March 31st, 2011
When moderating communities, you do your best to engage with members and present yourself in a way that makes them comfortable with contributing and posting their thoughts. Being a similar type of person to the members in the community is extremely important so to understand and relate to their opinions. As a male I’m not going to be the best person to moderate a community for pregnant women. How could I ever pretend to relate to members? That just would not work.
It’s for this reason that I was chosen to moderate a community of young (mainly male) students who had just started university. It was felt I was well placed to relate to their lives, interests, thoughts and opinions. Sure, it has been a few years since I graduated university but how much could have changed? I was 18 once. I can relate.
I have come to realise that things have changed. Firstly and probably most significantly is that prevalence of ‘text speech’ becoming a more and more accepted means of writing. Words are replaced with numbers (2 instead of to / too), acronyms replace phrases (By the way becomes BTW) just to name a couple of these intricacies.
In order to best connect with members, I have had to adapt my language and tone to ensure students are comfortable with opening up to me and as such have taken to posting discussions and blogs in the language of the youth. It has been a challenge and I usually find myself writing as I normally would, re-reading and then altering words and phrases to adapt to this strange new language. I’m definitely not there yet but i think that im getting used 2 usin sum of this 2 improve the way i connect wif students. Gr8 isnt it.
I’m interested to see if anyone else has had experiences of their own that they’d like to share?
March 25th, 2011
Marketing is such a young profession and Australia is such a young country it’s easy to forget what history can teach us about these things.
When I think of the earliest examples of great branding I tend to think of mass produced products such as Coca-Cola. But the reality is branding was around long before the Industrial Revolution and mass production.
In fact the word brand is derived from the North Germanic language brandr meaning “to burn.” It refers to the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products. This type of branding we typically associate with branding livestock. But branding has also been around in many formats for centuries.
In fact, an example I recently came across while travelling Europe was, Louis XIV – the Sun King. His branding can be seen all over Versailles and Paris. He left his mark on buildings and so forth, just so we remembered who was responsible for creating them.
I’m sure there are thousands of other examples of branding throughout history that we can learn from.
March 4th, 2011
Remember the movie called Six Degrees of Separation starring Stockard Channing (you know Rizzo from Grease?). O.K. so I’m showing my age now. It also starred a young Will Smith and Donald Sutherland, but enough of that! I had the pleasure of recently reading the script of the play upon which the movie is based. It was written by John Guare in 1990 and it raised this fantastic concept that we are separated at most by only six other people from every other person on this planet. The line itself is said by one of the main characters in the play, Ouisa, and she says…..
“I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation. Between us and everybody else on this planet. The President of the United States. A gondolier in Venice. Fill in the names. I find that A) tremendously comforting we’re so close and B) like Chinese water torture that we’re so close. Because you have to find the right six people to make the connection. It’s not just big names. It’s anyone. A native in a rainforest. A Tierra del Fuegan. An Eskimo. I am bound to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people. It’s a profound thought.”
You can watch the movie trailer where this line is repeated (more or less) or find out more about the history of the theory which apparently came from Nobel Peace Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi who attempted to find out the number of radio relays he would need to cover the earth.
Either way, it sure is a profound thought. There was even a game that someone dreamed up called “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game…… you had to figure out how you were connected to the movie actor, Kevin Bacon (again, it’s an age thing).
But that was back in 1990 (or ’93 for the movie). It’s now 2011 and with social media being the “connection mecca” that it is, I started to wonder how many degrees of separation there are now between me and every other person on this planet. Surely it has to be less than 6……. 4?……. 3?…… who knows? And is it still comforting that we’re now even closer or is it even more torturous because we’re so close. Am I really that bothered about not being connected to an Eskimo or a gondolier in Venice or even Kevin Bacon? I have to admit that I like using Facebook and LinkedIn as a way of connecting with people I might not otherwise have had the chance to. But there are also times when people have tried to connect with me and I’ve thought “I wish it hadn’t been quite so easy for them to find me!” So maybe it’s not about how many degrees of separation there are but how quickly we now can make those connections. Finding “the right six people” (as Ouisa put it) is easier and faster than it’s ever been.
Perhaps John Guare needs to write a sequel to this much loved play and movie to bring it into the 21st century. If he did, what do you think the title of the play would be today? Would it be “Three Degrees of Separation” or would it be “Six Degrees of Separation at the Speed of Light”? Or perhaps you’ve got a better idea?