Velocity Visibility Proximity Relevance

This is mostly soft and gooey.

While companies are wondering/worrying about what to do with social media for marketing, I’m thinking already about which forces are at play in moving information through our heads, through systems, through clusters of friends along trusted paths. I’m thinking about velocity of information, visibility (or rather, the filtering), proximity (and how location changes everything) and relevance (should I even be bothered)?

We’ve had two years to mess around with profiles, with friending behaviors, with making the advertising data flow into the old stuff that was lying around.

But those aren’t really the problems/challenges/opportunities, are they? How fast can information be made “firm?” How can we move information from tweets to validated information that’s useful?

How can we hide information that doesn’t matter? I don’t read all your tweets. Why should I?

When can we work on where information matters?

When can we work on making things more “touchable” and linked between the web and the world?

Those are the problems all of us who’ve figured out social media should get working on. Screw making a new Twitter-killer, okay? Work on the problems of making this storm manageable. Yes? runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Warren Whitlock

    Profiles are like finding a cell in a brain scan that points to a memory. We probe it and the left ring finger twitches.

    Now we are learning that the mind works and grow based on the connections.. to many for use to count and sometime fleeting.

    There's a metaphor here in the goo

  • http://TrafficCafe.TV/secret Jonathan Gunson

    Chris re Velocity etc … the most exciting point here is how fast can the vague chatter of information be made firm and logged in a logical USEFUL store.

    Twitter is like a jumble of ideas in the mind .. before being pulled together and spoken as a coherent sentence.


  • Louis Gray

    Funny that you were writing this up just as I was writing my post on mytweetsense, from my6sense (who I advise). mytweetsense, which just launched yesterday, finds the most relevant tweets, based on your own personal interests, and your own personal activity. In effect, it can show only tweets with links, and remove the noise of status updates and location check-ins. If you are checking Twitter on iPhone, it absolutely makes sense. On top of this, finding relevancy and impactful info is tough. It takes effort, on your part to find the best sources, and from the sources to try and deliver value. This is true both on a personal level and in business.

    The post on mytweetsense is here:

  • gianandreafacchini

    Waiting to hear from you here @Leweb, I wish to add my two cents to this conversation.
    Connection between the web and the real world is a real issue for all the activities related to the Social Web. This is what we try to do with our strategic monitoring company: not just throwing papers on the desk of our clients but reading and interpreting with them the information collected and generating something that “can be touch”. But still too many question remains unanswered about relevance. And to me, this is a matter that no software can solve right now nor in a foreseeable future: it's again on the human contribution.

  • Bill Rice

    I got really excited when Seth Godin said he was launching Squidoo and they were “lenses.” Before it was released I imagined seeing things through the “lens” created by my social graph.

    Then, I thought FriendFeed was going to accomplish this. But, it didn't and I can't quite put my finger on why.

    I still think the answer to relevance has to do with filtering my attention through the “lens” created by my friends. And do this now to some degree with my-favorites Twitter List and my Google Reader “people I follow,” but it is still missing something.

    Off to noodle more I suppose… Definitely important.

  • Donna Kastner/Retirepreneur

    Great points, Jonathan. So if we can: 1. Make info firm. 2. Filter for relevance, 3.Easily retrievable, 4. Connect related pieces to form higher-level, more coherent observations – Suddenly the storm becomes more manageable AND more valuable.

  • jamieturner

    Thanks for your kind comments about Georgia, Chris. I'm glad you had a good dose of Southern Hospitality while you were here.

    And thanks, too, for your response to my query about how to auto-follow on Twitter. It's interesting that you switched off of that because of all the SPAM.

    SPAM … baaaaaaad.


    All the best,
    Jamie Turner

  • thomsinger

    My complaint with many who are pondering social media is they are looking for ways to “manipulate” social media. But it is not about manipulating it for a company's CMO to look brilliant. It is about being authentic.On the play ground in kindergarten kids are just kids. They play with everyone, but still have their own close friends. .. people are just people. Come Jr. High and high school we get caught up into status, manipulation and playing games…. but in the beginning it is just real. Social media is starting to be run like a prom-queen election, and that is too bad. Too much time is being spent on how to manipulate the masses rather than just being real.

