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Social Media Food Chain


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A presentation I'm giving at Refresh Savannah tonight about the different types of social web apps, the "food chain" of users and abusers and how people can get started. This is the first Refresh meeting here so I'm not sure who the audience is going to be, hence the kind of fuzzy depth.

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Social Media Food Chain

  1. 1. The Social Media Food Chain Kevin Lawver | Refresh Savannah May 19, 2009 Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  2. 2. The Intro Slide • Hi, I’m Kevin Lawver: giant nerd • I’ve built social sites big (26 million) and small (15k), some of them even won an award or two • I’ve been building web stuff for over a decade, speaking about best practices in building it for six. Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  3. 3. Social adjective: Pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  4. 4. Media the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  5. 5. All Media is Social Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  6. 6. The web just makes it easier to share our social objects and gather feedback. Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  7. 7. Social Objects • Every social network contains primary “social objects”: the thing that powers socialization (drives comments, ratings, links, etc) • Every social object is created by an Author and used or acted on by Users • We’ll talk more about these later, but they are the plankton of the food chain. Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  8. 8. Types of Social Networks Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  9. 9. Meat Markets • They rely on their ability to represent human relationships • They’re all about getting your data and presenting it back to you • They sometimes have a hard time giving you anything to do once they have all your data. • Examples: Facebook, MySpace Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  10. 10. Meat Market’s Primary Social Object? Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  11. 11. You! Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  12. 12. Aspirational • They’re built around art of some kind • Powered by Authors creating more of whatever the prized social object is. • The best inspire people to refine their craft and participation fuels a virtuous circle of activity • Example: Flickr Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  13. 13. But what’s this ‘food chain’ thing? Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  14. 14. The Social Media Food Chain • Platforms and their Creators • Authors • Users • Symbiotes • Archipelagos • Parasites and Predators Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  15. 15. Platforms & Creators • Social Platforms invite participation and dialogue • There are as many different types as their are types of people, but they almost all fall into Meat Markets or Aspirational Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  16. 16. Platforms & Creators • Platforms influence how people interact with each other • We usually have no idea how people will use the platform • The best respond and build features that support how the community uses it, they don’t force users to change behavior Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  17. 17. Authors • In Aspirational Communities, they provide the objects for curation. In Meat Markets, they are the most talked about, most engaged users. • They are the most vocal when things go wrong. • You have to cater to them or you have nothing to build around! Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  18. 18. Users • They may not take the pictures, but they post the comments, tags and traffic that support the site. • They’re your secondary audience - you have to make it easy for them to begin to participate. • Ease them from passive participation to active. Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  19. 19. Symbiotes • They add value to the platform by extending its capabilities • They provide services on top of the basic service - making the platform better without changing it. • Examples: Tweetie, Flickr Export, TweetDeck Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  20. 20. Archipelagos • Outposts for otherwise non-social entities. • They may not be social by themselves, but may serve as aggregators or the voice of a single entity meant to guide the discussion in the social media world. • Example: Blogs, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn Groups, Tumblr Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  21. 21. Parasites & Predators • They add no value to the platform, authors or users, just add noise and confusion • Usually just looking to broadcast, not join in the conversation • Come in without understanding the community culture or norms • They usually end up talking to themselves, selling nothing to no one. Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  22. 22. This is a lot of fancy talk, Mr. Food Chain Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  23. 23. But where do I fit in? Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  24. 24. Well, let’s look at where you can start if you’re not here yet. Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  25. 25. First, you need to decide where home is. Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  26. 26. What’s Home? • A place where you’re comfortable • Where you can talk freely about your passions • Where you can make the most difference Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  27. 27. Start Small • Get a blog. • Write about what you know. • Build karma by giving freely of something that’s of value: advice, art, knowledge Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  28. 28. Benefits of Blogging • It’s yours, so you get to decide on the voice, culture and content • There are no pre-defined rules • It’s a good way to dip your toes in and slowly build an audience • You can always augment it with other social pieces later Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  29. 29. Twitter: The Web’s Dinner Party • Join as a human being with a face, not a thing with a logo • Follow people you know or want to know • Don’t just broadcast. Think of twitter as a dinner party: encourage interesting conversation • Don’t be too noisy Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  30. 30. Facebook • The meat market to end all meat markets • Join, find groups that interest you • Lurk for a while and figure out the culture before diving in • Start a Facebook Page for your product and encourage feedback and conversation • Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  31. 31. General Rules • Be human • Participate, don’t preach. People have highly developed BS detectors • If you wouldn’t say it with your mom in the room, don’t say it online - it will come back to bite you • Have fun! Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  32. 32. Read More! • The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt • Here Comes Everybody! by Clay Shirky • The Cluetrain Manifesto by a bunch of people (also at • Creating Passionate Users: http:// Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  33. 33. Questions? • I covered a lot very quickly • Any questions about: • social objects? • virtuous circle? • anything else? • This could just be the beginning of the discussion Tuesday, May 19, 2009