Did you know that most major video game consoles have a number of Social Media features? Within the last 3 years the video gaming industry has developed social technology alongside with their own new technology to provide users with another way to stay connected. The three largest markets for computer and video games are the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. 60% of all Americans play electronic games of one kind or another. Currently services like Netflix and Last.fm are available for instant movie and music downloads on consoles like the Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox360. Social Media sites have also made their way to online gaming with features like Facebook and Twitter being available to update other users about your status in the game world as well as the real world. These features connect to your console like they do for your blog… it’s pretty easy and you don’t even need to get out of your seat!
Along with online gaming comes the individual online communities. XBOX uses an online system called LIVE. On XBOX LIVE you are able to connect with friends, listen to streaming music, watch streaming video, get gaming news, download updates and game add-ons as well as play games together with a million other users around the world. How does this relate to Social Media? On XBOX LIVE when you fill out your profile information you are able to choose a “Gamer Zone”. A Gamer Zone is how you choose to use your membership or how you play. Zones include “Pro”, “Recreation”, “Family” and “Underground”. Initially these were set up so players could game with other players in the same Zone… avoiding the overly aggressive pros or finding a gaming syndicate on the underground. The Gamer Zone is the first breakdown on the XBOX LIVE Social Community… by simply checking a players zone you are able to get an idea of how they play, why they play and what kind of games they play while online. This is a big step; knowing and understanding your market.
The more revealing way social media is involved with XBOX LIVE is the Reputation or “Rep System”. Beginning on day-one with the first game you play online you are being ranked. Initially your reputation starts out at 3 out of 5 stars, once you play online and with other people your stars can go up or down. Players are able to view other gamers profiles and depending on the time spent in-game with them, players are able to prefer or avoid them. This then positively or negatively effects your reputation… it’s a full social community at work!
When the system works the way it’s supposed to you’ll be able to avoid players you dislike (either due to skill or over the mic communications) and never have to play with them again. Think of those guys as the SPAM of XBOX LIVE, they’re not really there to help, they just wanna mess stuff up. Equally you will be able to play online with your close friends as well as gamers they have deemed worthy to play with. This opens up a whole new social circle for you online and allows your gamer experience to be even better.
So by using what you know in Social Media and how social communities operate online, how would you market yourself or services in this seemingly untouched resource?
Today the majority of Tweets received were about Twitter becoming the Fastest Growing Search Engine. This piqued our interest so we took a look at the related post and did some “testing” for realistic searching. According to Socialnomics “Twitter Founder Biz Stone at Aspen Ideas Festival announced that Twitter now has over 800 million search queries per day … This roughly equates to 24 billion searches per month which is more than Bing (4.1) and Yahoo (9.4) combined.”
“Adding a search box to your website DOES NOT a search engine make.” - Andrew Mull, Master Internet Developer stated in discussion. You can see that Twitter has a tremendous amount of searches but what you really need to look at is what is being searched. Of course the founder, Biz Stone, would say that they (Twitter) are the next major search engine, it’s free publicity and people really eat it up. So can you blame them for making such a claim? Not really but unfortunately now people are under the impression that Twitter is some kind of search engine. Stone also goes on to say about Twitter, that it is “not a social network,” though many people view it as one. “That’s been a myth since the beginning,” he explained. “We’re much more like an information network or a source of news.” *source
Here is where we disagree. Twitter is a social tool, not a search engine. Any developer who has tried to create a well-oiled search engine knows that this is no easy task. When you look at all the intricacies of code and how search engines operate and then look at Twitter… it’s like comparing a single book to an entire library. The library being Google, it’s algorithms and code base.
There is no doubt that Twitter’s numbers are accurate. We are sure that Twitter gets a great amount of searches but we would surmise that most are looking for individual friends or celebrities …or trying to find specific Tweeters that are in the same industry. These users are NOT using Twitter for search in the traditional sense.
To test our hypothesis we went to Twitter and to Google and typed “Capital of Denmark” in their respective search boxes. All we really wanted to know was how fast and easily we could find “Copenhagen”. Surprise, surprise, Google performed better giving us the necessary information in the first link followed by MORE detailed information in other links. Twitter also gives us the information we’re looking for but further down in the “search results” and among other random postings that may mention any of the search terms. Twitter’s short comings are well known so there is no reason to reiterate the obvious. However, it must be known that Twitter lacks the structure and organization to function as a search engine or to realistically compete with Google and Yahoo! Twitter IS a social network simply for the fact that you use it to be social and NOT to search. When Twitter can search outside of itself (for example) instead of just referencing their own stored content, THEN we’ll talk “Search Engine”. Sorry, Biz, but we think you spoke too soon.
It seems that all to often much of what “web marketers” do when they talk about the industry and especially during “webinars” is common sense. We have been in the industry for over a decade (each) and have witnessed the inception of web marketing, search engine optimization and social media. During that time some pretty basic rules were established and people went about their merry way. When blogging hit it’s height it was a huge need to have a blog and now with Twitter hitting 2 billion tweets per month everyone also has a Twitter account (we’re at @minddnd by the way). Now Twitter and blogging is a huge market and everyone is using them.
Here’s the rub…
Twitter users typically follow tweets from what they are interested in whether it’s sports, celebrity, entertainment, music or news, people follow what they like. Now ask yourself, as a web marketer, what do you like? You like blogging tips, SEO tips, you enjoy webinars and new technology. Now ask yourself a follow-up question (because all good marketers should follow up) – since you like these things, who do you follow? If you’re like 90% of the internet marketers and advertisers on Twitter you’re following other marketers and advertisers!
So basically, web marketers are advertising to each other, funny isn’t it?
You could say that it’s simply sharing information and that the community as a whole is learning from this sharing. To a degree you would be correct but what we usually see coming across our tweets are links and retweets about the same old information… It’s either the same drivel that’s been said a thousand times or it’s just painfully obvious information that everyone should already know. As an example, let’s take some tweets that were recently retweeted from a webinar. We’re not using names here, there is no blame or attack, we simply would like to point out how insanely obvious this stuff really is.
“If you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, don’t bother promoting it.”
Really? You needed to be told this? In school there was an instructor who talked about a seven letter word that no one could use until they graduated. That word was “Passion” and the reason you couldn’t say it until you graduated was because you had yet to prove that you had that passion for what you did. If you don’t love what you do, why the hell would you ever talk about it? (see Twitter points above)
“Say thank you! Thanking people is the most underrated action in the world.”
Again, it’s pretty obvious and if you need to be told to say “Thank You” the problem lies less with you and more with your social graces. It’s just the civilized thing to do. If someone provides any information to you, whether it’s good or bad, a simple “thank you” can make all the difference in the world. It’s professional, it’s nice. Say “Thank You”.
“It’s up to you to figure out how to use social media tools at your disposal to your advantage!”
Now this one just really puts the icing on the cake. Ultimately this is a cop-out. So people tuned in to hear what you have to say. You speak about social media and marketing and then you tell the audience that “it’s up to you to figure it out”! Then please tell me why anyone should listen to you? If all there is to it is to figure it out for yourself why bother doing a webinar? If anyone can do it and do it themselves how valuable is your information, how valuable are you?
If you really want to make a difference you need to stick to one of the oldest and most prevalent rules set aside so many years ago: be original. It’s such an easy concept yet is often not followed. Teach something people don’t already know; provide them with actual value instead of teasing them. Most of all please use common sense when retweeting or blogging… reiterating the same painfully obvious content gets us (and your other followers) nowhere.
“Where you goin? NOWHERE!”
That’s your DUH moment of the day.