Why James Madison Would Hate Social Media


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Social media for public information officers. Why it's naturally tough for government agencies to participate in social media, but why it's also necessary. Presented to the City of Portland, OR public information officers in September 2009. WARNING: May contain references to James Madison, Federalist No. 10, and other civics geekery.

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Why James Madison Would Hate Social Media

  1. 2. For the Masses, For the Individual Using Social Media for Public Information Jamie Beckland, Emerging Media Specialist
  2. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Why does James Madison hate social media? </li></ul><ul><li>Participation Venues and Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring Tools and Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
  3. 4. The Violence of Faction <ul><li>“ Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction… </li></ul><ul><li>“ By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” </li></ul><ul><li>-James Madison, November 22, 1787 </li></ul><ul><li>The Federalist No. 10 </li></ul><ul><li>The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued) </li></ul>
  4. 5. The Violence of Faction <ul><li>James Madison says that a democracy cannot allow too much power to aggregate – because if that happens, the majority faction can do violence to other factions. </li></ul>
  5. 6. What is Social Media? <ul><li>People connecting with other people online around shared interests, history, identity, experience, and other ideas </li></ul>
  6. 7. Social Media = Factions! Homeless Advocates Environmentalists Foodies Transportation Junkies
  7. 8. Social Media = Factions! <ul><li>Homeless Advocates </li></ul>
  8. 9. Social Media = Factions! <ul><li>Environmentalists </li></ul>
  9. 10. Social Media = Factions! <ul><li>Foodies </li></ul><ul><li>PortlandFood.org </li></ul>
  10. 11. Social Media = Factions! <ul><li>Transportation Junkies </li></ul>
  11. 12. A Natural Conflict… <ul><li>Democracy must prevent too much aggregation of power </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media naturally aggregates communities around ideas, hence, builds power </li></ul><ul><li>These two concepts are naturally in conflict; the founding fathers would have been wary of any force as powerful as Social Media </li></ul>
  12. 13. Example: 2009 Health Care Debate <ul><li>Government: Distributed Power </li></ul><ul><li>(Goal: all must agree on one bill) </li></ul><ul><li>Senate Finance Committee </li></ul><ul><li>Senate Ways and Means Committee </li></ul><ul><li>Senate Energy Committee </li></ul><ul><li>Senate Commerce Committee </li></ul><ul><li>House Finance Committee </li></ul><ul><li>House Ways and Means Committee </li></ul><ul><li>House Energy Committee </li></ul><ul><li>House Commerce Committee </li></ul><ul><li>The White House </li></ul>Social Media: Concentrated Power (Goal: each advocates for their own vision of health care to prevail) MoveOn.org HUPAC: Health Underwriters Labor Unions Chamber of Commerce PAC Americans for Prosperity Club for Growth AARP Stand for Children And many, many more
  13. 14. <ul><li>If Government and Factions are naturally at odds with each other, the PIO serves to bridge the divide. </li></ul>What’s a Public Information Officer to do?
  14. 15. What’s a Public Information Officer to do? <ul><li>How the PIO Should Use Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>Use the democratizing power of the medium to distribute power </li></ul><ul><li>Disseminate information more widely than traditional media </li></ul><ul><li>Find niches that consider your issues in different ways </li></ul><ul><li>Participate actively in conversations across the web </li></ul><ul><li>Identify yourself and your position in social media to encourage trust and voice of authority </li></ul>
  15. 16. Participation Venues and Tactics
  16. 17. ATTENTION! ACHTUNG! ¡ATENCIÓN! <ul><li>The next slide is the most important slide in this presentation. </li></ul>
  17. 18. The #1 Rule of Social Media <ul><li>Be part of the community. </li></ul><ul><li>That means: </li></ul><ul><li>Add value to the conversation (no “me too” comments) </li></ul><ul><li>Be there regularly – even (especially!) when you don’t need anything </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t always talk about yourself </li></ul><ul><li>One part common sense, one part the Golden Rule </li></ul>
  18. 19. Beyond Facebook and Twitter… <ul><li>Facebook and Twitter are both important resources, but Social Media is much bigger than these two sites. </li></ul><ul><li>And, for the PIO, Facebook and Twitter are not the most helpful resources </li></ul><ul><li>Other resources: </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul><ul><li>Social Sharing Sites </li></ul>
  19. 20. Blogs <ul><li>Why? Bloggers are subject matter experts </li></ul><ul><li>Topic-based blogging draws a highly engaged audience </li></ul><ul><li>Different blogs have competing perspectives on the same topic </li></ul><ul><li>High community-building ability, both within the context of an individual blog, and among the blogger network </li></ul><ul><li>Even seemingly small blogs have potential for important reach </li></ul>
