Archive for January, 2009

You’re Doing it Right; Why Isn’t it Working?

January 27th, 2009 112 comments

The Secret to Twitter

Chris Brogan wrote a great post today entitled “You’re Doing it Wrong”.  This fit so well with a post I had drafted last night I decided to turn it into a follow-up post.

Spend 5 minutes on Twitter and you are bound to find an expert, guru, or maven in just about any field; especially social media, marketing, and SEO.

Look at the list Chris put together and you’ll notice a common theme.  Rapid expansion and aggressive marketing is not the secret behind social media.

Social media is not the place for instant celebrity.

But even if you’re not doing it wrong, sometimes it feels like thinks aren’t working. Why?

There are 2 key principles to social media. Two reasons why people often start out doing things right, but end up doing things wrong:

  1. Patience, slow growth wins over aggressive expansion
  2. Build relationships along the way, interact and engage

We don’t like to wait.  The catch-22 of Twitter is it’s speed.  It’s tempting to join a network like Twitter and follow everyone under the sun because it’s easy and that feels like success.  But even if you pick up 500 or 600 auto-follow’s or a few polite follow-backs, you’ll quickly find you’re not the success you think you are.

Social media works because people talk to each other.  Aggressive expansion only results in one-way communication; and that will get you nowhere. 

There are a lot of really good posts about Twitter.  I’m sure you’ve read them, but if you haven’t this is a good starter list: (please add in the comments below more great posts on Twitter and social media)

Categories: Project Rethink Tags:


January 12th, 2009 58 comments

My latest read was Remix by Lawrence Lessig.  Simply put this book describes an “hybrid” economy where commercial and non-commercial business models co-exist and actually thrive off one another.  When a need surfaces, commercial entities create a means, communities build the content and both benefit from the solution.  The commercial entities often see a return on their investment, while communities continue to grow and benefit from the other value created by content.  Lessig argues that these communities create culture though original works and through the remix of works created by others; essentially adding to the value created by others.  He challenges modern-day copyright and intellectual property right laws, and presents a strong case.

Argue as you might, this book is backed with all of the supporting evidence one would come to expect from a distinguished law professor.  I’ve read much of Lessig’s work, and I must admit I agreed with his premise going into the book; but there is an interesting dynamic in how he presents his case.  This book is hardly theoretical, many of the examples he uses (Flickr, Youtube, Redhat) are all working  examples of everything he presents.

Lessig’s argument is not that these entities can exist, but that they should continue to exist and should be encouraged in the years to come.

Remix Reviews

Based on the nature of the book, I thought it appropriate to bring some reviews by other critics

Lessig’s proposals for revising copyright are compelling, because they rethink intellectual-property rights without abandoning them.

Briefly Noted, The New Yorker.

“A public intellectual of zealous spirit, a skilful polemicist engaged in the discourse of law, politics and the worldwide web – Lawrence Lessig is a prophet for the internet age.”

Lewis Jones, The sharing generation, in the Financial Times.

“It is not easy having a calm conversation about media these days. … The most potent bombs have been thrown by Lawrence Lessig, a law professor, litigator, and author.”

L. Gordon Crovitz, Remix by Lawrence Lessig, in Commentary.

Lawrence Lessig on The Colbert Report, January 8th 2009.

The Bottom Line

There are people who agree with this book and people who don’t; I just happen to be one of those people who does agree with this book.  But it might not be the reason you expect.  Lessig presents an excellent argument for the hybrid economy, but the most compelling evidence to date is the world around us.  

Look at the “breakout” companies of the last 10-15 years. Google, Youtube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter; all centered around the idea that the community adds value.  Lessig quotes a gentleman in his book, and I apologize I could not find the reference (if someone finds it please comment below) who says, “20 years from now this won’t even be an issue”.  His point was simply that, 20-30 years from now the managers choosing the projects, the venture capitalists signing the checks, and the CEOs driving major corporations are going to be people who were born this digital world of remix.  The companies won’t be breakout companies forever. They thrive on community created culture.

If the Google’s and Facebook’s of the world are in fact “breakout” companies and startups, their CEOs are merely breaking out from a pack of likeminded individuals, who 20-30 years from now will catch up and hybrid will become the norm.

Remix Links

Categories: Project Rethink Tags: