Today I&#x2019;d like to share an emeging idea and a key insight that&#x2019;s informing how we think about social media and brands at iCrossing.
Let&#x2019;s be clear up front: this isn&#x2019;t a guide to how to use social media jargon, or how social media works - there are plenty of resources for that online and I&#x2019;m assuming a certain level of familairity with social media among people who would sign up for a WOMMA webinar.
What we will be discussing is the idea of social web literacy - or web literacy more broadly - and its importance for, well, everyone, but us as individuals and for the brands and organisations we work with.
I&#x2019;m trying to stretch my own social web literacy today by keeping an eye on the WOMMA tag on my Tweetdeck while presenting.
If you have ever tried explaining Twitter in a meeting you may have heard something along these lines.
It usually comes with a sneer. It sometimes feels like a gauntlet being thrown down. Sometimes it is your job to pick it up - sometimes it is your duty as a citizen of the web.
I mean, I don&#x2019;t like
Over the past our years I have had the same conversations over dinner, the same marketing meetings about Facebook and blogs...
I like to win arguments - I always have. But over the years I have learned to realise that not every conversation is conducted on rational grounds.
Often people are saying something other than they mean. Sometimes they aren&#x2019;t saying anything at all - their words form and emotional response.
&#x201C;Yuk!&#x201D; or &#x201C;Eek!&#x201D;
So we comfort them, or try to convince them of the virtues of the technology or the platform...
It is because people think they are literate - because they read and write.
We think they are web listerate - because they can use email, a browser, a social network, without too much trouble...
They look at Twitter, they dive in, with a great deal of good faith and expectations that all will be revealed to them.
...and someone is talking about what they had for breakfast.
Truth is my network got it before me by a long stretch.
But I stuck around because they did. And because they kept finding new ways to make it useful to them.
So it started becoming more useful to me.
I&#x2019;d been here before with blogs. I knew the best thing to do was to hang around and if something made sense to people who I liked and respected it was worth trying to learn.
Plus... I had some literacy, some skills I could bring with me from Facebook and blogs and my broader web literacy.
I love the premise of Google Wave - that email is based on an analogy that is pre-web.
And deep down I loathe email. It&#x2019;s grinding up of my time, its needy completism, its easy transfer of responsibility to &#x201C;someone&#x201D; in the To line...
But first glance at Google Wave means I know I will need to learn this one. I know I will start off illiterate.
Maybe that&#x2019;s a key spect of social web liteeracy - being comfortable with having to learn stuff every other week.
Literacy. It&#x2019;s all about not conflating the technology, the marvel of the platform with with the uses that it is put to.
This is the device.
But it was mass literacy that was the behaviour. The behaviour which turned religion, politics, commerce, art, society spinning about.
Howard Rheingold got me thinking about literacy.
He calls it network literacy. I like that. Maybe I should stick with that.
But as my more marketing literate colleagues are always telling me - you talk about networks and they think you mean TV, or telecoms.
Me - I think we&#x2019;ll get there. But meantime...
...social web literacy is what I will bang on about.
It&#x2019;s all about personally and around our wider organsiations, developing and spreading social web literacy...
That&#x2019;s quite a challenge - so I want to talk about some models for thinking about it...
Ross Mayfield - no relation - is someone who has consistently cut through to the quick about how social media works - or rather how we work with it.
I&#x2019;m still antranced by his partcipatioin curve.
As m&#x2019;learned colleague Jim Byford pointed out, it describes the learning journey of someone using social media, the ladder of participation as Forrester call it.