Bottles in the Social Media Stream – Real real gone

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In response to a blog post about the business value or lack therein of streams versus non-stream media (a la twitter), I wrote the following. Not being party to the entire conversation it’s hard to say but how can supposed experts speaking on panels and at conferences not get the basic significance of the word “stream”?

Based on a section in “Giving the Business To Social Media – Hype, Hope, Reality, Bust”

Just had time for a cursory glance but I think you folks seem to be missing the absolutely critical defining characteristic of a stream. Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming book, Giving the Business To Social Media.<i>

“A message you send to the twitter stream (or a status update on Facebook or other systems) is much like a message in a bottle. You drop it the stream and the current takes it downstream, where people who are interested can see the bottle/message go by, and take note of it.

Anyone on the bank of the stream can access your message IF they are paying attention, at the time the message goes past them.

Here’s the key point. What happens if a person on the bank happens to be staring at some sheep across the field when your bottle goes by? Not much. The bottle continues on its way, and the sheepwatcher will be oblivious to the fact that he has missed the message.

In the unlikely eventuality that the person on the bank is expecting your message and really really wants to read it, he can go searching for it downstream. The message, at least theoretically, still exists and is accessible, although the longer the time since the message entered the stream, the less likely it will be found.”</i>

WIthout drawing each point out here, it is pretty clear where the problem lies with streams. It’s limited shelf life. Even with searching, I’ve been told that most tweets are no longer findable after about 10 days (have to confirm that).

The business consequences are obvious.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.

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