'Direct Social' is the nowness, possibly serving up a side of realness

I’ve been throwing out the concept ‘palm-to-palm’ and ‘direct social’ — peeps eye-roll or fake go along with it because it sounds like it could be partially real (and also everyone has read The Circle or wants to understand what the hell is happening with those there Millennials). In my mind there is no question what’s happening in social, or under social, or around social. I would argue this is the new social.… here goes:

People are producing on their phones, for sharing on their phones, to people on their phones. Duh.


BUT when I say people, I mean, a person is creating something in the moment, to be sent directly to an audience of one (or a few). This is a shift.

Choire Sicha, founder of The Awl, gets at it a bit here, in a Q and A

I would say the most fascinating and challenging writing is happening on GroupMe, Hipchat, IRC, Campfire, maybe Snapchat and Whisper, and then on the more conversational corners of Tumblr and maybe sometimes Twitter, but not that often, because Twitter is for the olds, and it calcifies really fast.

AGREE X 5000000.

Let me see if I can break down a bit of what Sicha asserts in the context of a few platforms and ‘direct social’ etc, blah blah:

Social that is ‘produced’ and that is a stage for the masses to see you / the brand of you (!). (By ‘produced’ I mean, artificially staged or created to look as if your life is the coolest or the worst, etc. — effectively, not reflecting the reality of what you are really doing). 

  • Facebook (and now your mom is all up on it using weird strings of words as hashtags)
  • Instagram (the new Facebook)
  • Twitter (now with inline media, ‘produced’ more than ever) 

Direct social that is less produced, and err, direct to a select person, or few: 

  • Snapchat 
  • Line 
  • GroupMe

How ‘produced’ social for the masses enables direct social 

You see an Instagram —> you take a screen grab —> you text it directly to a friend with your thoughts —> They go to Instagram and like it —> You then Snapchat your friend in response to them liking the Instagram —> You text some more and then decide to make a sub Tweet about the entire thing and you both follow the stream of who is liking the Instagram —> Someone picks up on the sub Tweet and sends you an anonymous message on Tumblr, asks you to add them on Snapchat —> You add that person and they send you a snap —> Next you see a Whisper and wonder if it is in response to your sub Tweet (you are searching Whisper by location and tags) —> Your new Snapchat friend direct Whispers to the person who Whispered and then messages you to say yes it’s probably in response to your sub Tweet —> You then respond to the Whisper with a Whisper response that is public —> Your friend screen grabs the Whisper and asks if you did the response —> You Snapchat her a picture of your car to say you’re on your way over to her house —> You get there and make a Vine that has nothing to do with any of this. 

Most of what just happened was only seen by a handful of people, 100 percent of it was through or enabled by social. Direct social, if you will. 

The other thing that is happening is a possible return to realness. And by realness, I mean, a backlash against producing for the masses with phony statuses. Anonymous sharing is on the up —> then people can connect behind that something more authentic (?!) . .. a few apps that enable that:

  • Whisper
  • Secret 
  • Lulu 

Where all this will go is to be seen. Just like the infinite stream on the Web has crested, social for the masses is getting there. 

Hollering direct is happening. 

'The Web is Dead. Long live the Internet' — The debate is back (and maybe a little settled?)


As much as we love the open, unfettered Web, we’re abandoning it for simpler, sleeker services that just work. 

The Web is Dead. Long live the Internet. Remember this story from 2010? We all read it, shared it, debated it, believed it. And then we stepped back from it, believe HTML5 and responsive design to be the savior across the board. In fact, we wanted to have it both ways, so we started wrapping HTML5 with native and throwing it in the app store. We were sloppy, but desperate for a platform solution across the board. Then more and more mobile devices / applications rolled out. We all yearned for native, how we could take advantage of the device. And experience started to really win (again). Adaptive storytelling. Device first. What I am saying is re-read this article: The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet.

Sponsor fearlessness in 2014

The double standard of lip service to ‘innovation’ is dangerous. In my experience it is what stymies real experimentation more than anything. If your metric for success is to break ground, you must be seen as successful when you do that. NOT just when what you break ground on makes money, gets buzz, gets eyeballs, does award-winning work. Of course, eventually, those are those are important goals. Sometimes you can hit all of them when innovating. Home run. Win everything. But it starts with experimentation. The danger in the double standard mentioned is that folks become scared to take risks because even though they are being pushed to innovate, they understand that they are only seen as successful when they break ground AND hit on one of the others; Net net: less shipping. In 2014 let’s honestly get behind innovation — as on-the-ground actors, as managers of innovative ideas. Sponsor fearlessness in 2014.

Two quotes I’ve read this year that have stuck with me. I am going to keep them close in 2014.

From the CTO of Amazon:

needed this tweet today MT @noahWG To innovate, “You have to be willing to be misunderstood for a long period of time” - @Werner via @sdkstl

— coryhaik (@coryhaik)

November 20, 2013

From the CMO of Walmart (of all places!):

Damn. Word. MT @ANAmarketers: Walmart’s Stephen Quinn: Protect your mavericks & innovators, have them work on key assignments #ANA_Masters

— coryhaik (@coryhaik)

October 4, 2013

Let me help you with that . .. or Always Be Pitching


Everyone knows the tried and true rule of disrupting. You don’t really ask for permission. It’s show, not tell. It’s demo, not memo. Because if you’re not shipping, your ideas, your projects, your passions and paths to the future will be prio’d right out of the hell-in-a-handbasket roadmap. Sound like a lot of work? Sorry. But there’s something else that goes with this that can make this approach more successful. Call it the business-smarts part of the prototype-to-success lifestyle. It’s the ABP: ALWAYS BE PITCHING. Not necessarily in the ‘you need to be on’ all the time way. Or become that person on Twitter. (Or the stalker vendor, or the elevator pitch a$$hole). You just need to consider everyone — across departments, up and down the chain — your audience. Share your ideas as solutions to whatever problems you come across as they are organically shared with you. Or tweak your ideas to be solutions to whatever problems you organically come across. This works because everyone wants to be successful. Give them their answer. There is nothing better than someone bringing your name up as a person with a plan in a meeting you know nothing about. Sometimes it’s a long game. Sometimes things change overnight. .. . be ready. 

(I mean, this post is obvi also a pitch)