  20. 21. Blogs <ul><li>Blog Outreach Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Comments/pingbacks/trackbacks are crucial for bloggers to build traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Engage directly with the blogger through private conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Mid-size and small blogs are where influential thought leaders are found; large blogs have wide coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Resources: Technorati, Blog Rolls </li></ul>
  21. 22. Forums <ul><li>Why? Forums are where experts “give back” </li></ul><ul><li>The most frequent place to ask questions in social media </li></ul><ul><li>An easy and fast way to take the temperature of a conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Resource to test and refine messages </li></ul>
  22. 23. Forums <ul><li>Forum Outreach Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Be active in a variety of venues </li></ul><ul><li>Answer questions where you have expertise and authority </li></ul><ul><li>Take conversations offline (private/direct messages), but indicate in public that you’re doing so; this builds reputation as a trusted resource </li></ul>
  23. 24. Social Sharing Sites <ul><li>What is social sharing? </li></ul><ul><li>Users submit and vote for stories; popular pages rise </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages viral distribution of messages and ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Digg, Redditt, StumbleUpon, Delicious </li></ul>
  24. 25. Social Sharing Sites <ul><li>Why? Social sharing promotes ideas and drives traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages viral distribution of messages and ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Bridges networks/communities, and promotes siloed serendipity </li></ul><ul><li>Allows people to take action easily </li></ul>
  25. 26. Social Sharing Sites <ul><li>Social Sharing Outreach Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Submit everything to social sharing sites; you may find unexpected responses (Tip: make it a part of the process for every new page you put up) </li></ul><ul><li>Use web analytics to gain learnings from the broad audience (e.g. http://su.pr) </li></ul><ul><li>Submit to all sites – each has a different personality </li></ul>
  26. 27. Monitoring Tools and Tactics
  27. 28. What is Social Media Monitoring? <ul><li>Tools that collect and catalog conversations on the web </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor conversations in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs/Blog Comments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publically-available Facebook/MySpace data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analyze and reporting on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Themes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sentiment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Topic Trending </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concept Comparisons </li></ul></ul>
  28. 29. Why is Monitoring Important? <ul><li>It’s the best way to do field observations on your target audience. </li></ul>Tough to do here Easy to do here
  29. 30. Why is Monitoring Important? <ul><li>Monitoring allows for easy, quick, and powerful insights. </li></ul>Competitive Insight -- Marketing 5 Testimonial – Marketing/PR 3 Brand Defense – Marketing/PR 1 Employee Issue -- HR 2
  30. 31. Sample Tool View
  31. 32. How Do I Start? <ul><li>Today : Plan to spend 5% of your time – 2 hours/week </li></ul><ul><li>Start with 1-2 venues to actively participate </li></ul><ul><li>30 min/day, 4 days/week </li></ul><ul><li>First week: read through content to determine voice, issues, interests, sensibilities; make one comment </li></ul>
  32. 33. Why Start Today? <ul><li>Plan to spend 50+% of your P.R. time in social media by 2012. </li></ul><ul><li>Online is already the dominant medium for communication </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media growth is accelerating at an even faster rate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sept. 2008: 6% of time spent online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sept. 2009: 17% of time spent online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>300% growth rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nielsen AdRelevance, 9/25/09 </li></ul></ul>
  33. 34. Social Media Tools <ul><li>“ It’s Not Information Overload, It’s Filter Failure” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clay Shirky </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Mashable Megalists: http://mashable.com/category/megalist/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trusted source for social media resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google Reader: http://reader.google.com </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consolidate all the sites you follow using RSS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google Alerts: http://alerts.google.com </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic monitoring; but they miss a lot </li></ul></ul>
  34. 35. Thank you! <ul><li>Jamie Beckland </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: @whitehorsepdx </li></ul>