you missed the first lesson, it’s here. So we defined social media, related that definition to our daily lives. Then we justified the need for social media for our businesses, and went on to list a few general tips for using social media, regardless of the platform. As promised, Twitter’s the topic for discussion today.
Let’s quickly define some basic terms.
Twitter – your world in one hundred and forty (140) characters. It gives the opportunity to answer the question, ‘what are you doing now’?
Tweep/Twitterer – the person tweeting
Handle – name of the tweep; could be the person’s real name, an adaptation of the name, or something totally different.
Follow – adding people who interest you to your Twitter reading list. Their tweets will appear automatically.
Hash tag – A hash tag or hashtag is a way of organizing your updates for Twitter search engines. One of the currently most commonly used hash tag on Twitter is #followfriday where users network by providing the names of their favorite people to follow on Twitter.
Direct Message – DM for short, it refers to private messaging on Twitter between two people. If Jeremy follows Brandon, Brandon can send a DM to Jeremy. Jeremy can only reply the DM if Brandon ‘follows’ him back. So, why consider Twitter for your business? – because of the immediacy it affords your business. Whether it is praise, criticism, clarification, or a query, it is fast, and used properly, boosts the customer service perception your audience will have of your company.
It also functions as a great listening tool. – it reduces your organization’s dependence on traditional media channels (which you might not be able to afford anyway) and counters inaccurate press coverage. It increases the reach of your existing content online by providing easy access for journalists, bloggers, etc. – most importantly, because your target demographic is there. That means that if your target is not on Twitter, it will be a little fool hardy to go on Twitter and hope to reach out to them. *note to self: discuss ‘what platform for what business’ soon*
Are you convinced yet? Let me know!
One of my favorite TV Series is Hustle – a group of five con men (Albert, Stacey, Danny, Ash, and Mickey) who function as a modern Robin Hood crew. Exacting judgement n greedy, dubious businessmen, they operate under a set of rules, first of which is, “you cannot cheat an honest man’. Flip side to that is, “when someone wants to gain something for nothing, give them nothing for something”.
Apart from crushing heavily on Mickey (Adrian Lester) and his ‘out-of-this-world’ smile, I love Hustle because each episode exposes me to the different ways people bring heartache upon themselves by trying to reap where they have not sown, make ridiculous profits, or even worse, defraud the next man. Are the Hustle team righteous? Of course not; evil cannot cancel out evil, and two wrongs don’t make a right. Still love them though!
Away from Hustle, I have two rules for avoiding heartache in business. These two nuggets are guaranteed winners long as they’re applied exactly as prescribed.
1. There is social media and the ‘miracles’ it will work for your business as far as publicity and advertising are concerned. There is also something called a work ethic, without which both the social media platforms, and the business will fail. Unfortunately today young business owners spend more time tweeting and facebooking about their businesses than actually getting any work done.
Quick example: a friend of mine had a business and is quite active on social media promoting it; we’ll call her A. Recently, another friend (call her B) tweeted about needing the service A offers so I introduced them on Twitter. Two days after B tweets that A kept her waiting for four hours and she’s never using her service again.
Social media – good work ethic + all the recommendations in the world = heartache, brought on by failure.
2.Much as you can, avoid doing business with family, especially in parts of the world where ‘family’ is exalted over professionalism. I’ve written about landlords letting their property to family and the drama that goes with that, but I have a personal example now.
My family needed a service, and contracted two different companies to provide it – three items from Company A, and three items from Company B (who we’re distantly related to).
Company A delivers on schedule; on inspection the goods are of a good quality, and there is evidence that they used their initiative. Company B is paid in full, yet the goods are two weeks late. There are major errors in one during the draft inspection so it’s sent back.
48 hours to when these goods will be used, they’re yet to arrive, and the representative is unreachable. Several calls without any response and then by 5pm the representative picks up and says, “I’m in fellowship please, you’re calling my Galaxy Tab and its ringtone is loud”.
Took all of me (and some) to be civil and for a few reasons
- How was I to know you were in church? If you’d had picked up the entire day we’d been ringing your phone, or had the decency to return the calls….
