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Spaceship-shaped nuggets and social media

September 15, 2011 by Kate Franzman

Using 3D printers, the New York City-based French Culinary Institute and Cornell University have constructed edible objects using pureed foods instead of ink.

Sounds like something Willy Wonka himself would dream up.

Potentially, they say, this could mean a new kind of health food: more fun, interesting and appealing. What kid wouldn't eat a space shuttle, whether it's made of pizza, plums, or peas?

Consider the same concept for your brand. Would your message reach more people if it was repackaged? If you can put aside the fact that I just compared your brand's message to liquified edible material, let's explore that idea using social media, the two main contenders being Twitter and Facebook.

Should your message take a different shape depending on which medium you use? Kirsten Eamon-Shine, Director of Programs & Communications at local nonprofit Peace Learning Center, thinks so.

"Just like "real world" spaces have different norms, tones and expectations, these digital social spaces do, too. For organizations and businesses that serve specific communities (as opposed to mega-brands) understanding those spaces is essential to leveraging those conversations to achieve a mission," says Shine.

She frequently gives advice to other nonprofits through her social media consulting venture, Shine Social.

"Through Twitter, a business or nonprofit can share ideas and information often, engage in conversation when it makes sense and connect with users who have concerns," says Shine.
"I consider Facebook more like a dinner party. You want to be around people who will ask you questions, listen to you and, at the very least, relate to others in a manner that is either entertaining or informative. Organizations are best served by posting what they know is relevant to users, inviting conversation and providing a personal connection to their mission or services."

This informative article by Stephen Thornton uses a similar analogy:

Let’s say you go to a wedding or other social gathering where lots of people know each other. The style and tone of communication there will be more like using Facebook; you chat with old friends and acquaintances, mixing and mingling in an intimate manner. In this setting, people tend to feel more relaxed and “in their element.” Conversations are familiar and center on shared experiences and connections.

Now, when you go to a large party or social event where you don’t know most of the people in attendance, you will use a very different style of communication, more like Twitter; you want to meet people and somehow make yourself known, stand out from the crowd, make an impression, self promote and make new connections. Twitter is like getting the podium and not everyone feels comfortable or knows how to stand comfortably in the spotlight.

Keep in mind that ultimately, the message must be relevant to your audience: a veggie-loathing little kid won't be fooled into eating an ice-cream cone made from brussels sprouts. At least, not for long.

Do you change the way you communicate through social media depending on the platform? Tell me how.

Image credit: The Cool Gadgets


2 Responses to "Spaceship-shaped nuggets and social media"

Jeb says:
great post Kate. Kirsten's quotes are right on. Oh, and welcome to Pivot!
SEP 16, 2011
Robby Slaughter says:
I already knew Kirsten Eamon-Shine was smart, but this is a new twist on the old message regarding sending out the same message to the same platforms.

Wherever you are, speak and listen in the manner appropriate for the venue. That applies online and off!
SEP 15, 2011

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