This post is a summary of a user group presentation in Fremont on Jan 30th, 2007, hosted by Hurricane Electric, a Managed Services web host.
I’m live blogging from The Silicon Valley Web Builder’s second event focused on the “Beyond Web 2.0″
I’ve graciously accepted Bess Ho’s offer to be the moderator for the panel, we have Sean Ness Co-Founder at STIRR.net & Business Development Manager at Institute for the Future, Dmitriy Kruglyak CEO & Community Steward, Trusted.MD Network, and Harry McCracken the Vice President/Editor in Chief, PC WORLD.
This is a unique event, unlike other conferences that focus on current technology. This is glimpse into the future of web, technology, information, and how society will mix with it. There were over 100 people there, I polled the audience and many were software engineers, developers as the primary bunch. Met some interesting and intelligent folks, great crowd.
Here’s some of the predictions from the panelists:
Sean’s 2007 Forecast
1. The iPhone flops
2. A presidential candidate drops out of the race early due
to a scandal hyped within the Web2.0 community
3. Second Life peaks and slowly dies off
4. A news stories causes the Internet to crash
5. Red Herring enters the magazine Dead Pool
6. Mobile walled garden persist
7. Twitter mushrooms as its commercial uses are adopted
8. OpenID is embraced by a “big player”
9. Reputation (RapLeaf) becomes a valuable online currency
10. The $100 Laptop is a non-starter
Sean’s 5-10 Year Forecast
1. Simulation literacy replaces computer literacy
2. Open mobile ecosytems…finally!
3. Sensemaking replaces sensing
4. Virtual Worlds (having learned from the SL slide) thrive
5. Tiny Data Servers, Huge Capacities
6. Broadband Networks Available Anywhere*, Anytime (*nearly)
7. Ambient Displays at the Human-Computer Interface
8. Tracking Physical Objects Made Easy with RFID
9. Data Mining for Effective Decision Making
10. The end of cyberspace
Dmitriy’s 2007 Forecast
Web 2.0 term becomes dirty word
Cool makes way for profitable
Blurring of media and business applications
Solutions to real industry-specific problems
Web 2.0 meets enterprise salesforce & ROI metrics
Search for a model to reward social media contributors
A major Web 2.0 player implodes over trust or privacy issues
Category fragmentation finds its limits
Push for interoperability of identities & user profiles
Majority of users still won’t care about technology
Dmitriy’s 5-10 Year Forecast
Mobile devices in unforeseen form factors
Linux will become a viable choice on the desktop
Limitations of long tail business models will be well-tested
Social media integrates into the fabric of Fortune 500 businesses
New platform technology that does not exist today will be ubiquitous
I’m especially impressed with Harry who flew back from Demo in Palm Springs to speak at this event, then return the following morning at 6:30am. Thanks Harry
Harry’s forecast Beyond “Web 2.0″
Sophisticated Web-based applications
Cheapl, rapid, development tools
Harry’s forecast on “Web 3.0″ (or at least 2.5)
See screenshots for details
Additional images from the event:
Update: see Matt Jaynes coverege of the event and his question over the ‘Web 2.0′ debate. Quite a prolific first post
Update 2: Colleague Irina and Eddie check out this small mobile device that exists today called the OQO, pretty interesting demo, and a nod to what lies ahead.
(Left: Scoble goes Johnny Mnemonic)
One of the interesting things about working at PodTech is how all kinds of interesting folks come into the office as well as interesting and unique products.
A few weeks ago, I showed you Chris Coulter’s Archos screen, here’s an interesting tool.
Thanks to Sam Levin who brought in his MyVu personal media player to PodTech. Interesting adaptation for mobile devices. He was playing video media from his iPod, the MyVu has a hardware device that attaches to the Video iPod.
The field of vision for the screen wasn’t too large, while not a ‘theater style’ it certainly let you do other things, such as moving about or pretending to listen to someone boring. I’m sure you could plug this to a PC, kick back in a lounger and do your work. It was an interesting experience, I’d love to play with this $350 toy on a plane ride.
The future of input and output devices for the web:
We’re starting to integrate video into the internet faster and faster, and IPTV could make a break for it in the next year or two.