- I have one number for you. What other way should I have tried to reach you? Seance? Mind travel? By the way, I’m excited you have a Galaxy Tab, SMH.
- Why didn’t you just deliver when you said you would?
This rep sent someone to deliver the goods the day before they were to be used (didn’t have the courtesy to bring them personally or even send a delivery/quantity note), and you can bet they were substandard. What did we do? Nothing. Why? Family. Will we use Company B’s service again? Not even if our lives depended on it!
There you have it! Thank me later…
Do you know that Nigerians have a penchant for talk and no action? Sometimes it feels like we (the government and its people) are all mouth and no arms or feet, the way we just ‘talk away’ everything. So there are issues in the polity and we set up committees to look into ‘the immediate and remote causes’ of those issues, and then another committee is appointed to review the findings of the first committee and make recommendations, by which time another incident would definitely have occurred. True/false
When I became aware of planning for the New Media and Governance: Tools and Trends Conference, I was very excited. The thrust of the event looked pretty solid, and the line-up of speakers was stellar. Then Stacy Orico’s ‘more to life’ started playing in my head, and I started to think of more.
As a social media post graduate student at Birmingham City University, we were exposed to ‘Social Media Surgeries’. Set up/conceived by Nick Booth, the basic idea is to get a room full of people who have social media related questions on the one hand, and people with answers or strategies on the other.
Everyone has a computer/laptop/device so you talk but more importantly, you DO. I have attended a number of them and I really enjoyed them.
I pitched the idea of having surgeries at the event to the head of the planning committee. She bought it, and we started to run with it. There would be three booths for Facebook and Google, Blogs and Twitter, and ISP’s, Mobile Apps and Telecoms. To help man the booths were
I’m thankful for logistics, the admin team, and Miss Diane Nduonofit, thank you for being patient with us, and for catering to all our concerns!
The Omidiyar Network had donated a good number of flash drives for the attendees, and at some point is became our role to not only distribute the drives, but to also put the speeches/presentations of the different speakers in them. My opinion? Good idea, bad implementation strategy. Why? It detracted from the function of the booths, as people were only interested in getting flash drives and filling them with the resources. My colleagues catered to a few ‘patients’ though, but it could have been better.
Flash drives were finished (thankfully) so people concentrated more on the resources, and then later on practical questions around social networks, apps, etc.
- The conference was brilliant; and a resounding success. The sessions (minus the ones where the presentations were MS Word documents) were timely, and the discussions were as robust as they were controversial.
- It was nice to see young people actively engaging their leaders, asking questions, demanding answers and accounts, etc.
- My team was brilliant. Amongst other things, they braced the heat (and the atrium was scorching) and were patient even when people didn’t come early. I know what feels like to have so much to give and no one comes for it.
- Young people are keen on exploring social media tools. What tools/networks they need is a totally different matter but the enthusiasm is there; the need to know is there.
- The government of the day more than ever recognizes that young people can/will not be relegated to the background anymore. They have a voice.
What’s the way forward though? What’s the next thing to do? I’m interested and currently researching ways to step down communication for people without internet connections, exploring text messaging, etc. Why? Social media is essentially people on the one hand, people on the other, and technology in the middle.
Take a moment to look at the picture. I found it on Jack Media London’s page on Facebook. While I don’t have good memories of Jack Media London, the picture looked really interesting so I saved it, and have studied it for a little while now.
Thrust for today is the question, what do you really need? For that new business venture, that social or commercial enterprise, that idea you’ve been toying with. How do you publicize it, get it out there?
In these days of social platforms literally becoming a panacea for all our lives, business or otherwise, it is easy to think that every business venture a Facebook and/or Twitter page. You look at the statistics on subscribers and think, where else do I advertise my business but on these?
At the just concluded New Media and Governance: Tools and Trends Conference held in Abuja, I listened in on a friend’s session. Femi Longe is the co-founder of CCHub, the brains behind brilliant projects like this, this, and this. One of the things he talked about was identifying your market. A few of us had a chat afterwards further buttressing the point that the fact that there are over 850 million worldwide Facebook users does not mean that your market is there.
