Have your digital channel/s reached a critical mass?

When Felix Baumgartner jumped from space he reached a critical mass, in his case the speed of sound, and beyond. The same applies to digital channels.

I have seen this a number of times on our channels, most recently with our Twitter account @NAOorguk which over the last few weeks has jumped from 2,900 odd subscribers to 4,000. My dodgy maths makes that a 30% increase and it shows no sign of slowing down.

I did not expect this or know when it would happen. Well that’s slighly untrue. I did expect a gradual increase in take up, but not a speed of sound acceleration.

I can speculate why we reached a critical mass. I am going to claim some credit myself since I have actively promoted our account and tried to build a community of interest around it. As I explained a while ago. As the account name has got more widely circulated it has been referenced more widely. A nice virtuous circle.

Also, for a number of topics of NAO reports such as the Language service at the MoJ there was a very active online community of interpreters who also mentioned @NAOorguk regularly. Of course the level of spam and bots also increases.

Now here is the point – when we are set up new channels, or more precisely subscribe to something new, such as Pinterest, do we make clear to ourself and others that it might take some time to reach a critical mass? If not we can be storing up problems internally as expectations can be raised that might take some time to be met.

So it could be a good idea to avoid raising false expectations with new channels. A plan of how to grow the audience is probably useful and a flexible approach if these plans do not pan out. If possible you might be able to sketch out a mental map of how long you expect it to take for your new account to get off the ground and start flying.

If your channel does not reach a critical mass you might just have to let it crash and burn.

But if your account soars into the stratosphere claim the plaudits.

The power of the image and Big-on (NAO graduate recruitment campaign)

Have you heard of Big-on, the campaign name of the NAO graduate recruitment program?

For some time we have been using social media to help spread the word about Big-on.

One of the key parts of the process has been having a presence at a number of the graduate recruitment fairs. On the stand is a ‘Big-on box’ which is used to engage with students.

The box is meant to be a bit of fun so that students can have their photos taken in ‘amusing and entertaining’ poses while crouching in the deliberately small box. Students being students, they usually come up with some funny approaches. Quelle surprise.

The point of the process is for NAO recruitment colleagues to talk with students and in particular have them leave their contact details for follow up. At the same time students give their permission for their photos to be used by the NAO.

Sceptics that we are, we keep being surprised how popular these photos are. They are used mainly on our Flickr site which is extremely popular and has racked up 10,000s of views. We also use them on the related Facebook page.

In addition we have seen some students use the photo we took of them as their personal image on Facebook. Which is nice as the Big-on brand is usually in these images.

More surprising over the last two weeks one student posted a link to their photo on Twitter and circulated it around with a nice comment. Another even contacted us to say that they could not see their image on Flickr yet.

So what does this show? Well students like fun, of course. They like photos and they like sharing them.

Let’s not forget the power/popularity of images and the desire to share – being social.