I predict in the next 5-10 years that input devices to the web (today we use the keyboard and mouse) will slowly start to disappear and new technologies will figure out how to determine text from slight movements of your fingers, or watching your mouth move. I also expect that output devices (we currently use monitors and screens) will dissolve into glasses, transparent walls, and even holographic technology. I’m hoping a future technology will be able to embed an invisible screen (for a HUD) in prescription type glasses. Say good bye boring meeting! The internet (the name may change to something like the network or cloud) will become amorphous and ubiquitous.
Questions to be answered
How will we interact with the internet in the future? Will we continue to have visible devices? Will they become so small they dissipate and are barely noticable? Will the input and output devices be everywhere? Will we still have cubicle hell?
Love to hear your thoughts…
My friends that work at Yahoo and I agree that Yahoo is more of a Media company than anything else, so this announcement comes at very little surprise.
Yahoo has launched some interesting community platforms that aggregate content from a variety of their properties. Check out their Nintendo Wii platform site, it: Pulls in videos, social networking from existing yahoo profiles, there’s also message boards, FAQs, Content, ratings, trackbacks (a form of a memetracker) ecommerce modules, Q&A with Yahoo Answers, all with the feel of the branded experience of Nintendo.
There’s quite a few social aspects to this platform, where interaction with other real individuals is part of the core concept.
Now that Yahoo is doing the job of Nintendo’s Web team, what will those web professionals do? Oh yeah, play more video games. Since there is going to be 100 more branded websites launched in the consumer space, perhaps other web developers at those brands can take some time off.
Is this web development outsourcing a threat to web teams at consumer branded corporations?
Did the Nintendo Marketing department bypass the Nintendo Web Director to make this play happen?
To many, Jennifer McClure is one of those special people in the PR industry, she’s shared with me her passion for Public Relations, Social Media, and has helped to found a resource for our industry called the Society for New Communications. As well as the research arm called Society for New Communications Research.
They’re having a conference in Vegas soon, co hosted with Ragan PR, I recommend you attend if given the opportunity. I went last year, it was held here in Palo Alto and I had an enlightening experiences. A few months ago Jennifer and I spoke at Ragan PR in Chicago, I took notes of her session.
Jennifer Jones has interviewed Jennifer McClure on Marketing Voices. I recommend you listen in, here’s what you’ll hear an interesting discussion around: Building a Corporate Culture for Social Media, the discussion revolved around the topics of how Corporate cultures cultivate different deployments of Social Media, communicating within and outside of your company, and which industries are better at listening than others.
If you’re reading this in a feedreader, please access the player on the PodTech site. You may not see the embedded file below. This podcast was not paid for by Jennifer McClure or her associations.
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(Left: Thomas Hawk’s photo of Charlene Li)
Reviewing Charlene’s ROI of Business Blogging Research
Charlene Li sent me copies of her recently published Calculating The ROI Of Blogging from Forrester. It also included a PDF A Case Study A Look At The ROI Of General Motors’ FastLane Blog. Given my interest in the topic, she knew I’d give a fair review, and has given me permission to discuss it without giving the document away to others.
Previously, I’ve been very involved in this discussion, earlier this month I stated that corporations still require justification for business blogging (I’ve been talking to quite a few folks in corporations lately) in fact I even stated that you can’t measure the ROI of blogging until you can measure the value of other marketing activities.
How the formula works
Chalene and the Forrester crew did basic operations analysis and applied it to business blogging, it wasn’t too difficult. If you’ve figured out how to measure ROI around other activities at your corporation (such as that onsite cafeteria or dentist) then you should already be able to measure ROI for blogging. Dan Farber sheds some light on how this formula can be applied to any communication medium. (more discussions on techmeme)
Reservations on methodology
It’s not perfect however, as it can’t fully measure (and nothing can) the holistic goodwill and emotional impact business blogging can have to individuals. There are still some folks that throw caution into the wind, be sure to read KD Paine’s reservations and comments on scope of cost. I’ve had debates on ROI for blogging many, many times, and often while on stage.
