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Q & A with Kyle Monson, Content Strategist at JWT & 2011 Social Media Week Panelists

February 10, 2011
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What was your social media eureka moment?
I remember the mass Twitter adoption at SXSW in 2007 —that weekend has been bronzed in geek lore, and it was a legitimately huge moment for social networking. We were all using this new tool to see which parties our friends were at, and to track audience responses to panel discussions, and it was a live demo of the power of real-time one-to-many communication. It was a newish idea back then, and this was before everyone had iPhones, so a lot of it was text-message-based. The nerds used it to facilitate this great weekend of parties and connectedness, and then we all went home and tried to sell our friends and bosses on it. That was the hard part (and still is, to a certain extent).

What do you use on a daily basis and how?
Wow, there’s a lot. I use the combo of Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, and HootSuite (and sometimes Trillian) for updating all of them at once. Twitter long ago became my main news source…I haven’t used an RSS reader regularly in years. I use Radian6, CoTweet, and BackType almost daily for social media monitoring at work. I’m not on FourSquare a lot, but I check in when I remember to—maybe once a week, but I’m not really sure why I do it. Similar to how I use Quora…I have a great social graph going on Quora but I don’t really use it for much. I have a couple Tumblr blogs, a couple WordPress blogs, and some Blogger blogs that I contribute to when I have time, and my bands maintain a presence on MySpace and Facebook. It sounds like a lot to maintain, but it really isn’t.

What is hot and what is just hype?
That’s a tough question. I tend to think of Quora as kind of hype-y, if only because startup blogs are peeing themselves over it, and everyone’s joining it, but few are actually using it. Likewise, everyone has an opinion on FourSquare but most of the opiners don’t really know what it’s for—I personally don’t think there’s much of a use-case beyond urban young adults. I spent a couple weeks in the suburbs this winter and there just wasn’t the same drive or opportunity to find cool, interesting places to check in from. That sounds terribly snobby, but let’s be real: FourSquare is about checking in from cool places that make you look interesting.
In terms of what’s hot, analytics tools come to mind. BackType and HootSuite are free and awesome, ChartBeat is pretty amazing, Radian6 is great. We’re getting more data and context and information out of this big social mess of a web, and that’s really exciting—not just on a marketing level, but on a cultural anthropology level, and on a nerd level.

What do you see as being the next big thing at next year’s conference?
Definitely social video…and it will be called the next big thing in 2012, with wider-spread adoption in 2013. We need to find ways to fuse our social graphs with our media consumption in the location where most of us actually consume the bulk of our media: on a couch in the living room watching a big TV. The process for chatting about Glee or college basketball with our friends is way too clunky right now. And friend recommendations should be integrated into our DVRs; my TiVo should know what my friends watch and what they talk about, and be smart enough to record it for me.

What is the one takeaway you hope everyone gets from your panel?
I’m hoping we can deliver practical advice on implementing smart social listening strategies. It’s difficult, but the people on the panel have done it before, and succeeded at it, so hopefully we have something useful to offer.

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