For example, if you’re targeting people who live in a village without electricity, or even people who are educated but computer illiterate, of what use will Facebook be? If you put that business on Twitter, you’d gain a few followers, but when did random followers on Twitter ever translate to money in the bank? Even if you bought Facebook ads from today till the day you leave this earth, if the circumstances of your target audience have not changed, you might as well be selling wedding rings to toddlers!
Research can never be replaced by facts. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, even Blackberry Messenger are not the answers to everything. What if your audience don’t have Blackberry phones? You’ll literally BB broadcast yourself into penury!
What am I saying? Do your market research. Not all social networks will be appropriate for your business, free and wonderful as they are. Some ventures around these parts will not even require social media at all. It is ok for that to happen.
If you need expert advice, want to understand what will and what won’t work, get in touch. Use the contact me page (where there are multiple ways to get at me), or tweet @chiomachuka. Lots of options cos……… not everyone is on Twitter.
It’s the New Media and Governance: Tools and Trends Conference! Full information about the speakers and programme is here!! You’re welcome to join the event below by tweeting with the hash tag #NGNewMedia. Enjoy!
Week Three of the Voices of Our Future application process, and I’m learning a lot!! We’ve got one more week and then our number is whittled down to 30, wish me luck!!! This week’s learning materials dealt with collaboration, and the function of networks and platforms, including World Pulse. On to the question quickly…”
Write a 500 word or less article that describes:
- What are your challenges and barriers to creating change in your community?
- What are some of your present solutions to overcoming these challenges and barriers?
- How do you currently use, or see the possibility of using, PulseWire and other online communities to overcome these challenges?”
What’s my community? Nuclear would be Abuja, the city I lived in before resuming at Birmingham City University, and the extended is my beloved country Nigeria. Abuja is the Federal Capital Territory and seat of government for my nation. It is where ‘everything’ happens, where major, life-changing contracts are given, where young people are referred to as ‘upwardly mobile’, an overused cliché (in my opinion).
That established, there are two challenges: First is people thinking that social media advocacy exists only online, promptly forgetting the real world, offline interactions that actually drive these projects. Second is that in my community, there are still too few people using social media platforms to actually constitute a sizable enough force, at least numerically. (Having said that though, a lone voice may often achieve more than a mob!)
I have been a blogger for about four years now and because I have a decent following, it has become my voice, the strongest tool for pushing/publishing causes I believe in. For example, in January a few friends put together a ‘bowling for boobs’ event to raise money to run subsidized breast and cervical cancer tests in Abuja. I had recently lost a colleague to breast cancer so I wrote about it and used it to publicise the event. There have been several other instances before and since then but most notable for me was the incident with the April 2011 elections in my country. There was this horrible outbreak of violence in the Northern part of the country, and most people were quick to say it was a Christian/Muslim ‘war’. I was in Birmingham at the time but I had read that it wasn’t a religious issue so I got in touch with a native from one of the troubled areas and interviewed him for my blog. It was a totally different perspective, with a historical bent and coming from a native, was a lot more plausible. By tweeting the link and putting it up on Facebook, LinkedIn etc., not only did we start a knowledge based discussion on the blog, but we disabused people’s minds from the religious angle to the crisis. Again, I got the highest number of visits to the blog on that day.
The way I see it, the more ‘relevant’ online communities I belong to, the stronger my voice is, call it amplified even. Rhonda’s story is enlightening but it was Sheila’s account of breast ironing in Cameron getting picked up by CNN, that not only inspired but encouraged me to keep campaigning the way I do now, not forgetting of course the place of offline collaboration as well.
Statistics show that of the 150 million people in my country, 70% are within the 16-40 bracket, and that is the same demographic of the online community. With World Pulse, my voice is amplified and believe me, I’ve got a lot of causes to shout about!
