February 10, 2010

Obviously it’s been a while since my mast blog entry. Since then I’ve finished the Wake Forest Executive MBA Program, had a great holiday season with the family, and had a wild January getting fully back into the swing of things at work. In the past month, I’ve had numerous specific opportunities to apply concepts and frameworks from B-school, and I look forward to reflecting on some of those on this blog going forward.

Something fairly interesting happened today that prompted me to reboot this blog. Early in the morning, I had an issue making a call with my cell phone. After pulling the battery and while waiting for the phone restart I noticed a few tweets by other local Roanokers commenting on issues they were having with Verizon Service. I sent this tweet to share my experience. Not News.

Or was it? A short time later I got a couple emails and IMs from friends pointing me to this story on Roanoke.com. My tweet made the news! I felt flattered. When I stopped to think about the whole thing for a minute, I realized that there are a few interesting dynamics to this event.

From my perspective, I chose to post this tweet not to complain, but to validate others’ concerns that there are others experiencing problems. To me, this is one of the core benefits of social media, especially one with a locality focus. It’s a medium to test, explore, and query without making claims.

From the Roanoke Times perspective, why did they choose my tweet to quote? I suppose I managed to capture the essence of this being a widespread issue. I also think they might have liked my vocabulary choice.

Thanks UrbanDictionary.com

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this ordeal, though, has nothing to do with me or this specific event. What actually happened here is that a “mainstream” news broker essentially scoured public social media for interesting chatter, and used it directly as their primary content on a story. Did they treat this content the same as they would have treated other publicly posted content? They did not provide any links to the source tweets or to my Twitter page. They didn’t even directly list my twitter ID. Luckily @JimSchweitzer is easy to figure out. Somehow I feel that If this content would have been in a blog post, there at least would have been a link.

I’m not angry. I’m still content that someone appreciated my contribution to the local social web. I’m just wondering if this is a trend that’s happening all over. Is social media becoming a crutch for the traditional content generators in a time where news has to be lightning fast to be relevant? Putting the MBA hat on for a second, this seems to be a case where someone is failing to capture value. In this case, I think that someone is the content generator – someone like me. This system is wonky.

After a few months of posting blog entries, I’m still building a base following of interested readers. I’ve been pleased with how Twitter provides a broadcast medium for notifications of new posts.  My worry though, is that I tend to only have time to write these posts in the evening or late night and if I send a tweet to announce it it may never be seen. I think my target audience is fellow business people. Is this group more likely to check their Twitter feed at night, or during the work day?

I call this the Twitter Time Shift because compared to something like RSS which is sticky, tweets seem to have a brief shelf life, especially if the follower has a large list who she follows. There’s a phenomenon here that needs to be fleshed out more.

I suppose I’m looking for feedback.

If you were interested in reading my posts, would you be more likely to see my tweet in the morning or evening?

Is there any stigma to a repeat tweet spread over time? Does it become spam when content is duplicated? What are the time boundaries on this?

I’ll tweet this now, and again in the morning and see what happens. I’m interested to hear comments on the above questions as well as a general review of the content I’ve produced to date.