A few months since I’ve updated this blog. I’ve been meaning to write a post on ‘personal content strategies’, aka “How do you decide what to post where?” But the truth is I still haven’t figured that out. Here’s an aggregate of everything I’ve been up to in the last six months. [Photos to follow when I’ve fixed WordPress…]
1. March to May I was in New York with work, primarily working on a social TV project for Tumblr.
What we found: content lives longer on Tumblr. Like, really long! Not only is Tumblr the home of fandom where conversation sustains between episodes, the longest-living pieces of Tumblr content (animated GIF series) are practically immortal and circulate indefinitely as the hefty emotional punch they pack is re-lived, re-discovered and re-contextualised.
2. I wrote a few things for the work blog –
- The ‘Absolute Value’ of listening to social media forums (March)
- The Samsung vs. Apple court case shows the value of social media research (May)
- 10 tactics for rigour in social media market research (July)
All more in a ‘content marketing’ vein rather than passion pieces, aka they’re solid and put forward the company’s POV on the value of social media research. These things do alright within the market research Twittersphere but don’t break through into Plannerland in the way that more cultural analyses of social media activity can.
3. More interesting blogging: I also wrote the end of my colleague Robert Parkin’s blog post about How To Detect Communities Using Social Network Analysis.
These ideas developed turned into a Tumblr post where I talk about how “Brands need to think more about how they can give to their communities” and the importance of opening up research as a way to share value.
A nice reply from Kenyatta continued the discussion – he ran the Dr Who Tumblr for BBC America for a time, so what he doesn’t know about working with fan communities isn’t worth… etc.
“It’s the stuff we do in supporting tv, music, and sports fandoms at everybodyatonce: find out where the fans are (both passive and active, existing and potential), find out all the different ways that they’re connected, and use that information as a map for creating or strengthening the edges between different clusters of nodes. While we don’t make these networks explicitly visible in the ways that hautepop suggests, we find other ways to surface the fandom to each other. Holding up a mirror in the form other fans is usually more empowering than showing them their own graph, but as this kind of information becomes more commonplace, that may change.”
4. Tumblr is where I’m mostly blogging these days. And funnily enough, I’m mostly blogging about Tumblr and its weird network effects. Key posts:
i) How do you find the connectors & influencers on Tumblr? Where someone asks a question, and I unpack all my tacit knowledge. The key point: “follower numbers matter a lot less than your position within Tumblr social networks – that is, it’s about community.”
ii) Anatomy of A Tumblr Trend: the semantic network map. Where I use Tumblr’s ‘related tags’ feature to map how Tumblr fashion subcultures are connected:
- first manually
- then in Gephi
- & with a methodological confirmation from the guy who built the recommended tags feature (!)
To put it bluntly, this is an astoundingly cool methodology I came up with. It finds a network where you might not expect one – not between who follows whom, or who retweets whom (as we’re familiar with from Twitter network analysis) but simply between ideas – subcultures, memes. This is why I call it a ‘semantic network map’ – a map of meanings. It gives us a whole set of new, quantitative tools to use what otherwise looks like a very fuzzy, qualitative thing – culture.
It is of course mediated through the Tumblr algorithm & its ‘term frequency – inverse document frequency’ weighting. So this modifies how far we might want to say this method gives us access to”folksonomy” – folk taxonomy. It’s not an entirely “pure” view of how people think these concepts are connected, even though the algorithmic mediation (which prioritises links between tags that occur a lot together, but don’t appear a lot in the dataset overall) may very well be the best way to get sense out of the connections – avoiding the “all tags short-circuit back to Fashion” problem.
Anyway. If you find this interesting, come talk to me at email@example.com, I’d love to discuss how this can be taken further.
5. Speaking of Tumblr subcultures, I’ve also been image-blogging over on Pinterest and a new Tumblr, street-goth – which I started in order to play directly with these subcultures, to find out how they work from the inside. Also to work out what I wanted to wear this autumn. Here’s my intro blog post, and do follow along if you want a lot of moody black & white images of clothes.
Debating a rename to hautegoth, mostly because personal brand (and because what I’m blogging goes beyond the very now street goth menswear look) – but also out of a certain curiosity… Can I spark a recognisable Tumblr trend? Watch this space.
6. Nearly forgot! Five speaking events in the last six months, that’s fair going:
- Debcon in Boston, on “perverse media studies” (a theoretical piece on the implications of ‘sticky’ and ‘viral’ properties)
- moderated a panel at Theorizing The Web in NY called Ref(user): Moments of Resistance, about politics of social media interaction
- London Social Media Cafe, on How Videos Go Viral (hint: it’s all about the network)
- Marketing Week Live (25 June), viral video again
- Connected World (10 July) on a panel with Tom Ewing & Paul Edwards about ‘cutting through the noise’
7. & finally I should have a press release coming out this month with Live Nation for a nice little statistical project demonstrating the relationship between social media activity and ticket sales. More TBC…