My unbiased opinion
After spending time reviewing her documents, and based upon my interface with those that are deploying these programs at corporations, here’s my honest opinions on Forrester’s document. Depending on your situation, I recommend and don’t recommend the document:
This document is best suited for:
I recommend this document to corporate folks that need to deploy Business Blogging (like I did at Hitachi) only if you’re at an impasse to prove to upper management. For many corporations, $375 is a small amount of money to pay for the report.
You may not need this document if you have:
Already successfully deployed a social media program at your company, and it’s already deemed a success. Management is pleased with you, and you’re already obtaining more budget. If you’re already able to prove the success of your programs (without having to compare against costs) then you may not need this document, just continue forward. Even if you don’t need to bring to the table an ROI metric, you should still be measuring. Also, this way, if you have a change in management’s opinions, you can apply the measurement over the cost, and spend some time to obtain an ROI metric.
Focus on Social Media Measurement
PodTech’s clients are asking for this, so it’s toward the top of my interest levels. I’ve been very interested in this topic, as I was trying to measure while deploying in my previous corporate role. In my current role as a consultant, many of our clients are asking “what does success look like” and “how do we show this to management”. I’ve also been involved with Factiva and thought leaders from our industry for a roundtable. View all my posts tagged Social Media Measurement.
Thank you Charlene for sharing the report with me and letting me provide an unbiased opinion. Excellent work, Forrester has helped to move our industry forward yet again.
Last night over dinner, Kristy Wells (who is one of the founders of Social Media Club) and I discussed the usage of the term Social Media. I gave a lot of thought to that term before using it. Before, I was using the phrase Community Marketing as that is really the corporate end result that these tools are doing.
The biggest criticisms folks have against Social Media is that Media can’t be social, I first heard that from Dennis. I’ve thought about some other terms such as “Socializing Media”, but that just sounds odd. “Conversational Media” doesn’t work either, as not all of the tools exhibit conversational traits, some have unwritten gestures. To me, the term “new media” is even worse, as how long will any technology or trend be new? Help me come up with some better terms, but please, don’t say “Web 2.0″.
Chris Coulter has been giving me his thoughts on this in the back channel, hopefully he’ll jump in here and give his opinion, which is always welcome.
If you can come up with a better term, I’ll be happy to change my vernacular, I’m always looking to improve.
Update: Loren hates Social Media, but be warned he uses harsh language, and um, well is not wearing much. If you’re ok with that, watch his video.
Update 2: I wasn’t clear on my stance in this post. I prefer the term “Social Media” as I’m unaware of a better term to use. There are folks that dislike the term “Social Media”, so this is a post asking those that don’t like it to suggest a better term. If they can convince me, I’ll change my vernacular.
I’ve changed the title of this post from:
“Hate the term “Social Media?” help come up with a better term”
“Do you Hate the term “Social Media?” (I don’t) then help come up with a better term“
Update Feb 22: Doc Searls responded to Brian Solis (but Doc didn’t provide any useful nomenclature to replace Social Media) Scoble is feeling defensive.
Ben Edwards is an evangelist that I respect. He’s at IBM (a PodTech client) and been involved from the early days in helping to progress communications forward.
We talked about what it was like to help a culture open up using communication tools to reach customers. When I was building out my Social Media programs at my recent corporate employer, I often use IBM as a model for a large company that is progressive with communication.
Last week, I had the opportunity and privilege to speak with Ben on a panel on Business Bloggging. I was able to get a few minutes away and interview him regarding IBM’s social media strategies. They’ve deployed blogs, wikis, forums, events, and even have a few islands in SecondLife.
If you’re reading this in a feedreader, you can access the video directly by going to the PodTech site.
I’m starting to take my video camera with me to different tech events to interview folks, although IBM is a client of PodTech, this video was not paid for by IBM.
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Customer Reference Programs to transform due to Social Media
This post is intended as a resource and a start of a discussion for those that manage Corporate Customer Reference Programs, please forward this post to the right person in your company.
[Social media tools enable customers to share with prospects, creating both disruptions and opportunities for customer reference programs]
This is an important intersection that required some light in a recent Customer Reference conference. Social Media (Blogs, forums, podcasts, social networks and other tools) impact nearly every arena of the corporate organization. I’m not part of the Word of Mouth organization, nor part of the Customer Reference industry, but I am a Social Media consultant looking in.
