Full disclosure: I was on the organizing committee for today's CMA – Canadian Marketing Association – From Mass To Grass – The Word Of Mouth Conference that took place in Toronto. I'm giving full disclosure, because I don't want you to think I'm only waxing poetic about the day because I sat on a couple of conference calls and helped strategize on speakers to feature.
It was a sick-crazy day... and I mean that in the best possible way.
Last night we had a small dinner (by Geek Dinner Toronto standards) with about twenty people, including the two keynote speakers: Jackie Huba (from Church Of The Customer and co-author of Citizen Marketers) and Kyle MacDonald (the One Red Paperclip guy - he traded his one red paperclip all the way up to a house) with some of the other speakers and guests.
I guess you could call it Geek Dinner Toronto WOM as it was not an open-community Geek Dinner Toronto like we have done in the past. Regardless, our little corner featured amazing conversations about Blogging, Podcasting, Twitter and other social media trends. There was Jackie, Ed Lee from Blogging Me Blogging You chiming in along with Sean Moffit from Buzz Canuck and Agent Wildfire (also the co-chair of the conference) with Louis Gagnon from Monster.com (the other co-chair). The most spirited conversation revolved around Jackie's 1% rule from Citizen Marketers (which she co-authored with Ben McConnell). The 1% rule states that in social networks only one percent of the community creates content. The other ninety nine percent simply participate without creating.
This got me thinking (or wondering... albeit out loud) if consumers actually "know" when they are creating content or not anymore? Do consumers "know" if they are reading a Blog or if it's just a website (and, do they care)? If you add a comment to a Blog, does that fall in the one percent? If you add a review to Amazon.com, does that count?
The big marketing question we grappled with over dinner and into today at the conference was: do people even know — at this point in social media — if they are creating unique content or not- and do they care?
It may seem like a simple question, but the ramifications should change the way Marketers are creating programs. If consumers always assume that sites are truly interactive and their voice counts, then whether or not they can (or are) creating content becomes a somewhat irrelevant yardstick. In my humble opinion I don't think consumers place weight on whether or not they have created content or just visited a site. I-m guessing that they simply want engaging brand experiences — regardless of whether or not they created it, contributed to it or just plain consumed it.