COM0011 – Reddit: The Evolution of the Peer-to-Peer Conversation?

I was at a restaurant having breakfast with my family the other day. We were having a discussion of no importance other than a question came up that nobody at the table knew the answer to. At this point my teenage son piped up and said, “let me ask Reddit”. I had never heard about this before, so I had to ask, “what is Reddit? And why wouldn’t you just do a Google search or go to Wikipedia?” As teenagers love the opportunity to show they know more than their parents do, I received a crash course on Reddit. Once he was done the lecture, I was won over.

For those of you who don’t know about Reddit, ironically, here is the Wikipedia definition (old ways are hard to break):

 Reddit /ˈrɛdɪt/,[3] stylized as reddit,[4] is an entertainment, social networking service and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links. Only registered users can then vote submissions “up” or “down” to organize the posts and determine their position on the site’s pages. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called “subreddits”.

 Why is Reddit the next best thing?

As an adult who mainly uses the internet for information, e-commerce, and direct one-to-one communication (email), I was more interested in the quality of the information posted. I know a large part of the material one finds on the internet is open-sourced, but what intrigued me about Reddit was the part about the posts being peer rated. I love the concept that if you write something that is completely false, the users are going to speak out and tell everyone. Knowing this gives a level of credibility to the posts (or noncredibility, depending on what side of the BS scale the contributor is on). To further this idea, the more posts you make that people agree with, the more credibility you have as a contributor.

The notion of credible information isn’t what really drives the popularity of Reddit. Jason Fagone said this about a typical user of Reddit on Wired in his blog, “How One Reponse to a Reddit Query Became a Big-Budget Flick”

Prufrock451 was pretty clearly a quirky character—he was entirely typical of a habitual Reddit user, and like many other redditors, as they are called, he found the site addictive. More than just a creative outlet or time-killer, Reddit was a game. The object was to amass points—”Reddit karma.” Every time Erwin saw his karma level increase, he felt a little squirt of adrenaline. “People are sweating to make you laugh or make you think or make you hate them,” Erwin says. “It’s the human condition, plus points.”

This addictiveness to users drives its popularity, making it a very valuable network for marketers and researchers trying to take the pulse of social media. Fagone goes on to say:

More reliably than Twitter, more scientifically than Facebook, Reddit answers this question: What do people on the Internet think is important, funny, cute, gross, uplifting—right now?

 I think I’m going to have to become a Reddit member… I hope I don’t get addicted.

To get a more indepth look at Reddit take a look at this post put out by CrunchBase:

COM0011 Blog Post #2 – Google+ or Facebook?

Google+ facebook

Like millions of other people in the world, I use Gmail as one of my primary email accounts. I love how I can stay connected with family and friends while I’m working. I can see the little green ball and feel connected with them. I can have a conversation through the chat feature without the preamble that a telephone or email conversation requires. I have also started to use more of Google’s apps in particular Google Calendar.

A few months ago I received an invitation from Google to create my profile on Google+. I didn’t bother, I didn’t see the point, I’ve been using Facebook for years. So why move to Google+?

Bianca Bosker of the Huffington Post Spells it out for us here It seems the consensus among Google+ advocates is that “ Google+ is more about sharing ideas and content, while Facebook is where you see graduation pictures and wedding announcements”. The most compelling argument for Google+ for business as stated by Google+ community manager Natalie Villalobos is that “people are utilizing the features of Google+ to discover and share meaningful content”. This sounds like something that businesses could use to their advantage.

So now I’m wondering. Does Google+ make more sense? After all I use Gmail for business as a lot of other people do. In his article, Larry Kim points out that the main difference between Facebook and Goggle+ is how their communities use them. He says that “Google searchers often have a specific intent in mind, while users often go to Facebook simply to hang out and chat with friends”.

Mr. Kim goes on to make a strong point that both are important to business. He says use “Facebook for brand awareness” and “Google is the venue to focus on for advertising because of its wide array of advertising features and numerous options”.

With all that being said, I think businesses should hangout with their followers (customers) on Facebook, and when their customers (followers) need the hard facts they can direct them to check them out on Google+.

Before you decide you should also read this well written article by Rebekah Radice at SteamFeed:

COM0011 Blog Post #1 Social Media Rewrites the Super Bowl Advertising Playbook

For decades the Super Bowl has been the centerpiece of advertising campaigns for large corporations in the United States. These companies spend millions of dollars for the airtime and production of these 30-second or 1 minute commercials. The productions are spectacular, often employing the top celebrities of popular culture. In the past, these ads were kept very secret. Part of the appeal was the anticipation leading up to the airing of the ads. Some companies went so far as to produce 2 ads but not letting it known which ad would be aired.

Companies have changed their strategy due to social media. They now realize that it is key to be part of the conversation sooner than later. As stated in the Guardian’s article “The ads of Super Bowl 2014: a popularity contest with puppies” by Tom Morton,

“This was the first Super Bowl where the ads were already in the public domain weeks in advance of the event”. Not only were the ads in discussion before the Super Bowl, they encouraged it during the game. Morton goes on to explain how many of the advertisers used Twitter to promote online incentives and contests during the game to further the reach of their ads.

Social media also affected the content of the ads. Historically these ads followed the traditional advertising model of hard selling their product or service. They relied on a bold spectacle to promote brand awareness. The point was to get people talking about the ads around the water coolers of America the next day. This year showed a change in the role of these ads. Now they are only a part of the ongoing conversation that is taking place on social media. There was a major shift in the content of the ads. Many of the ads didn’t even mention a product. Instead they were awareness messages for such causes as cancer survivors and (RED) TM the Global Fund to support AIDS programs.

Why is this? Simon Mainwaring states in his article “The 7-stage Evolution of a Socially Responsible Brand, “The payoff for corporate engagement with customers has risen dramatically as a result of social media”. It is more important to get customers involved with your cause than it is to make them aware of the virtues of your product. Let’s face it; a conversation about making the world a better place will last a lot longer on social media than one about whether our pistachios taste better or not.