The Fragmented Social Web: Where have our communities gone?

I’m looking for case studies and best practices to describe how leading practitioners of social media are tracking conversations about organization and issues across an increasingly fragmented social media landscape.

We’ve come a long way since the early days of blogging. Back then, online conversations thrived in the comments sections of blogs. In the open for all to see. Search engines loved it. Blogging had great “Google juice.” We could publish our content on a personal or corporate blog and watch the comments and trackbacks as people responded. And our content would rise in search engine rankings.

Those were simple and satisfying times. But the online world has moved on.

Today, blogs still exist. But a greater volume of online posting and conversation has moved over to places like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

So what’s wrong with that?

Many of these conversations aren’t readily visible to us through simple searches. Facebook is a walled garden with privacy controls. Google+ encourages people to post only to defined “circles” of friends. When they do this, their posts are not viewable through search. And Twitter moved in the summer to make its full Twitter stream available only through Bing, not Google, adding to the work we must go through to search for references relevant to us.

And as the conversation has gone onto these social networks, the comments on most public blogs have decreased in volume.

More and more people are using social media – but much of their interaction is fragmented in walled gardens or available only to their friends and circles.

So, what’s a marketer, community manager or corporate reputation manager to do? Do we give up on seeing our community? Do we spend endless hours and resources tracking every conversation everywhere?

How do you find the conversations that matter to you when they are spread across numerous social media and networks? When they are playing peek a boo in the Facebook walled garden or within limited distribution Google Circles?

I’m looking for case studies or interviews with practitioners for a presentation I’m preparing and a companion series of blog posts. If you’re willing to share how you’re dealing with the new fragmented social Web, please let me know. I’d love to feature your case study or tips.


What makes a conference worth attending?

Why do you attend conferences? I attend primarily for two reasons.

First, I want to meet in real life the people who share my interests and whom I follow online. I get to know them well online. But still there’s no substitute for real life, in-the-flesh contact. So, I always consider who else will be attending a conference when I’m deciding whether to invest the time and effort to attend.

Second, I want to be exposed to new ideas that I can think about and learn from. I consider a presentation worthwhile if I get at least one thought-provoking idea from it. So, at a great conference, I might take away four or five great ideas for each day I attend.

I discussed this in a short video interview with Johna Burke from Burrelle’s Luce when we bumped into one another at the recent PRSA Counselors Academy Conference in Las Vegas.