This week, Jen Zingsheim is joined by co-host Chip Griffin to discuss The New Yorker magazine’s use of Facebook for readers to access articles, how–and when–to ignore social media rules, and the current state of writing in communications. Are texts and Tweets really to blame for the sorry state of writing?
This week’s show is 28 minutes in length.
- First, Chip and Jen discuss a post that appeared on Inside Facebook about the New Yorker’s initiative that allows readers who have “liked” their page access to certain articles. Dubbed a ‘like-gate’ instead of a pay wall, the system also allows readers to share what they’ve read, and a click on the link then takes others to the New Yorker’s Facebook page. Jen wonders how this translates to the loyalty of those who have “liked” the page simply to access an article. Chip points out that they are providing a benefit to those who have liked the brand–more of a reward. Jen asks if there’s any advertising value to this–how will it be monetized–and what is the true value of a “like”? Chip points out that a high fan count isn’t as important as an engaged fan base, and that this could indicative of a move by publications to move back to targeting their audiences more precisely.
- Next, the two discuss a Social Media Explorer post titled “How to (successfully) break the first rule of social media.” The rule–that you should know your objectives before you kick off any social media initiative–certainly can be broken. Chip points out that experimenting is fine, good even–but you have to look at the level of engagement. Jumping in by hiring a team of Twitterers and a full-scale program could be an expensive mistake. In a situation like that, testing the waters and slowly growing acclimated to social media is fine–and, Chip points out this is how we all started. Jen asks if part of the push for clean measurement and jumping in with both feet has to do with pressure from the C-suite to demonstrate value from the get-go. Chip says that every organization needs to figure out what will work for them, and that if no one tries anything new, there would be no new ideas, and no new companies. Jen asks if we are penalizing companies and not allowing them to make mistakes–Chip thinks that as a social media community, we’ve gotten better about *not* jumping on brands, and are improving. You have to have an environment that allows mistakes.
- Finally, the two discuss a post on Waxing UnLyrical about the assault on the English language perpetrated by texting and Tweeting. Chip says that the state of writing in the business community right now is atrocious, but that it doesn’t have anything to do with texting. To him, it comes down to communications: how well can you convey your point? Twitter can actually be good for this, as you have to get to the point quickly. Chip feels writing and communications are two of the most important skills anyone can bring to a job. Jen thinks that part of the problem is that people are reading less, and feels strong readers make strong writers. Chip points out that people are reading more now–it’s not the same type of reading, as it is done online–but the total volume read is higher. Chip points out that people have bad fundamentals, and this is exacerbated by the fact that people are producing more content. The speed and volume make it more likely someone will make a mistake, and that taking a break to think about what one is trying to say might make a huge difference.