The way people approach decisions is fascinating. Not all decisions are created equal of course; there are those that require immediate action or opportunity will be lost, while others are best decided after careful consideration and research. The weight of each type of decision varies, as do the repercussions for acting quickly or being too slow.
In business, the majority of people tend to flip-flop the decision process. Sometimes easy questions or calls to action come about, and usually they can be handled simply by giving it a little thought and making a decision. However, most people tend to slow these down by moving the decision to be made to a larger group…emails are drafted, many people are CCd and doubt is dispersed in many forms, including questions like “what do you think we should do?” and the single-word pass-off, “thoughts?” Unfortunately, making mountains out of mole holes is commonplace in today’s business world.
You Just Can’t See It. Or you don’t want to see it.
Over the roughly two decades that I’ve been involved with business, either as an entrepreneur, an executive director or a social media strategist, I’ve heard the same frustration voiced over and over again, in almost every market I’ve worked in. After hours, weeks or sometimes months of seemingly endless meetings, late-night war room strategy sessions and presentation after presentation of focus group reports, eventually the people in charge of making the decisions for the direction of an organization bury their face in their hands and declare in frustration and defeat, “if only we knew what everybody wanted from us, we could just give it to them“.
This has applied to product development, marketing campaigns, service implementation…anything and everything a company (for profit or not) could possibly put together to offer a group of people. “If only we could find out what our customers want…”
Studies are ordered. Thousands of dollars…or millions…are spent on consultants and burned up in labor hours. When the senior management team meets to discuss, debate and dissect the data, 20% of the organization’s labor dollars are being paid out for each hour they cannot figure out what their audience wants. At some point or another, late into the night, one of the people around the tables feels the frustration of a seemingly insurmountable task. They want to be home with their family, they want to get back to the work they were hired to do instead of trying to figure out puzzles…they want to solve the mystery of how to move forward. But how? And then the idea is presented:
“We should try social media. I know we already have a Facebook and Twitter page, but instead of just posting something once a week, why don’t we ask the people that follow us what they want, and then listen to them? Also, why don’t we pay for a monitoring service so we know what people are saying about us and even our competitors? People are already telling us what they want, we just need to listen, reply and implement”
The silence only last for a moment, before a chorus of “we will lose control of the message” and “we can’t create a forum for negative comments” starts. The boss makes an expression that is a combination of fear and patronization and simply says, “that’s too risky, we’re not doing it” before starting a discussion about when the best time to meet again will be to tackle this impossible chore.
Sometimes what you need is right in front of you, you just can’t see it…or worse yet, you don’t want to see it.
I’m been looking over a new media aggregation site called Mediagazer. My initial thought was, “great…another aggregator that will simply clutter up a lot of content and put it in a needle-in-the-haystack format”, but those thoughts were dismissed as soon as I really started looking at it closely.
Mediagazer is a new effort from the uber-popular tech sharing community Techmeme, and is their first news vertical in almost four years. It bills itself as a site, “which will focus on the content production and distribution business, organizing topics as wide as journalism, blogging, video production, e-books, and digital distribution technologies”, and sure enough it does all of that. There are a lot of good content assimilation sites, but I think Mediagazer will stand out as a leader if it can get enough good press early to build momentum.
I really like it’s easy-to-share buttons, with the ability to send information linked to either Mediagazer directly, or the original source of the story. I think that is a brave and noble feature, most aggregators are trying their very best to drive as much traffic as possible directly to their own site (increase in traffic = increase in ad revenue), so the ability to link directly out is a fairly cool and risky idea. They do have sponsored news aggregation prominently displayed in the right column and halfway down the main page with no signs of traditional banner and display ads…yet. I also like the sharing simplicity, obviously aimed at social networks as the only two options are Twitter and Facebook. Honestly, those are the only two places I ever share news anyway. Naturally, Mediagazer is also on Twitter, although thus far it appears to simply be a feed from their headlines as opposed to an interactive, engaging account.
I like the navigation and sharing potential from this site, so I’ll give it a try as a news source for a couple of weeks to see if it makes it into my regular lineup. If you try it out, let me know what you think: is Mediagazer just another news aggregator, or a useful service for finding and sharing information?
With so much information moving around online communities these days, it’s not often that I watch and then re-watch a 5 minute video. This morning I did just that, with the video embedded below called “Did You Know 4.0”.
You won’t see babies rollerskating or a funny wedding entrance in this…what you will see in a lot of data coming at you quickly. Data that talks about the changing communication landscape, the convergence of media and the massive impact that social networks are having on day to day life. I think it’s all incredibly fascinating, and is a brilliant and useful follow-up to another powerful video, “Shift Happens”. If you are connected to media, social networking, marketing or crowd communication in any way, please check this out and let me know what you think in the comments…not just about the video (which is top quality) but about the concepts and statistics brought up in it.