Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Voices of Social Media

A blog has one voice with a chorus of commentary. You post your message and others comment on it in separate replies but no one can change your original message. Yours is the voice initiating the tone and tenor of the communications. Your message is the focus and cannot be altered except by you.
On the other hand, a wiki has a community voice. Someone posts a message and, unlike with a blog, everyone can edit that post. Version control is usually present so previous versions can be retrieved and even differences between versions highlighted.

At my job, we are using blogs, and wikis for project management work; in our case web services projects. In fact, web services is being moved under public affairs in most organizations, considered more of a communication function than a technology support function.

Design reviews by client offices are done in blogs since we have superior knowledge of computer and communications systems. The design has one voice but the ability to comment by interested parties. Internally, we prepare a design using wikis. Everyone within my office has superior knowledge in different facets of a system to contribute to an overall proposal. When we have a proposed design we transfer the communication to a blog as a design review by external offices.

These approaches get buy in from both the internal staff and our external clients more so than traditional methods. The internal public experiences a more direct hand in preparing the design. The external public can see other s’ comments in parallel. Stultz (2009, p 11) says that

“But the blog rules for now. Solid relationships can be built by you and by corporations (again, you) based on honest, open dialog with superior content.”
Secondly, we are using txt messaging gateways as one method of broadcast communications for continuity of operations. Cell phone carriers, such as Sprint or Nextel, provide SMS gateways for the transfer of text messages from computer to mobile phone. These gateways are the foundation of the mechanics for an organization, be it an aggregator mobile marketing service or a commercial business entity, or government agency to implement a mobile communications broadcast. Wikipedia has a list of mobile phone SMS gateways by carrier (see SMS Gateways in Wikipedia).

All email messages broadcast as text messages to mobile devices go through such gateways to both verify permissions you set on receiving and allowing the messages through. As an example, assuming my phone number is 800-555-1213 and my carrier is Sprint, the Sprint SMS gateway is according to Wikipedia. So I could create an email on my computer that would be sent to the gateway by using the following as the To: address

The messaging gateway ( converts my email to mobile txt and in turn forwards it to the SMS client on my cell phone. This can also be done programmatically with a function like the one below to loop through a list of recipient mail addresses. In addition, the from-name can be changed to an email alias relevant to the receiver, so they don't trash the email right away as spam.

Duncan (2005, p 392), says an important aspect of mobile marketing is that “messages can be targeted not only by individual cellular phone number but also by time and location of targeted customers.” Critical here is permission of receiver. In their article Driving Sales through Mobile Marketing, authors, Say and Southwell (2006, p262) imply that mobile direct marketing, especially text messaging can be ruinous because “the mobile phone is almost certainly the most personal electronic consumer device.” In support of this warning, another researcher Alan Chappell (2006, p1) cites a study that found 80% of cell phone users would consider ‘mobile spam’ a reason for switching carriers. Direct Marketers who fall short with mobile etiquette risk bad public relations, hardship in the mobile media, and Say and Southwell believe that ultimately it can degrade a brand (p 262).

They must be in control. Stultz notes (2009, p 13) “Marketers are encouraging consumers to become part of the conversation; in fact, to control it. “ This is true for both social media and mobile communications technologies.

Duncan, Tom (2005). Principles of Advertising and IMC. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Chappell, A (March 19, 2006). Mobile Marketing & Opt-In (Chapell & Associates). Retrieved on March 7, 2009 at

Say, P. and J. Southwell (Jan-Mar 2006). Beep, beep, beep, beep, that’ll be the bank then – Driving sales through mobile marketing. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice.

Stultz, Larry (2009). Non-Traditional Media and Interactive Marketing.

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