In two minutes

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short bursts on things I thunk.

Is our vibe on Instagram Better Burgers or Flame-grilled?

Nudists into fashion: influential but not buying much stock

Eric Fisher has done an amazing set of data visualisations for Flickr photo tags from cities around the world.

They show the travels of locals and tourists in cities like London, Sao Paolo and Melbourne.

In some cases both groups will tread the same trails (Rome for example) but in others they keep to themselves (San Diego).

It strikes me that while we build cities, we don’t actually live the city for the most part. We have our own villages within the city. We go to certain places for food, different places for fun maybe other places all together for exercise and communing. But they are the same places over and over for the most part.

In fact, mobile carriers will tell you they can predict where you all are right now with an accuracy of 93% (without checking).

I’m OK with this. I like the idea of a village within a city that you know, and you can leave any time to dive into some part of the greater city.

What I don’t dig is being treated as citizen of that city by brands as if that’s the most they know about me. Or that I live in Victoria, or Australia. I’m putting as much benign data into social networks as I can in the hope that brands will scrape it and use it to make our exchanges easier. I am here. I think this about that. I’m excited by this. But I have to say, aside from the Number 96 tram I haven’t been hit up recently by anything/one of interest.

I suspect many people looking after the big accounts out there are too busy chasing numbers to think at a village level.

I understand those pressures. Pump out the links, photos, prizes and competitions and hope it sticks.

But don’t pretend thinking isn’t required.

Thinking back to when ‘tribes’ was a buzzword and tribes were easier to spot online it was important to reach people 20, 50 or 100 at a time. It was painstaking work to reach all BMXers who lived in Doncaster or Yummy Mummies into Pole Dancing (OK that was actually fun). You had to think about who was into this band or where to find 200 people who were up for Weird Pizza.

Now there are bigger budgets, integration reaches all the way through to the Instagram account (so hot right now you hear at the water cooler) and the Director of Social Media drives a 7 series. But I don’t often see smarter work as a result.

In fact this may even be stifling creativity as ideas now come from way, way down the corridor in some instances. Some people may as well switch on the bot and head home early.

If I was a CMO or Director of Strategy I’d go for being well known/respected in 5 good villages in every city over 10,000 Facebook fans bought with movie tickets or free coffees every day of the week. If not, you may as well just take the long lunch and act like you know.

So as cool, interesting social media is done by cool, interesting people (some knob at Cannes said that) make an effort to keep it diverse, interesting and relevant to people. Go out and meet them again. Ask them what’s new in their life, export and interrogate your data more often, mash up mini-communities in new ways and look for new villages altogether (Hipsters into playing sport on the weekend?).

Go looking for people in the village again.

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Filed under: Social Media

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