If Not Mixx, Whither Shall I Go?

(This is related to my earlier post expanding on the conversation about whether or not Mixx is a good fit for marketers.)

I’ve been using Mixx for a while now. I tried Digg, and frankly, it didn’t go well (more on that in a later post). Mixx, frankly, appeals to me more as a social media consumer. I can quickly see the posts that are most likely to be of interest to me. I can control what notifications I want to receive and how I want to be notified; whether that’s in constant, plugged-in mode or as a daily digest.

The community has been fun and friendly, comparatively speaking. Compared to other Pligg-based sites, voting and downvoting is simple and transparent, and the community is already doing a good job of balancing allowing the submission and promotion of common-sense, genuinely interesting commercial content with keeping out outright worthless spam.

From a user-interface perspective, the defaults in Firefox for opening a story in a new tab on top of the listing seems intuitive to me. The listing hooks me, I click the headline, read the story, and then when I close the tab, there’s the listing waiting for my response: comment or vote. (This has been a particular annoyance I’ve had with Sphinn. Having to use the browser’s back button to go back and vote or comment on a story bugs me. Maybe others prefer that. Let me know in the comments if you disagree.)

Participating without Social Media Burnout

Social media is addictive, and can be a huge waste of time and productivity. There, I said it. (I actually have a psychological theory regarding why social media participation is so extremely addictive, but again, that’ll have to wait for a later post. If you want to jump ahead, look up some stuff on Transactional Analysis. Or just go here.)

At any rate, as I mentioned before, sustainable social media participation for marketing folks (and web copywriters definitely fall into that camp) involves working your participation in social media into your normal workflow in a natural way. That means you need to quickly sift the wheat from the chaff in terms of which sites you will commit to ongoing participation on. (Not to mention what social media activity is appropriate to automate. But again, we’re jumping ahead there.)

So where do I spend my designated social media “budget” of time and attention?

StumbleUpon is something of a no-brainer for that, in my opinion. As a user, it’s renewed the sense of fun, exploration and adventure to browsing the web that I had way back in the early 90s when I first discovered Yahoo’s “Useless Pages” category. Almost everyone I know has some amount of “hurry up and wait,” interstitial time where they have web access. Stumbling is not only a great way to “surf the zeitgeist,” it’s a fairly low-risk and low-effort way to get involved in the social media sphere.

I like Sphinn as well, although I was on the fence about it for a while. Sphinn is a Pligg-based social news voting site focused on internet marketing. The community is fun, friendly and active, and it’s one of the few social sites where marketers aren’t just tolerated, they’re courted. Sphinn leans fairly heavily towards small business, SEO/SEM, and independent internet marketing consultants. (If that’s a misperception, feel free to correct me.)

I would love to see the community expand to include more large-brand marketers tasked with getting results on the web, interactive agency folks, and people from traditional-agencies-who-do-interactive-marketing. I think the conversation would be enriched by it, both camps would learn from each other, and with a wider user-base Sphinn would be a little less game-able. The other element that had me on the fence about Sphinn was that for a short period of time, the stories on the front page became so “industry in-joke” heavy and personality-focused that it lost relevance and value as a source of news for me. It seems to be course-correcting now.

I think I’ve finally figured out how to integrate Twitter into my workflow. I’m meeting some really interesting folks, and getting to “eavesdrop” on some fascinating conversations.

I tried Adgabber for a while. I really wanted to like it, but at the time, it just didn’t feel like the most relevant and active professional community to participate in. If that’s changed in the last few months, I’d love a heads up.

As a woman, I want to like Sk*rt, and their recent decision to add the ability to kill the previously rampant spam has me encouraged. I like the design. (Hey, I’m a woman. Pretty counts.) The topic categories cover subjects I care about. (I imagine it’ll be a while before Digg features “Fashion & Style” “Family & Parenting” or “Mind, Body, Spirit” as top-level categories.) I’m going to be giving Sk*rt another go-round.

As a blogger, Technorati is a must. I have to confess I’ve not given poor old Technorati (and Del.icio.us as well) the attention they deserved this last year. What’s probably most reprehensible about that is they’re fairly low-effort and don’t require a huge investment of extra time. I’ve recently learned some tricks for easing it into my workflow and those are two sites I plan to expand into more over the course of 2008.

Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn. Sigh. These three probably each need to be a whole post, but suffice it to say I’m there, and will continue to be there.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention blogs, and specifically SEOmoz. Great community, who did an awesome job of welcoming me when I started participating there in comments on the main blog and in the YOUmoz user-generated blog. Incredibly valuable industry information and resources.

So my question to other advertising and marketing professionals who are being intentional about their participation in social media is: where else, if anyplace, do I need to be?

I haven’t included all the blogs where I read and comment regularly. I also think that old-school forums still hold tremendous value. I like Jill Whalen’s High Rankings forums, and have been reading there, although not contributing. So what am I missing? If I had, for the sake of illustration, two more “social media neighborhoods” I could effectively patrol, where should I be?

Looking forward to hearing any thoughts on the matter.

5 Comments


  1. ·

    Kat – I’d suggest checking out news.ycombinator.com – it’s a little techy and geared to programmers, but the entrepreneur content that does make it to the top there is frequently pure gold. It’s one of my favorite new sources.

    Reply
  2. Bob S
    ·

    I like Mixx too – better than Digg. Digg has some pretty bad UI.

    Reply

  3. ·

    Couple of points:

    – What’s Mixx’s differentiator? I’ve yet to see anyone put that clearly.
    -SEOmoz have a great community.
    -I’m a guy, and pretty is important to me too!
    -You need to be in SEW’s forums, because they have very knowledgeable, helpful people there. I’ve heard and seen great things at Cre8asite too, but am not a regular.

    Reply
  4. Kat
    ·

    Wow, thanks for the great feedback, guys!

    @randfish – Will definitely check out news.ycombinator.com. I know just enough programming to be a danger to myself and others, (more a programming groupie than a programmer) so “techy” should be right up my alley.

    @Bob S – I still scratch my head when I read people talking about “Digg’s great UI.” Good to hear I’m not alone.

    @Gab – Will have to ponder your first point a little, but I personally thing it’s going to be the way they handle Topics and Groups. Basically, it’s default setting is to filter out everything except what you’re most likely to be interested in.

    For example, I’m not a huge fan of politics. Because of the way I’ve setup my profile, I rarely see political stories–even though plenty of them are submitted. I’d have to go looking for them.

    I agree completely about SEOmoz! Which is why I have to sign off now and apologize to my husband for letting a REALLY inappropriate word fly out of my mouth in front of our son, upon seeing my first comment was from Rand…

    Reply

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