Here’s a thought: If you could have your television remote control or DVR box share your activity with your friends via something like Facebook Connect would you enable that functionality? We seem to have no problem sharing what we’re doing online, with some offline activity bleeding into that as well as we publish online what we’re doing in the real world. But there it’s mostly selective sharing – I’m not going to tell everyone that I just spent 10 minutes petting the cat because, well, I don’t choose to. So would people make different choices on what to watch if they knew that if they stayed on a channel for more than 5 minutes the fact they were watching that program would be broadcast everywhere? Just something that has me thinking today.
I keep playing around with the idea of “life-streaming” but have never quite embraced it the way some people, especially Steve Rubel, have. The closest I come is my FriendFeed profile, which aggregates MMM, CT.WP, Twitter, Delicious, Google Reader and a bunch of my other profiles and accounts, some of which I don’t use all that regularly. That, to my mind, is what a lifestream should be – a single touch-point for all those disparate profiles and outlets where people can go to find everything I do online.
But Steve’s now thinking differently, with a post about how his lifestream is turning more from that model to one that has him posting in one place, with that then being distributed to all those outlets.
Looking at the graphic he uses, the Posterous model increasingly looks backwards to me. Yeah, that’s exactly what Posterous does – easy posting to its platform with it then auto-posting to those other profiles. This isn’t a lifestream, it’s more like lifedistribution. As an example: All of Steve’s Posterous posts are pushed to Twitter, but not all of his Twitter updates are shared on Posterous. Lifestreaming, I think, should aggregate and not distribute since a distribution model means I still have to connect with you on multiple platforms whereas an aggregation model means I get a one-stop-shop.
I get what he’s saying about signal-to-noise ratios, but there are ways to manage that. Cut your RSS feeds, create a “Priorities” column in Tweetdeck, come to the conclusion (as I have) that hanging out on Facebook all day adds nothing of value. The only reason that ratio is lower for him right now is that Posterous has yet to truly explode into the mainstream, despite a number of high-profile people who have adopted it quite fully. Give it a couple of Newsweek stories and that will change.
I’m not ragging on Steve – it’s working for him and that’s great, even if I see some problems with it. We all do what works for us and what makes sense in our own minds, just like we all like music that makes sense to and speaks to us. I just don’t quite agree with him on what the real promise of it is or on what the real value of Posterous really is.
Mack Collier writes thusly in his post about finding the return on investment with corporate social media efforts:
Some people will argue that if you mention the ROI of social media, that you have to speak in terms of dollars in, and dollars out. I’m not going to argue that point, but based on what I’m hearing from BIG companies that are having success with social media, they are getting C-suite buy-in and continued support from their efforts because they are creating something that the c-suite sees the value of for their companies.
That’s a great shift that we’re seeing, especially in the PR field, where ROI is often something that’s difficult to grasp since, as I stated yesterday, the metrics used in PR aren’t always as cut-and-dried and easy to understand as those used in advertising, which PR people are always in conflict with in terms of getting budget and approval.
But as others Mack has interviewed state, not needing to see a direct ROI in sales and such doesn’t mean there aren’t metrics to use to determine success. Buy-in is much easier to get when you can say to C-level execs “Here’s where we are and here’s where we hope to be with the help of this program.” At the end of the day a needle – whatever it is – needs to be moved. What that needle is, though, is something that needs to be agreed upon by all stakeholders in the planning phases, which is where the “value” you’re hoping those C-level folks will see is decided upon so that all involved know where the goal line is and how it’s going to be reached.