  • Don Lafferty

    Like you said, it's gooey, but it's a gooey sales funnel nonetheless. In my head, it looks something like this: Profile your target customers. Understand the proximity bullseyes that identify them and their behavior. Create filters that deliver a stream of high value leads. Put 'em through a more intelligent filter to increase the value. Hook 'em. Boat' em. Improve and compress the process.

    All through this process new leads are entering the funnel by nature of their proximity to the high value targets.

    Make sense?

  • ricksimmons

    Too many being left behind still figuring out the shiny objects – a brief stop over to figure things out would be a benefit long term anyway.

  • Judith Atkinson

    Your final paragraph says it all. The storm has to be harnessed now!!! We seem to spend so much time thinking about our tweets and linking to other social media but unless we begin to turn this into business and $'s it's just a whole lot of time spent being very social, attractive and friendly.
    The technology is there, let's capitalize on it to get this thing really motoring or we'll become a generation of tweeting morons and the momentum will be lost.

  • jtrigsby

    HHmm, interesting topic. In fact, one I've been thinking about myself the past week or so. Here are a couple of points to consider.

    First, we should think of “social media” in terms of the telephone. While social media does it faster and louder, in reality it does the same thing the telephone does. Facilitates interaction with others. Some we know, some we don't… some messages we get instantly, some we choose to ignore, and some are left on the answering machine for us to process later.

    Ok, with that foundation…

    First, we need to understand relevance is relative. A traffic report is not very relevant to me while I'm at work… but very relevant while I'm driving home. So there must be some way to articulate relative relevance then filter/curate by it. Relative Relevance.

    Second, we need a way to curate the personal stream. Not just Twitter… everything. News, blog posts, Facebook updates, weather reports, traffic reports… everything. That curation should be sortable, filterable and definitely searchable. Curation.

    Third, the filters and curation needs to learn. When I click on an item and express interest in it, the stream needs to analyse that item the same way Pandora analyzes the music I listen to. The filters become smarter, suggest items, people and sources that I may not know about. Learning.

    Finally, we need a simple way to integrate the stream into our daily lives. Being limited to the desktop, laptop… even the phone is just not acceptable. The car should voice over the podcast / radio I'm listening to to give me traffic updates. My phone should filter text messages to just my wife and kids while I'm at work, etc. Integration.

    Ok, that already too long… sorry. That's just my humble opinion. any thoughts?

  • tiggerlou

    I LOVE it when people talk about the meta issues! I totally agree we need to step back and take a very wide view.

    These new tools are so so much more powerful than many people realize. We're not just making faster/cheaper/louder ads, we are changing communication, we are changing culture, we are changing society.

    At the end of the day, what really matters is not whether we end up as “The Winner” at the top of the heap, with more toys, money, fans or followers. People who hunger for that are trying to fill holes in their soul. What really matters at the end of the day is whether we have used these powerful tools we have been given –tools of technology as well as tools of imagination and audacity– to build something of worth in the world.

  • tiggerlou

    I LOVE it when people talk about the meta issues! I totally agree we need to step back and take a very wide view.

    These new tools are so so much more powerful than many people realize. We're not just making faster/cheaper/louder ads, we are changing communication, we are changing culture, we are changing society.

    At the end of the day, what really matters is not whether we end up as “The Winner” at the top of the heap, with more toys, money, fans or followers. People who hunger for that are trying to fill holes in their soul. What really matters at the end of the day is whether we have used these powerful tools we have been given –tools of technology as well as tools of imagination and audacity– to build something of worth in the world.

  • Glenn Vogelsang

    Mature thinking. Reminds us not to look for the quick fix.

  • Richard

    The first thing that title made me think was “quick, duck”.

    In some ways Twitter has become a nebulous intelligence that has a life independently of its individual members. Look at how trending topics take on a life of their own, or how twitter has sometimes beaten the news agencies with major scoops.

    We can't hope to tame the social media storm and we probably have to accept that there will be some catastrophic results, just look to other systems like the world economy to see how it is bound to follow chaos theory.

  • Laurinda Shaver

    You know. Its about taking this meta data that exists on the internet and being able to filter it in a way that matters. I don't even think the meta data organizer has yet to be a twinkle in anyone's eyes. We need technology to get to the place where we can do this.

    As a side note, I love this attempt to organize information from MIT demonstarted at TED.

  • Glenn Vogelsang

    Mature thinking. Reminds us not to look for the quick fix.