P:S - The links to the posts in the week three assignment are
The post on breast cancer awareness - http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/for-ngozi-anywanwu/
The post election crisis - http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/an-hour-with-elnathan/
- Why I Came (chiomachuka.com)
I told you earlier that from the 6th till the 26th of September, I’ll be participating in an online class, Voices of Our Future organized by World Pulse, and that every week I’ll hand in an assignment, but put up my question and answer for you to see. Well, the question for this week was
“Tell your personal story. Describe the journey that led you to our online community and inspired you to apply for Voices of Our Future. How does this journey fit into your personal vision?”
This was my answer.
August 2010 I resigned my job as an assistant producer drama for the BBC World Service Trust in Abuja, Nigeria because as much as I loved the job, I wanted more. For some reason, I had become restless; I wanted to understand the new wave called social media which some quarters (online and offline) were almost touting as the panacea to all the world’s problems. I wanted to be a part of it for my country, wanted to know what this ‘big thing’ was about. It would be the only branch of the media I hadn’t professionally explored, having done short stints with print, television, and radio. I had already secured admission and so in September, I packed my bags, left the life I had known for 24 years, and moved to Birmingham to study social media for a Master’s Degree at Birmingham City University.
Passionate as I am about youth participation in governance, human rights, and an unhindered flow of truthful information from a government to its people, I was intrigued by the concepts (and practise of) open data, community collaboration (offline initiated online), and the idea of intelligent societies. I started to think of my country every single day, the vast opportunities for development with social media, and to dream of a period when the only issue on the front banner for my government would be ‘a race to digital inclusion’ which is a project going on in the UK now to get everyone online by 2012. That would be our main issue, not electricity, which is haphazard in some areas and non existent in others; not security, what with the spate of bombings that have rocked the country since the beginning of last year, and definitely not the debasement and rapture of morals in our youth, manifesting in five university undergraduates making a one hour video of themselves gang raping a female undergraduate. Did I mention they put this video online? No, I dream of digital inclusion because it presupposes that we would have sorted out these other issues.
It is in wanting to be a part of the ‘sorting out’ that I found World Pulse. After attending an event where I learnt about the power of networks, platforms and collaboration, I went on Google and using different keywords, searched out Journalisted, Red Tent of England, and World Pulse. I joined all three for different reasons; World Pulse and the Voices of Our Future program for three:
1. to take advantage of the opportunity to tap from the vast knowledge from the training materials and the essays from other women,
2. to see what projects other members of the class are working on, and align myself with the ones that interest me
3. to get equipped with skills I can share with other young people that they in turn can share with others; there’s no limit to the ripple effect it would create!
This is why I came…..
- What to Do With Social Media? (chiomachuka.com)
I had heard of Uche Chuta (@nnabros) long before I met him; founder of Naija Ryders, a popular networking site for Nigerians at home and in the diaspora. However it was his role as the Head of Technology at Neighbour to Neighbour, an NGO but also the vehicle by which Nigeria’s sitting President campaigned during the build-up to the elections that led me to interview him on the 21st of July 2011.
At home with social media (being the creator of a network himself), Mr Chuta answered questions in an audio interview which I have converted to a slide show so that everyone (including people with special needs) can access both the questions and the answers.
Questions Uche responded to include:
* What’s your name and what do you do?
* What social media platforms do you use personally?
* Tell us about Naija Ryders
* What has been the greatest success with Naija Ryders for you?
* You’re saying your earliest interaction with social media wasn’t circa 2007/2008 like everyone else?
* What stats do you have around Naija Ryders?
* What negative/positive stories do you have around your usage of social media?
* What specific role did you fill as Head of Technology for the Neighbour to Neighbour campaign?
* What are your thoughts on the emerging middle class (Nigerians aged 18 – 40) who are both digitally enabled and politically aware?
* Do you think the elections of 2011 were as free and fair as the media have said? Why?
* Professionally now, what negative stories did your office have with its usage of social media and interaction with the public?
* There are 6 gubernatorial elections holding in July 2012; what are your predictions as far as social media is concerned?
* What lessons did you learn personally and as a professional from using social media tools and platforms in the elections?
* Going forward, what is the future of social media in Nigeria vis a vis the challenge literacy poses for engaging with social media?
Uche agreed to do a short video at the end of the interview on his understanding of social media. Enjoy. Please note that the full audio for this interview will be available soon