Ripple not Broadcast, WOMMA, Social Media Club

From David Armano – his diagram can explain a ton of different things. In this case, for me, distributing content through blogs not broadcast.

I teach “Ripple Distribution” as part of social media marketing campaign courses. We (Chris Saad, Trib (Stephen Collins), badgergravling, jed white, were just having a discussion on Twitter broadcast and symbiotic relationships with the press so I thought I’d go into more detail here, in case you were interested.

The challenge with blogs and social media content is building distribution, gaining an audience. This diagram can also been seen as a blogger ripple diagram. #1’s are TechCrunch etc. #4 would be me and you. Heh. A nice model for word of mouth or social media marketing. And you don’t need to engage the big fish (number 1’s). A #4 niche blogger, who is connected to the ripples can eventually push the story/content up through the chain. More than one story has started with a blogger with less than 400 subs and made it to the front page of Engadget or BoingBoing and from there to traditional media and press. By the way, ignore #4 bloggers that don’t link to others. They aren’t part of the ripple and not connected… mean, but true.

Tip: Try engaging with #4 bloggers – a bunch of them – to build buzz. If it’s buzz-worthy, it will make it to #1’s anyway….

So broadcast is one-to-many, and ripple is few-to-few in increasing spirals.

Which makes this email from WOMMA all the more mystifying:

Hi Laurel,

We’re thrilled World Communities is interested in joining WOMMA. However, I need a little more information from you. I tried searching your website to find out more about the company but wasn’t having any luck. Membership in WOMMA is available for actual companies engaging in word of mouth marketing. Unfortunately, we do not offer individual memberships.

Could you email me a synopsis of what your company does, how long you’ve been in business, how many full-time employees you have and what your goals of joining WOMMA are? Also, please let me know if you have read WOMMA’s Ethics Code and agree to abide by it.

Once I hear back from you, we can hopefully move forward with the membership process.

Best regards,


A Word of Mouth organisation that doesn’t respect or value the individual? I asked them to refund me my money:

Hi Tarah,
Please refund me my money then – if WOMMA can’t understand the impact that one individual can make on an industry, through word of mouth activiites, then it is not the organisation for me.

(insert boastful stuff about me going to Saudi Arabia, developing social media marketing courses from scratch, consulting with major global agencies and media companies, and being invited to keynote with grown up COMPANY people)

Again, if you don’t understand the impact an individual consultant like me can have on the WOM and Social Media industry, then I need to find another WOM organisation – one that won’t allow a lot of powerful individuals to run around without a direction or ethics or support.

You asked about Aims? It was to join an organisation of like-minded individuals. After all, it is the individuals that support WOM, not companies. You asked about Staff? Yes I employ people – mostly in the area of accounts and clerical work. I checked – they are not interested in WOMMA. (and so on and so forth)

In an age that empowers the individual beyond anything we have ever seen before, well, who are these ‘industry’ organisations that value the company over all others? It makes business sense if you are for-profit… but not-for-profits? *shakes head* I’m not having much luck finding an organisation that meets my needs lately, am I. *sad* By the way, there will be more damage done by individual consultants in the long tail that aren’t covered by WOMMA than by the small percentage of large companies that are trying to abide by it’s Ethics statements.

Gavin Heaton has withdrawn from nomination as a Social Media Club board member. So have a number of other people. Just one quick question. In a world that is moving towards peer-to-peer, and disseminated government and education, why on earth are they still instituting boards? I mean, if there was one industry that could show the power of the people – not the all-powerful clicques – surely it’s social web stuff? o.O

Ah well, it’s all just teething problems, right?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

7 thoughts on “Ripple not Broadcast, WOMMA, Social Media Club

  1. Hi Laurel,

    First off – I LOVE Armano’s ripple diagram. It’s spot on with how I’m viewing the space right now, in fact I showed it off in a client meeting just the other day.

    RE WOMMA: I know the WOMMA guys very well, my employer Converseon have been governing members and I liaise with them regularly.

    I think they’re a smart bunch of people and their ethics code and ‘Honesty ROI’ are industry leading.

    I’ll drop some contacts there a note about you – you’re assessment is correct and they don’t know what they’re missing without you.

  2. By the way, ignore #4 bloggers that don’t link to others. They aren’t part of the ripple and not connected… mean, but true.

    Which as you refer to, is why a lot of these organisations are redundant. They are often not needed, as there’s an informal, organic organisation already out there.

  3. Laurel,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a bit and I think your response to the club was well-done. The point of social media is the power of the individual to make an impact. I work with a French lady who strikes me as your counterpart in Europe (http://www.rollingtalks.com/). Like you, she’s done a lot to show the impact of social media in European politics and industry.
    I look forward to your continued impact.

  4. Hi Paull, thanks dear *hugs* but not sure I want to be a member of a ‘community’ that excludes the power of the individual (and my friends). But thanks for offering!

    @dirk agree. ’nuff said. 🙂

    @ Linda great link! About Rolling Talks shall keep my eye on it. 🙂

  5. I’ve been having the same conversation as you with WOMMA. And like you and Rafiq Phillips, don’t get their position.

    Obviously don’t get it. Is it just that they want to be a powerful governing organisation we throw our money at? If so, what are we really going to get in terms of membership benefit? Because the list isn’t that compelling if it’s not ultimately about people.

    Individuals are by far the most powerful component of word-of-mouth; failing to get this suggests a failing in WOMMA’s understanding of its own purpose.

    Oh, and while I offered myself up for the SMC board, I scratch my head a little, too. Just do stuff.

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