Friday, March 25, 2011

The Social Half Hour

NOTE: Below you'll read a bit that I'm calling the "Social Half Hour," something we need to do as Uncharted staff to help our little social media group grow and flourish. It'll be added to over the weekend, as the discussion continues.

Everything I've read, from Clay Shirky to reports given from SXSW 2011 (TIME magazine has a good one) tells me that the sites that take off are the sites who have people who will gladhand and pound the pavement and really annoy their friends into participating. That's said in a jocular fashion, but that's pretty much what we have to do -- we so enthusiastic and persistent about Uncharted that people eventually give in.

But, to give us balance and to help us each explore this opportunity in a variety of ways that help us sometimes stay in our comfort zone while other times leaping out of it, here's how I suggest we do that half hour:
  • Time spent on the Uncharted site, either reading and commenting on stories or photosets.
  • Forwarding suggested promotional content on to me, so I can get them in the editorial queue. We've been challenged to update once a week, so that is the only way that's going to happen.
  • Responding to (via comment) any invitation we receive from an Uncharted friend to view a photoset or read a story. The comments are the only visible stamp we have that the stories/photosets on Uncharted are viewed and appreciated.
  • Scanning staff profiles and the profiles of any staff members for typos and such, and letting the responsible party know in a kind way. We've got to present ourselves well, and I've noticed even in my own stuff that typos are getting through.
  • Spending time on our Facebook profiles, in the Flickr photosets of people we know, et cetera, looking for stuff that could go up on Uncharted easily. I say "people we know" because that's one of our best ways of making a connection with people. Morgan Spurlock, of "Supersize Me" fame, however, points out in a new documentary that there's simply a lot of cold calling involved in getting people interested in anything. So there'll be a cold calling element to that as well. To aid that, I'd like to see editorial/marketing gin up a few sample responses we can send out as a springboard to help the rest of us articulate the advantages of submitting to Uncharted. We need that because we're competing against places where people are already very comfortable in submitting content. We need to show them advantages of resubmitting to us.
I'd love, of course, to hear other suggestions.

Ancillary to this effort, I see the following as things that are needful or that would be helpful to our cause:
  • A simplified submission process. Flickr and Facebook make it really, really easy to submit photos. Our process is a bit more cumbersome. Fixing it, of course, will require time and effort, so this is not a short-term fix.
  • Until the short-term fix is in place, we need a submission tutorial, on-screen, with video and sound and such, showing the submission process. We'll post the video to YouTube than link it somewhere on the site. I'll have time to put one together tonight, using some screen capture software I've got. I'll also write a script, but I'd like someone else to narrate and put on the Uncharted flair and such (I've got a cold and am not in good voice at the moment). Maybe if we can walk people through the procedure it'll entice them more.
I'll keep thinking about this, but these are my preliminary thoughts.

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