Anyone who’s spent time in the social media space knows two things. You are what you share. And your product is your content. So it’s no surprise that agencies (of all kinds) are constantly attempting to create content, apps, tools and what not (in addition to their blogs) in order to show their chops, add value to clients and otherwise make it look like they know what they’re talking about.
Among the more notable is Fallon’s Skimmer, an Adobe Air desktop app designed to unify your social media stream. The application earned lots of press and won some awards, but it probably cost a fair amount to develop and has certainly not become a mainstream tool in the vein of something like Tweet Deck.
Colle+McAvoy recently launched Squawq, a simple listening application to collect and analyze tweets based on keywords. It’s functional, easy-to-use and beautifully designed. Plus it makes a positive statement about the agency. Though only time will tell whether it delivers long lasting value for clients or gets usurped by more robust tools.
At my own agency we’ve taken a slightly different approach, snapping together a basic, reusable tool that lets any of our clients turn an offline event into a social one by aggregating Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and even blog content into a real time stream. We’ve also invested time, money and effort to “underwrite” and crowdsource The Next Great Generation, a totally objective blog written by Millennials, offering clients, prospects, and others free insight to what Gen Y thinks when it comes to brands, technology and life in general. The first was relatively easy to create, but the latter admittedly is a lot of work and must itself stand the test of time.
Such must also be the case for Jason Baer’s Social Media Messenger newsletter. Jason finds and shares content that he believes will help his subscribers stay up on topical subjects. By filtering the abundance of social media content into what matters most this AdAge 150 blogger definitely offers a useful service. But again, there’s no shortage of effort required to consistently aggregate and edit a reliable newsletter.
Today, however, my colleague Stuart Foster sent me Chris Brogan’s Delicious bookmark page on social media case studies. Could anything be more obvious? Doh. Brogan has simply bookmarked and tagged every social media case study that he’s ever come across. By making it available to anyone and everyone, Brogan offers a valuable service that requires far less effort than writing the code for an original tool, that’s a lot easier than seeking and synthesizing content around a particular subject, and that’s free from the deadline of a weekly newsletter. He’s simply taken something that he does for himself already and organized it in a way that offers a service to friends, fans, followers and clients.
This is the epitome of social media. It’s not fancy or shiny. It requires little production. It serves the community. I think I’ll simply bookmark all of Chris’s bookmarks and offer them to my clients as an RSS feed. Better yet, maybe I’ll start being way more efficient with my own bookmarking. Let me know what you want me to find. I’ll save it, tag it and share it with you.