  • Rusty Speidel

    Pandora does a pretty good job with music. Where's the Pandora for news and information? Filters based on location, interests, channels, relevance. Ported to all devices. One ID. That's it! Where's a VC when you need one…?

  • Dale Callahan

    Amen. We certainly have information overload – but the information is much more personable. The next revolution will not be Twitter killers or me too apps – they will be tools that help you deal with the information in intelligent ways.

  • Steve C

    I wonder too, how we can project a worthwhile message when people's attention is submerged in SO MUCH information, trivia, minutia, and crap that's in social media.
    I believe your own description of “trust” is what will outlast all the distractions. Trust has to permeate our online reputations, posts, comments, and marketing habits. It will ensure our messages and profiles keep “bubbling up” to the surface. This principle holds regardless of whatever the new technology or trick will be in social media.

  • Onethirdofyourlife

    You can only do this (cull) yourself Chris. Just like we do with an email unsubscribe button, we can press delete or hide on that friend who too often fills our e-lives with
    drivel. It's an arduous process sorry. I can't begin to imagine the paradigm shift that gives you what you are looking for in an automated way.

  • Cheril Hendry

    Storm. Great word for what's happening. How will we “weather” it? I've been so overwhelmed with information lately my human instinct has been to “turn off and turn away”. But that's giving up when I have an opportunity to do my part and help make all this beautiful technology useful. So a “storm” it is. Let's all help steer the ship through it and become amazing navigators.

  • Cheril Hendry

    Well put Rick!

  • Cheril Hendry

    Really well said, Steve C.

  • Marianna Hayes

    Totally agree. I can't quit thinking about how desperately we must banish the perception in marketing circles that there is some sort of boundary between “real” marketing and “New Media” or “Social Media” marketing. The needle is moving, but in terms of broad adoption – these perceptions are still pervasive. Chris, you said, “When can we work on making things more “touchable” and linked between the web and the world?” I call that providing a consistent customer experience or marketing experience in concrete ways both on-line and off. When we quit viewing the web world and the brick and mortar world as two different places, and view customers as customers wherever they are – and provide a consistent customer experience wherever they are, I think we will make real headway.

    I also spend a lot of time considering the balance between gleaning marketing “results” vs. marketing “intelligence” all from the same sets of “data” aka social conversations. Great stuff here!

  • Lori Hoeck

    On the old family farm, we valued the rain from the storm and channeled it. We used lightening rods to channel harmful electrical charges from rooftops into the ground.

    Yes, having our channels of information or static aligned for maximum efficiency or deflection would be nice. Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod. Who will invent the online version?


    Very timely post as I am in the thick of the social media storm. Working on ho wto consume the info in a timely matter. Also figuring out how to discern quickly whats important NOW!

  • Tyler Hayes

    Very soft and gooey indeed. I think we can all agree on the last sentence though. Not only is it the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do: plenty more business opportunity there than in the Twitter-killer industry.

  • Adriel Hampton

    Yes, this is what we should be working on. Tools are great, but REALLY tapping into the wisdom of crowds, building participation, doing important things? Much harder. These are the same issues we are grappling with in the Gov 2.0 community.

  • Jon Meier

    I like your step-by-step approach Donna. I'm in the same boat as everyone else here when it comes to trying to glean coherence and lucidity from the storm. I've found pretty helpful, though. The trick is figuring out what you want to search for on it. though…

  • Andre Natta

    I'm not really sure that I can add anything new to the conversation but to say that the goal for the coming months is to figure out what all of this information means – not necessarily how to manipulate it.

    Those who can figure out how to translate the results into usable information will be the ones that win the day.

    Filters will help us control the velocity, enable visibility and allow us to see those relevant nuggets of information based on proximity but how those nuggets are used to help make the lives of people easier will be the key – and hopefully a question that all of us are willing to dive into together in the coming months.

  • shaunhenriques

    I have read the article based on the velocity visibility proximity relevance. I like post very much as it contain informative phrase which confidential are in different system.On the old family farm, we valued the rain from the storm and channeled it. We used lightening rods to channel harmful electrical charges from rooftops into the ground.


