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Snoox, Google+ and How Social We Really Are

What is Snoox?

Today I read about Snoox; a new social network which allows you to view recommendations from your friends on things like films, books or places. It is very similar to a network like Letterboxd which does the same, but specifically for films. Snoox goes further than Letterboxd with what you can recommend,  but isn’t quite as focused on being a timeline or personal history.

Snoox allows you to follow others, whether you know them personally or not (nothing new there). Twitter took the Facebook status and amplified it into its own model. Similarly, Snoox adopts the ego-maniacal activity of  “liking” a film or TV show on Facebook to show that you’ve watched it and/or are cultured and/or hip. If it can remove the necessity for all those Netflix updates on Facebook courtesy of friends, providing a specific place to go to find out what people are listening to/watching etc., then all the better.

Would You Trust Your Friends?

Snoox and its facility to recommend provides the opportunity to users to write a mini-review in the same vein that Google+ Local invites users to rate local businesses. This got me thinking about how much I would trust my friends’ opinions. As someone who has a very diverse set of online friends in terms of socio-economic status, location and tastes, this would probably not help me find something I like. Taste isn’t based on these factors exclusively of course;  a good film is a good film, and transcends barriers. However, I definitely have those friends who I would consider as having “bad taste”. I like most of my friends for the people they are, and not what they watch. There are a handful of exceptions; those friends of friends who I can put up with because we have a TV show in common to save the conversation. Generally, though, I wouldn’t take the advice of a majority of my Facebook or Twitter friends about where to go to eat or which books to read, because there is a big gulf between what we respectively enjoy.

Google+ and The Question: ‘How Social Are We?’

Google and their outlook of ‘Search n’ Social’ seems to have this belief that we’re all a trendy bunch, with money to burn at the whim of seeing a friend post a five star rating for a bar; that we’ll jump straight online at a moment’s notice to find a restaurant at which to spend all this free time that we have falling out of our ears. This was parodied brilliantly when Google Glass was previewed earlier this year. That’s just not the reality for many of us, who are struggling to save money, like to stay indoors or just don’t live very interesting lives.

The social aspect of search seems more applicable to a wider segment of users (provided they are logged into a Google account) when it comes to essential services, like looking for a respectable plumber, than leisure. Indeed, this is one of the ways that we can help with managing social media for your business. ‘Social’ feels the wrong word for these services.  Those who do leave constructive business reviews, are very much appreciated and this can make a difference; but in terms of empowering users to shape Search, its utility is somewhat limited.

 

 

How Has Barack Obama Used Social Media During His Presidential Campaign?

Obama Takes To Reddit

Last Thursday, President Obama took a break from his schedule to take part in an AMA on Reddit. It caught many of us Redditors by surprise and we all flocked to the social networking site in droves to see what he would say when confronted by the site’s loyal and unflinchingly witty users. For many who simply heard about it because it was Obama-related, this would be their first exposure to these strange terms.

What is Reddit?

Reddit is a social media democracy which is broken down into smaller sections for different interests. I’m not going to lie: things can get a little rude. Reddit works by users up-voting or down-voting topics and threads which are submitted by members so only the most relevant and worthwhile make it to the top where most eyes will see them. Comments can be left, which can also be voted on accordingly allowing for the most sarcastic, dry or plain wild humour to thrive.

What is a Reddit AMA?

IAmA stands simply for ‘I am a’ while AMA for ‘Ask Me Anything’. Reddit users can post an AMA whereby users can ask them… anything, firstly introducing themselves ‘I am a so-and-so, ask me anything’. It can be anyone from a cameraman who worked on Sooty in the 70s, to someone who is going through a terminal illness at the moment, to even the President of the United States as evidenced. The most popular AMAs can be scheduled and promoted in advance so more questions can be submitted, and usually these are for actors or writers who are popular on the site.

Is it Popular?

As Reddit has grown in the last few years, with membership now in the millions worldwide, it has become more popular and mainstream, and has drawn the eyes of many notable personalities to use it as a means of good karma with their most dedicated fans. Reddit’s humour or tropes synonymous with the site have slowly crept into various cultures because the site accommodates  so many different interests. Using Reddit can effectively humanise a world-famous figure who would normally be seen as untouchable. It is generally a good public relations option, without the tacky plugging which chat shows can descend into. The likes of Louis CK, Dan Harmon and Zach Braff have all taken part in an AMA successfully fending off the onslaught of questions from users, though not all make it out as well.

Rules of a Reddit AMA

If someone is overly promotional during an AMA, or starts ducking certain questions which are voted as being ones that users want to be answered, their image online can suffer. The same if it is clear that it not actually that person but someone from their PR team. While Obama was photographed supposedly during the AMA, it is likely that everything he wrote was supervised closely by his PR team. Woody Harrelson most recently is a prime example of a Reddit AMA going wrong, as he promoted his new film Rampart at every opportunity and avoided answering questions about his family history, which annoyed users. As a result he has become a joke not only on Reddit, but on other social sites too. The influence of Redditors can be felt when things go wrong as much as it can when things go well.

The Influence of an AMA and Reddit

Obama in AMA-mode Courtesy of http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2012/08/obama-ama.j

Of course, the appeal of all things considered underground is the fact that they are unknown, niche or a secret. When AMAs become more popular amongst bigger names, and more frequently used as a tool by publicists to recommend to their clients, they may lose their appeal. With the way things develop so quickly in social media, it is likely that something new will have come around by then too. The AMA formula might even be adopted by other sites or sources like television chat shows, though a legal battle could result – Reddit actually holds a patent on the use of ‘IamA’.

Reddit’s users are a sarcastic bunch, but overall are fun, and it’s their sense of humour, reactions, and most importantly, questions, which make the experience so entertaining to witness either in progress or retrospectively.

If you’d like to know more about harnessing the power of Reddit for business, contact us!

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