Another theory post! Sorry. It will be out of my system soon.
The founder of Twitter, like me, is a self proclaimed urban design geek. I just found that out and I’m glad I did. In my book, Social Media for the Small Business Owner, I make the claim that most concepts in the social media sphere can be understood by using urban metaphor. Because of that, whenever I read something even vaguely concerning urbanism I wonder how It can be applied to Social Media. Luckily for me, the more I do this the more certain I become that the Internet as urban environment really is a solid connection.
This is from a recent article from the Harvard Business Review Blog titled Urban Acupuncture by Jaime Lerner:
“Strategic punctual interventions can create a new energy and help the desired scenario to be consolidated. This is “Urban Acupuncture”: it revitalizes a “sick” or “worn out” area and its surroundings through a simple touch of a key point. Just as in the medical approach, this intervention will trigger positive chain-reactions, helping to cure and enhance the whole system.”
This is what I would consider the other side of the coin to the broken window theory, while I’d say Lerner is at least a little overoptimistic I think there is something valuable here. The idea of taking a sick or worn out area on selectively concentrating on it is hardly a new concept. We understand this value in the business world, like when brands implement a slick new flagship store. Or when brands launch a “signature line,” like Timberland’s Timberland Boot Company. The purpose of these efforts is to signal to consumers that the brand is worth taking a look at again. They show that there is a depth there (even if there might not be) that the consumer should take a second look at.
This too can be used in the world of social media. If something isn’t working, there can be value in a small but strategic intervention. One place that many brands don’t place enough emphasis on in their social media management is their collection of photos. By committing to a fresh series of images that could be uploaded to a Facebook wall over a week, a business can signal that something interesting is happening (again, even if it’s not). This is at least partially because the photograph is seen as high value content by EdgeRank and also because users have a harder time ignoring images than text.
So, if your Facebook likes are plateauing or your interactions are falling, dig out your digicam and start taking photos. Remember, things that you see every day, that might seem boring to you, are interesting to the outside world. Just as often, things that you think are interesting will be boring to the outside world. Introduce your staff, your products and your customers.
If you don’t have a digital camera and are looking for something that can take great photos without breaking the bank (or needing to go to school to use) I highly recommend the Pen E-PL2.
It takes best in class low-light shots and it has changeable lenses and great controls, so it can grow with you and your skills. Best of all it clocks in at under $600.