Participation

1. The world is getting smaller.

2. Despite income inequality, the gap between rich and poor, consumer and company, famous and obscure, is closing. Used to be it would be impossible for the punter to reach the celebrity. Now all he has to do is tweet.

3. Image is everything. Yours doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you’ve got any skeletons in the closet, they’ll come out. Not only did Alicia Keys make a deal with BlackBerry, so did Neil Gaiman. What looks like an easy check might be read completely different by the public. Own your moves and be prepared for backlash.

4. Be available. Have multiple online homes. Allow people to reach you.

5. Don’t react. Would you punch someone willy-nilly on the playground? Don’t knee-jerk react to the haters online. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, they’re just trying to get you down into the hole they’re in.

6. The haters don’t really care about you, check their feed, after they assassinate you, they go on to shoot others. Their desire is to be famous. By interacting, you’re just adding fuel to the fire.

7. Be nimble. Don’t think twice, play. Be unafraid to make mistakes. So much information is crossing the transom, a constant rushing river of data, that your effort will soon be forgotten.

8. Be yourself. Then you can never get in trouble. Your fans will love you, your haters will only stop when you lose your fame. You’re playing to your fans. Be thrilled anybody else cares.

9. Platform hop. MySpace was superseded by Facebook, Twitter is where the action is today, it might not be tomorrow.

10. Be beholden to your fans, not advertisers. This is Facebook’s mistake. So busy trying to make money and placate Wall Street, the service is alienating its users, who provide all its content. Bad policy. Users don’t mind you making money, as long as it doesn’t impact their experience. The gold standard is Google. No one is bothered by Google search ads or mail ads. If your business model pisses off your fans, be very afraid.

11. Instagram is not on BlackBerry—although that might be changing:

Instagram BlackBerry 10 app ‘definitely coming

Alicia Keys is addicted to Instagram. Try getting someone to give up their addiction, almost impossible. Never contract your reach, but concentrate on playing where the people are. Making Instagram less Twitter friendly might be good for Facebook, its owner, but it’s bad for the service.

12. Nothing comes back. To expect MySpace to revive is to expect New Kids On The Block to hit number one.

13. Fans are stunned when you respond.

14. Don’t always be nice. Online is not. Read the comments to this Richard Marx story for edification. The writer’s trying to make Marx look like a jerk. But many commenters feel just the opposite, that the writer is the jerk:

Richard Marx hates my guts

Then again, Marx did break rule number one, don’t respond to the haters.

15. The reason there’s so much bad music is everybody wants to participate! Everybody’s got the tools and everybody feels entitled!

16. Very few rise above the din.

17. Very few cross multiple arenas. A true superstar is discussed by all.

18. Ubiquity fights gravity. You think you want to be the biggest in the world, but then you’ve just got more people trying to drag you down. If you truly have a universal message, spread it. Otherwise, be satisfied with your core.

Turns out everybody wants to participate.

Facebook is about connection, Twitter is about participation.

We were thrilled to learn we could connect with everybody we’ve ever known. Facebook accomplished that. But that’s the past, and the action is in the future.

Just like Wikipedia, Facebook is a great place to study up on people. It’s just not a good place to interact. It’s too slow. Akin to e-mail, where you send and then wait for a reply. In a world of text, Facebook is a phone call. Something too slow and drawn out to be of much utility to the bleeding edge, which is populated by all those youngsters advertisers are truly consumed with.

If you want to build something that lasts, allow people to participate. This is what Amanda Palmer knows and Don Henley does not. That if you’re not willing to get down in the gutter with your fans, you’re done. Rich people might have all the money, but when it comes to social interaction, we’re all in it together. Everybody is a star in his or her own movie. And they hate being ignored.

TV has now become social. If you can’t comment and make fun of what’s on screen, you don’t want to watch. That’s the essence of live. That’s why ratings for live events is so large. It gives the public a chance to play when the most eyeballs are watching. Tweet about a “Seinfeld” rerun and you’ll be the tree falling in the proverbial forest. Have an opinion on what Jodie Foster said at the Golden Globes and you’ll be part of a veritable swarm of like-minded, interested people. Not only are you reacting, engaged by the interaction, deep inside you believe your words might be retweeted to the masses.

It’s funny to watch the Twitter arc. People sign up and tweet incessantly and then stop. They’re just not sure who’s listening. And generally speaking, very few are. Then there are those with miniscule followings who have found their raison d’etre. It keeps them sane, to be a voice in their tiny little world. And then there are events, when everybody’s checking their Twitter feed like mad, wanting to know info and give their opinion on it.

Is Twitter the answer? Is it the last stop?

The only last stop seems to be Amazon. Which started selling books and now sells seemingly everything and reinvests almost all profits, confounding investors. What Jeff Bezos understands is he not busy born is busy dying. If you’re not reinventing yourself every day, if you’re resting on your laurels, it’s just a matter of when you’re marginalized. We live in an accelerated culture wherein Nokia can be king and then an also-ran in a matter of a few years.

This is the new reality. If you’re not planning where you’re going, you’re in the process of stopping.

This is what confounds me about Apple. Without a streaming music component, the iTunes Store takes a huge hit. It may be too late to beat Spotify/MOG and Deezer. Then again, a well-placed strike soon could result in triumph.

That’s the Amazon model. Be first when you can, play catch-up soon when you can’t. Break ground with the Kindle, play catch-up with the Kindle Fire.

Then there’s yesterday’s triumphant marketing effort by Oreo. Whilst the other advertisers were placating fat cats at the game, Oreo tweeted humorously during the blackout and ended up with a ton of free marketing after 15,000 retweets.

How Oreo Won the Marketing Super Bowl With a Timely Blackout Ad on Twitter

Next year, to be sure, every advertiser will have a social media team, like the fifteen person cabal Oreo fielded yesterday.

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