Aug 25

Could 60 million Americans be wrong?

Up-ie A brand new Pew Research Center survey shows that 21 percent of the American population doesn't use the Internet at all. That's  60 million people!

And, it's not just the old 'digital divide' that's causing folks not to tune out, turn off and power down. According to Pew, the 60 million plus, non-tech heads stay away because:
– They don't have a computer (OK, fine, a digital divide)
– It's too expensive (Fine. The damn divide again, but wait….)
– It's too difficult or frustrating
– They think it's a waste of time
– They don't have access (Fine. Divide.)
– They're too busy (That response fascinates me. The Web's a huge time saver for this blogger.)
– They don't need or want it (Put that in your social media pipe and smoke it)
– They're too old to learn (So much for these old dogs learning new tricks)
– They reported having a bad experience with Ed Moed's 'MeasuringUP' blog (Now, that makes sense).

Simultaneously, Pew reports the Internet's explosive growth has finally slowed. Sixty-six percent of respondents reported having a high-speed Internet connection at home which is up just marginally from the 63 percent saying the same thing last year.

So, here's my question: knowing that some 60 million Americans aren't using the Internet at all, why are we not seeing opinion pieces on the subject? PR Week, PR News, Holmes and the other industry trades are filled to the brim with the latest, greatest, social media case studies, features and announcements. And everyone's arguing about which marketing discipline deserves to lead the social media discourse. But, what about the huge market that doesn't want or need the Internet? Don't our journalists owe us thinking on the subject?

Lost in the social media land rush mentality is the reasoned approach a person such as our very own Sam Ford takes. He's never suggested the Internet is the ‘be-all end-all’ for each and every client. Instead, he urges they first LISTEN before acting. Listening would enable clients and agencies alike to uncover the 60 million non-Internet users who, I guarantee, are a core constituent audience for lots and lots of organizations. And, once one has listened, one can determine the best strategies with which to engage.

So, the next time you're in a new business pitch and the prospect asks about your firm's social media strategy, turn the tables and ask what her organization's plan is to reach the 60 million Americans who aren't using the web. Ask her if she's taken the time to listen to the non-Internet users. If nothing else, it will differentiate you from every other agency in the pitch who, I guarantee, will do nothing but wax poetic about their digital capabilities.

Nov 04

Stickiness is so 1999

November 4 - Webinar_Sticky3 Remember what a big deal stickiness used to be? Dotcom executives loved using the word. First, they'd talk about eyeballs on their site. Then, they'd wax poetic about stickiness. 'Steve, guess how long the average visitor stays on www.fallenarches.com? Three minutes! That kills our competitors' numbers. Kills! Buries! Annihilates! We are so friggin' sticky!'

 When the dotcom bubble burst, it took those annoying executives and their eyeballs along for the ride. But, somehow the word stickiness survived.

In fact, stickiness is still considered by many as a key barometer in today's social media world.

Stickiness is used to describe the time a visitor spends on a website. Conventional wisdom holds that the stickier the site, the more enriching the end user experience (and the more successful the site).

Not so, says Sam Ford, Henry Jenkins and Joshua Green, who will join me for a webinar on the subject this Friday at 1p.m. EST (Register
here for this free webinar, "Moving from "Sticky" to "Spreadable": The
antidote to "Viral Marketing" and the Broadcast Mentality
")

Messrs. Ford, Jenkins and Green are affiliated with M.I.T's highly-regarded Convergence Culture Consortium, whose mission is to provide some clarity and make some sense of the seismic digital changes happening all around us (note: Sam Ford also happens to be Peppercom's director of customer insights).

The trio believe web success is all about spreadability and not stickiness. Spreadability, they say, should be the watchword of the day. It's not about how long someone stays on a site but, rather, how they share (or spread) the information contained on it and with whom.

Spreadability is critical to success in social media. But, understanding how to create content that others will find spreadable isn't easy.

On Friday, Ford, Jenkins and Green will share best and worst practices, tips on how to create your own speadable content and explain why 'viral' may make sense in medical nomenclature, but shouldn't be included in your tech talk.

Just think: a Friday afternoon with Repman and three academics discussing spreadability on the web. Aside from another Phillies victory, what more could you possibly ask for?