Browsing the Sunday papers (online, naturally) it was delightful to read Maclean Kay’s (@MacleanKay) article in the Times Colonist “Why you should join the Twitter-people“. Over a year ago I noted through this blog the rise of social media in Victoria – Twitter Takes Off in Victoria BC – so it’s affirmational that others are recognising this local trend.
How many local users are active on Twitter? Actual numbers, as with any statistic on social media, are difficult to pin down, but perusing a number of YYJ twitter lists suggest hundreds, if not thousands, are active: see #YYJ Lists by Paul Holmes and Janis LaCouvee. Combine that with Facebook, discussion boards, blogs and FourSquare, and compare with usage only a year ago, and it is clear Victoria is in the midst of a social media explosion.
While I disagree somewhat with Maclean’s inference that ‘influence’ posts are largely rejected, he is correct that preference and referrals trend towards the funny, insightful and informational over an overt attempt to ‘sell’. That is true nationally as well as locally, although there are some notable exceptions including Victoria wine stores, and restaurants who effectively market using social media.
Where I do completely agree with Maclean Kay is that social media is rapidly changing influence on a different level – a shift away from the ‘old boy’ network of media and political players to a flatter, more democratic, plane.
One recent blog post noted social media “woke up” Victoria and outflanked the old-boys’ network — then named the new club of social-media heavyweights.
“It’s not any kind of revolt,” says Brown. “It’s just a culture that’s opening out in a new area, with no hierarchy — an absolutely inclusive place. Social media offer a whole new vanguard of people to lead.”
OK, but does that “whole new vanguard” mean replacing the old-boys’ club with a new-boys’ (and girls’) club? Brown laughed a bit at the conspiracy theory.
Agreed also that Victoria has more than its share of social media experts. For a small population the number of professionals aiding business, organizations and government, conducting seminars; creating camps and conferences is remarkable.
Only the future will tell if Victoria has reached a critical mass of Twitter and social media users; enough that a culture shift is inevitable. All of this will be discussed at the October 3rd Social Media Camp.