Lord Maitreya's Internet Marketing Adventures

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A relaxing night

I was sitting by a roaring fire in a silk evening robe with a glass of fine Cabernet Sauvignon, intermittently puffing on a fine Amsterdam shag from a vintage calabash in my living room surrounded by foreign supermodels when I decided to do a bit of leisure reading.

This is what my evenings look like

(Image courtesy of sites.lingeriexox.com)

I had numerous choices of reading material.  I still need to finish Shantaram (if you haven’t read it or aren’t reading it, congratulations, you are uninteresting), I recently restarted an annotated version of Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War (every business major should view this book as compulsory reading), and I’m also wrapped up in the genre-defining classic, Oscar The Grouch Kills Osama Bin Laden In A Cage Match (okay, that last one was made up), but I decided to delve, once again, into the brilliant tome of scholarly genius, The Social Media Bible.

I get the impression that, given the content of the reading this week, we’re kind of nearing the endgame of this book.  It’s been a wild ride, filled with adventure, a few chapters of comically unnecessary length, and a seemingly endless cornucopia of do’s and don’ts to consider whilst bounding along the information super highway.  Today’s post comes to you courtesy of a chapter that’s practically smack-dab in the middle of the book, chapter 24- aptly titled “Social Networks.”

The book has a tendency to only portray the bright side of the internet.  However, as I have said before, not everything on the internet is midget laughter and unicorn farts (although those are both awesome).  I’m not going to go on a whole two thousand word post about the terrifying innocence-destroying stuff that’s online, but I am going to talk about some social networks that get a lot of traffic and perform some functions online that the book either doesn’t want to admit, or overlooks completely.  Yes, the internet has some sketchy back alleys and horrifying hallways, but so does the real world, and people explore the real-world ones just as often as the online ones.

Don't be scared, this place totally isn't crawling with mutated clowns with knives for fingers

(Image courtesy of photos.igougo.com)

Yes, I’ve talked before about online furry appreciation communities and Star Trek fan art porn sites, all of which are social networks, in that they encourage their deviant populace to post media pertaining to the… uh… content…. yeah, content.  But the book’s chapter on social media is essentially a rundown of some of the most useful sites, so let’s take one that this class has opened my eyes to, and do a bit of a spotlight on it.

Before this class, I had never heard of Ning.com.  I do not have a profile on Ning, and I don’t want one.  It’s bad enough I’m on Facebook and AcidPlanet.  But Ning has an interesting formula at work.  Instead of a single, over-arching formula for the entire social networking portal, people set up mini-portals that typically pertain to specific topics, people, or ideologies.  This is a good idea, because it allows the user to essentially customize their social networking experience, and interact with all the people that are (apparently) using Ning.

Now, because I’ve spent a good deal of time on this whole Internet thing, my mind is super twisted and dark, which is why I LOVE horror movies.  There’s something about our modern society that makes a lot of us skeptical, especially when it comes to movies.  I can’t stand it when I’m seeing a movie with someone, and the only thing they ever say is “that’s so fake,” repeatedly.  Well, with horror movies, sometimes it’s the little things that do the biggest jobs.  Computer graphics are simply incapable of rousing that fight-or-flight response when watching something horrifying, which is why I especially love the Japanese-style horror flicks, because somewhere along the line, Japanese film producers learned that a tasteful makeup job and some slick editing goes much farther than expensive computer graphics (see The Messengers. The ceiling-walking scene kept me up for DAYS).  Let’s face it, Japan is one of the world’s most ancient cultures.  They’ve had more practice being crazy than anyone.  A cursory look at any of the various Japanese fetish websites will show you that, for a socially conservative culture, they’re into some WEIRD stuff (much of it involving tentacles).  Add to that their pantheon of deities and national folklore, and you have a fascinating clash of storytelling and downright terrifying horror content.  If you haven’t seen Carved, I recommend it.  That is, if you’re fine with never sleeping or talking to strangers EVER again.

A wholesom family film

(Image courtesy of lh6.ggpht.com)

And I don’t just love scary movies.  I’ve been a huge fan of the Resident Evil video game series since I was in middle school.  I remember the first zombie in the first game.  I ran out of the room.  Literally.  I was eleven.  I also love Silent Hill, which is a little more hokey, but the point is, that I love horror movies with a good plot, a terrifying antagonist, and a good conclusion.  The best part about Japanese horror movies is how they often portray the monster or creature as something that is either trying to warn people, inform people, or get some kind of revenge on someone who actually deserves it.  Sometimes, you wind up rooting for the monster, not because it kills people in awesome ways and scares the living daylights out of you, but because it’s actually the good guy.

As you can see, I’m a passionate horror fan.  I’ve seen every Saw movie, I went to see Hostel opening night, and I can sit through Night of the Living Dead without flinching.  But where can a guy like me find some like-minded people to discuss movie murder and mayhem?

Ning, that’s where.

Ning has a community called the Fans of Horror Social Network. Seems simple enough.  But it’s actually surprisingly comprehensive and deep.  Of course, there’s a “front page,” with a collage of scenes from iconic horror films and some updates and discussion, but there’s also a forum with a surprising array of content.  Here you can discuss horror video games, movies, and books, and there are even posting areas for non-horror content, and even a section to post your horror dvd’s for sale or trade with other members.

Now, what does any of this have to do with the book?  Well, let’s break down some of the features of this Ning group, and see what’s what.  First of all, it’s free.  This is important, because it allows like-minded individuals a quick and FREE way to stay in touch and discuss.  While we’re on the topic, it encourages members to post information pertaining to the multifaceted world of horror.  On top of that, this encourages user-generated content in the form of fan art, photoshop images, and Youtube videos.  Seems like a pretty complete package for the horror fanatic.  But there’s another thing.  Even though this community is rather small (137 members), they are all devoted fans of the genre.  It would be in the interest of any producer making a horror film to get some buzz going in this little community, which would generate interest that could ripple outward into the word-of-mouth sphere, spreading through Facebook and Myspace (does anyone REALLY use Myspace anymore?)

So there we have it.  A community built for an existing market that allows fans of a relatively small genre of movies to interact and share information on Ning.

To play us out, a screenshot from Microsoft’s new horror game, Alan Wake, which hits shelves in less than two months.  I have been following this game since 2006, and it’s finally upon us!

The graphics have already won numrous awards

(image courtesy of thatvideogameblog.com)


March 27, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. I wasn’t sure where you were going with this post at first, but by the time it was over I realized it was surprisingly coherent. Good job.

    The Social Media Bible is not perfect, but remember that it is for businesses trying to get a handle on how social media can help them improve business performance. Presumably, Star Trek fan altporn sites and other internet “back alleys” would not play much of a role in business performance, except perhaps in reducing productivity if someone is on such a site during work hours.

    Comment by John Stayton | March 31, 2010 | Reply

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