  • johnhicks

    “How fast can information be made firm?” Joel Spolsky's has been a big success at this, voting up and revising good information, voting down the rest, and voting up the people who supply good information. Gets expired information off the shelf before it stinks or makes someone sick. Pushes “close, but no cigar” across the finish line for keeps. As StackExchange, he's expanding this beyond his narrow initial market….

  • frank barry


    At the end of the day it think it boils down to effort. New ways to push out data will continue to come out. New tools will keep being made to help us manage all the data as well as do new/interesting things.

    We have to put in EFFORT/WORK to figure out what matters to us personally and for work. Then we need to put in EFFORT to figure out how to make use of it all.

  • DaveRaffaele

    Great point. It is refreshing to hear you talk about moving from trying to build the biggest fire-hose towards building a sprinkler head instead. If I was a lawn I would be flooded right now when really I just need a light, targeted, misting once or twice a day to survive.
    The differenct between someone's identity on-line versus off-line has a short lifespan…as seen with the mass shift from online “personas” to everyone using their real name over the past 2 years. Information now is so freely being shared and everyone is grabbing, collecting, and throwing it around like some kind of new currency being blown around in a glass box. Unfortunately that currency is still not worth much to most people unless you place a high price tag on 1,000 unread RSS feeds, 1,500 people to follow on twitter who are all saying the same thing, and 300 friends on facebook asking you to fertilize their Farmville crops. My sense is that we are close to a tipping point in regards to this information growth. I am already seeing people reduce the number of people they follow on twitter, hide those chatty kathy's on facebook, and get back to that small group of people, both on-line and off-line, that bring the most value to them. I am not saying that information growth will slow to a crawl but a reduction will hopefully be seen when a much higher premium is placed on delivering value with every interaction you (both people & companies) have with others. I believe this natural contraction and the development of innovative identity management solutions will ultimately bring a sense of equilibrium. The free-market nature of this space will demand it if it hasn't already.

  • sass

    This is such an interesting and complicated topic. Part of the beauty and magic of social media, and the simple fact we CAN'T follow ALL from everyone we want to be connected with, is the serendipity that inherently creates. The things you do see that do catch your attention are each special in their own little way. While figuring out an ingenious new way to control them may cause someone to get rich, it may also unintentionally remove some of the magic pixie dust that keeps us all so drawn and committed to these “social” communities.

    In Trust Agents (which I have 65% completed according to my Kindle) you and Julien talk about how in Social Media and on-line we miss out on the non-verbal cues, the body language, etc. I'd argue that the serendipity of on-line ensures that we indeed do get those cues, but we get them over time from a wide range of sources: the tweet here, the Facebook update there, the blog post (or posted comment), the chance meeting at a tweetup or conference, all these things in time, present the color, the body language, shape of a persona that we use to gauge and interpret all of that person's digital droppings. Few things we encounter in Social Media are taken at face value. They are (consciously or unconsciously) framed by the entire virtual (i.e. digital) presence each of us has created. That is actually a mirror of how things work in the “real world.” Relationships are built over time. As I say in my L.E.A.R.N. presentation, your best friend wasn't your best friend the day you met. Your best friend became your best friend through a series of both intentional and accidental encounters that together built a lasting, meaningful bond. This same process is true on-line, but magnified by the power, scope and reach of the tools we have to play with. It is much easier to have (many) best friends online today. It is further magnified by opening this process to businesses as well as individuals so that now companies can have (many) best friends too.

    If we were indeed able to fully manage the flow, I think we would lose some of the essence of what makes it all work. (but WTF do I know… LOL.) Thanks for letting me piggyback on your platform. ;-)

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  • glucosamin

    Very informative stuff.The main drawback of social media also stems from the fact that it’s social. Like with any population or group within a population, social media can easily by gamed or manipulated by dominant factions. Social news sites and social bookmarkers rely on the quantity of users who “vote” to determine importance and relevance.

  • ray ban wayfarer

    I'm a little late finding this article, but I loved it.

  • usb flash drive

    This monitor our strategic: the company's papers not only our customers but threw on the table to read and interpret the information collected with them and something that “can touch” to do to try to create . But still many unanswered questions about the relevance is. And for me, it's not just one thing that no software can solve in the near future: The human contribution is at it again.

  • yuregininsesi

    Amen. We certainly have information overload – but the information is much more personable. The next revolution will not be Twitter killers or me too apps – they will be tools that help you deal with the information in intelligent ways.

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