Things I’ve Learned from Lately #41

“Things I’ve Learned from Lately” is a regular compilation of articles that have made me a smarter social media marketer. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too.

Creating the Appearance of Success - Kevin Ashton writes about a fake Twitter account he created for Santiago Swallow, and it’s an account anyone would love to have with lots of followers and, of course, the “verified” symbol. The account was created with $68 and two hours as Ashton purchased fake Twitter followers, crated a fake “verified” logo on the cover image, used an automatic tweet generator and a fake Wikipedia biography. The experiment shows that “it is easy to mistake popularity for credibility” on social media.

Key Takeaway: As much as social media is touted to be about transparency and relationships, there’s also a lot of smoke and mirrors out there. Brands should know that you can’t fake success in this space. They’re only fooling themselves by focusing on cosmetics and not substance.

How Social Changes Our Time Perspective - Douglas Rushkoff is interviewed in this piece from Quentin Hardy of The New York Times. Rushkoff points out that technology has interrupted the normal social flow, and this has caused us to try to be non-linear when we are, in fact, linear beings. We’re constantly interrupted, and instead of moving in a single direction, we’re constantly interrupted by the “latest message coming in.”

Key Takeaway: Rushkoff makes you think. He points out that we don’t really fully understand how technology is affecting our lives. “Computers have learned more about us than we’ve learned about them,” he states. The first generation to experience this onslaught of technology is still in its prime. We won’t know the full impact of technology for some time.

The Implications of Irresponsibility – Jason Falls explores the social media aftermath of the Boston Marathon attacks. False reports, assumptions and false accusations polluted the benefit that social media brings to society and will have implications for the future. The prevalence of misinformation will likely be tested at some point in the courts. It may not be this incident. It may be one in the near or distant future, but at some point irresponsible reporting will be punished, and websites like Buzzfeed may be in trouble.

Key Takeaway: We saw the best and the worst parts of social media after the bombing. Some people came out to solicit donations and even offer their homes. While others, perhaps with the right motivations, essentially became online vigilantes. We’re still finding our way as a society around what is and isn’t okay. The rules of engagement aren’t always clear, but as Falls points out, our collective actions have power to do good and bad.

API Supply and Demand – Brian Proffitt looks at the current state of APIs, a once largely unknown feature that is now the underpinning of many web and mobile apps. APIs are becoming the most sustainable architectural approach between how platforms and apps talk to each other, but the real opportunity is in gathering data.

Key Takeaway: We’re operating in an era of data and seamless transitions. Consumers want to take their information from place to place, hence the rise of social log-ins. As marketers we can use this insight to deliver more compelling consumer experiences because when those experiences are compelling, consumers will see value in exchanging data.