Content vs. Conversation

I haven’t posted in here in a while because I’ve been busy working on some really interesting projects. The main one has been to use social media to build grassroots awareness for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. There hasn’t been anything super flashy (not yet at least) but just open, direct engagement with established communities – Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, etc. The response has been great – after less than a week we have one of the largest September 11 groups on Flickr.

One of the things that has been especially interesting to me as I’ve worked on this is the difference in thinking needed for social media vs traditional media. In social media we’re always talking about conversation and engagement. We let ideas out into communities and allow them to develop and expand as they will. So far on this project that’s worked well.

There’s one community that we want to be involved with that is more controlled and is looking for more detailed information before becoming engaged. Someone mentioned that we’d have to provide the content for the site. What we need to provide isn’t the content. What we need to provide is the information to get the conversation started and then let the conversation itself become the content. This can be a hard shift in thinking.

[tags]social media, public relations, content vs conversation[/tags]

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3 thoughts on “Content vs. Conversation

  1. Yes it was (and is) a community site. They want to maintain a higher degree of control over the content – or at least over whom gets to contribute content rather than just comments.

  2. That reminds me of several conversations I’ve had with media measurement companies, like Nielson buzzmetrics and umbria. These companies have to form partnership aggreements with forum hosts to spider their content.

    Is it the engagement they are worried about or how you might use what people say outside the forum?

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