Bringing Social Media to the Masses; or Vice-Versa

To elaborate on something I talked about in the latest PRobecast podcast; heavy social media users are starting to realize that there is so far a finite audience for blogs, podcasts, and other social media, and that the next step is to expand the audience so that it is a mass audience. I guess that would make it a mass of niches, which is perfect.

More importantly, they–we–are talking about it, which I hope will lead to action.

I first noticed that this step was necessary back in September at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo. Everyone at the conference was a podcaster or already involved in some way. There was no evangelism that I saw to get bigger audiences involved. We were still too excited about the new medium, and talking about ways to improve our podcasts, share tips and network with like-minded people.

To be sure, some people talked about maturing the medium– growing the audience– I think Leo Laporte probably mentioned it in his live show, but I don’t recall specifically.

One of the ringleaders is Chris Brogan, whom I met last summer as he was helping to organize the first PodCamp in Boston. He wrote an excellent post called “Extending the Conversation,” which pointed to two other posts, by Christopher Penn–another PodCamp founder– and Charlie O’Donnell, who wrought a post on “Top Ten Reasons Why Web 2.0 Sucks.” He encouraged people to go over there and comment, and so do I.

Chris Brogan came back with a post based on feedback, called “5 Ways to Extend the Conversation.” Please read this one too.

The main thing I took out of this is that social media users are ready to act to make blogs, podcasts, etc. into mass use and acceptance. This means going outside of the social media “echo chamber” and bringing people in. If you know a professional blog or have one, bring in your colleagues that don’t blog in addition to the existing community. If you have a blog for the community in which you leave, tell your fellow homeowners/Little League parents/PTO parents about it. Go to real life meetups, Town meetings, the playground, professional networking and tell them about specific blogs or podcasts in which they will be interested.

Go out, and bring ‘em back! Tell them to follow links and look at blog rolls. Emphasize that this does not replace your real-life social circles, but extends it and enriches it.

This has worked, to an extent so far, for the Garden City blog of Newton, Ma, started by my friend Chuck Tanowitz and Kristine Munroe. It will work for you too.
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2 Comments

  1. This is good stuff.

    I’ve recently been experimenting with much of what you suggest.

    I’ve had numerous blogs and sites for years which I purposefully kept out of circles I was engaging with in other roles… quite why? – I’m not sure, possibly because I didn’t see the links, or necessity.

    However, recently I have opened the flood gates completely and I have noticed some incredible good news stories on the end of that.

    People have come in that are, or WERE, out of the circle and have actually started to lap it up like a kitten with fresh milk.

    Thanks for the post doug.

  2. thanks Chris– the best part of this discussion is that I ran into Chuck T (from the post) in the gym the other day and we talked about it– face to face.

    I also sent emails to friends in the PTO last fall to tell the about thegardencity.net, and brought it up in conversations. Some success there, it’s a start– I need to kick iit into gear again.

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