bearFishing where the fish are is something that bears have known for years but many folk who use Twitter seem to have forgotten. We cannot simply think our message will be heard by tweeting ourselves which is why we try and target influential people via tools like TweetLevel and BlogLevel.

However, this isn’t the only way of doing it. What I have been doing successfully over the past year is taking part in twitter chats. These are regular conversations that take place about a specific subject on twitter normally for an hour and owned by a specific hashtag.

For example,

· if you are targeting the SME market then look no further than #smallbizchat

· If you are focussing on innovation then #Innochat on Thursdays is the one for you

· Are you a small business that uses LinkedIn (client) – why not use the chat that shares best ways for businesses to use this service on #linkedinchat

My personal favourites are #influencechat and #measurepr – but suggest you look at this larger list to see which ones can help you

Any questions, just chat with me @jonnybentwood

End note: My thanks to Judy Gombita for pointing this list out to me who also wants me to plug Windmill Networking #PR column Wed, Social Capital Byte: Institutionalizing Parity in B2B Relationships

@jonnybentwood

 Social media is gaining a greater foothold in the lives of older Americans.

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey, social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled from 22% to 42% over the past year. Half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64 and one in four (26%) users age 65 and older use social networking sites.

Most users of social networking tools are between 18 and 29 but this growth in older users shows that different segments of the population are getting involved. As we try to reach different social segments, looking at usage profiles across age groups can help us to better target audiences.

“While email may be falling out of favour with today’s teenagers, older adults still rely on it heavily as an essential tool for their daily communications. Overall, 92% of those ages 50-64 and 89% of those ages 65 and older send or read email and more than half of each group exchanges email messages on a typical day. Online news gathering also ranks highly in the daily media habits of older adults; 76% of internet users ages 50-64 get news online, and 42% do so on a typical day. Among internet users ages 65 and older, 62% look for news online and 34% do so on a typical day.”

While overall interest in social networking is growing amongst older users, this doesn’t necessarily translate into larger percentages using all social networking tools. According to the survey, one in 10 (11%) online adults ages 50-64 and one in 20 (5%) online adults ages 65 and older now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.

In order to reach the right people with the right message via social media, it is important to look at what segments of the population are involved in social networking and what online tools are most applicable to their social segment. As the survey tells us, the number of older internet users are getting involved with social networking is growing rapidly but their activities online are still largely dominated by other things. 

@Matthew_Whalley

Last week a friend of mine suggested that I get involved with a social media experiment  being run by a gallery in Brighton.  @Fabrica had tweeted that they were looking for people to take part in a social media ‘game’ of sorts.  Jumping at the chance to ‘play’ whilst passing it off as ‘work’ – I got in touch…

You can read the official write up, but I figured I’d replay the tweets and let you know what I thought as well.

The games was called “Broken Whispers”.  Basically I was told that I would receive a message from a stranger, via tweet.  I then had to change two words and then send the altered message onto another stranger.  The ‘game’ happened three times.  Basically like Chinese Whispers2.0 the game was looking to explore themes of how stories evolve, to tie into an exhibition at the gallery.  As far as I can tell the game players enjoyed it a lot – gaining a cheap thrill out of knowing what these odd messages in their tweet stream were about, tapping into new communities and crucially having fun.

The old lit student within me found it interesting from a narrative point of view.  With my tweets I was trying to somehow continue a sense of story – only for an irregular word to be added further down the chain to really trip things up. I quickly realised though as with all crowd sourced content – the merit isn’t in how the message and story finishes, but in watching and participating in how it evolves.  Like Bowie’s best lyrics the chain was fragmented nonsense, but  by taking part in the process – listening to the whole band play, to continue the analogy – was where the fun could be had.

This obviously had some sort of artistic purpose, but when thinking about it within our brand focussed work it had a couple of learning’s for our own campaigns.  The first was a way of looking beyond the obvious “engage a community tactics”.  This game uses an existing community (the Fabrica Gallery’s followers – but equally of any brand) to build and create touch-points in other pools of influence in micro-communities – associated groups of people who are ultimately not related (my micro community of followers, and the followers of those I was messaging).

Recently we have been talking about the future of the press release and how companies can’t expect to fully own messages, only steer audiences in the right direction.  The game acted as an example of this – albeit with a heavily involved catalyst and moderator to steer the way.  It showed that if you give the community the right tools  they can play with the sentiment without totally destroying the message.  In today’s world, where brands are concerned, it should be about getting people involved, getting people to think, getting people to play.  It doesn’t have to be about repurposing the party line.

So who’s up for a game of “Broken Key Messages”?

@LukeMackay