I went to my first Third Tuesday social media meetup earlier this week. Great fun, and interesting discusion too. Apparently the largest turnout ever to one of these events! Yup, social media is growing in Ottawa.
The first one from Brendan’s list speaks to the issue of perspective. What is really the “shiny new thing” in social media?
… while SNO’s [shiny new objects] are emerging every day, the reality is that the majority of our clients are only now taking their first steps into what might best be described as the “tried and true” – blogs, Youtube, Facebook etc. – for the most part because it is these tools that align best with their objectives, and where the most examples of success exist.
This is my reality. For many of us in Govt, the so-called tried and true in social media *is* the shiny new thing.
Was talking about this with colleagues around work in the last couple of days. Awareness of recently launched social apps is very low – most of the people I work with have never heard of FriendFeed or what have you. To many, the good ol’ blogosphere is so cutting edge, it’s scary. And Facebook? It is very much seen as a no-go zone – it’s blocked at work for many civil serfs around town (luckily not at the place where I work, but weirdly visiting online social networks is against our IT security policy – don’t ask, don’t tell, I guess.)
One area where there would appear to be fewer roadblocks would be online video and audio. This because it can be done without really being social. People think of YouTube or podcasting as social media, but the next thought is not often about the community and sharing aspect but about the video or audio content itself. But this stuff is just multimedia – in our context as long as you’ve got equivalent English and French versions and you’ve posted the transcript for accessibility, you’re pretty much golden. It doesn’t really move into the social media realm until the feedback loop with a community gets going.
Ah well, it’s a start. Cultivating our federal web presences so that they have more engaging content is as good an entry point as any. Multimedia content can act as a seed from which we can grow into readiness for engaging communities online. And frankly I’d rather watch a video online than read a web page that scrolls 10 screens of text.