Value of Customer Opinions
Nielsen Buzz Metrics research indicates that consumers trust other consumers above all others. Other research leans towards word of mouth. Prospects value the opinion of a customer over that of the vendor.
About Customer Reference Programs
As a result of the value of network based customer opinions, Customer Reference programs were born to the corporate enterprise.
Having managed or helped to lead four Enterprise Intranets at large corporations over my web career, I know that deliverables from a Customer Reference program is an invaluable to the Sales Cycle.
The Customer Reference Program Manager is responsible to build a library of examples of how customers have deployed their products across different industries or environments. Often, they obtain these references by providing bonus services to customers, beta testing products or other incentives. Sometimes, sales teams are required to obtain customer references before a compensation check is issued to account teams.
These important references are captured, organized, and republished (from PDF, video interview, a phone reference etc). Many corporate websites make excellent use of these references, here’s a few great examples from EMC, IBM customer videos, Microsoft, SAP Webcasts, and Hitachi Data Systems.
It’s possible to quantify the actual return from customer reference programs.
Diagram 1: Traditional flow of Customer Reference information
Social Media Tools lower boundaries for sharing
The examples above are a good indicator of the path of least resistance for a prospect to find a detailed customer reference was from the corporate vendor. It’s widely known that Customer Reference Programs often filter, adjust, and select the content for the benefit of the company.
Now with easy-to-publish web tools such as blogs, forums, rating site, and social networks, individuals can openly and honestly provide opinions, thoughts and engage in discussions. I, and others like me, do this frequently for products we use. The barriers to entry are internet access and basic tool knowledge.
Social Media empowers anyone to publish their voice and to be easily heard, for negative customer feedback this is a disruption and opportunity, for positive customer feedback, this is an opportunity.
Future generations of workers and decision makers primarily rely on their social networks to communicate, known as the tivo generation, digitally native, and myspace generation.
Diagram 2: Social Media Transforms Communication
Customers and talk directly to prospects bypassing a corporations, marketing and customer reference programs.
1) Customer References Content is selective
Content from customer reference programs (like other Marketing materials) gloss the company in a positive light. When a prospect is evaluating an important decision (such as a tool that could impact their career) they are expected to obtain information to make a logical business decision.
2) Customers can easily publish their customer experiences on Social Media tools.
When I was the Community Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, I experienced how customers were talking about our products, (from evaluation, installation, performance and more) and there was nothing I could do to prevent them from publishing their raw opinions. (example of our flagship product review)
3) Google makes finding opinions easy
We live in a Google world, and blogs score high in search results due to their high degree of linking. Blogs tend to have specific niche content (long tail) which indicate a high results score on search results for specific product name. (example: search results, at one time, this blog was higher in the results than the corporate website)
While an overused example, at one point, Jeremy Zawodny’s post complaining about Dell Support was displayed higher on the Google search results than the actual Dell Support page. (it’s now lower on the results page) Be sure to read the many comments of folks that offered their opinion.
Both of these examples are disruptive to how traditional customer references were captured and share, the first being a positive mention, the second being negative.
3) How Prospects can find Customer Opinions
Here’s some examples of how prospects can easily find opinions of customers using Social Media tools, please note, some of these are as old as the Internet.
Social/Network Ratings: CNET is one of the early adopters when it comes to customer ratings and reviews. Also see epinions, yelp, and other sites.
Blog Search Tools:
Tools such as Technorati, TalkDigger, Sphere, and Google Blog Search.
Sentiment Mining Tools
Robert and I had a discussion on using the terms X sucks to find out customer opinions. Also try tools like “Google Fight”, see Intel vs AMD, HDS vs EMC, Google vs Yahoo, Also see Opinmind: An early version of a sentiment mining tool
Fortunately, there are more opportunities to make a customer reference program strong using these tools, here’s some suggestions to get started:
1) Partner up!
In many companies, a “Community Manager” role or “Social or Digital Media Manager” is starting to appear as a result of the customers talking to each other and talking back. As a Customer Reference Manager you should align with them. If your company has yet to recognize the impact of these tools on your company and brand, see this post on Corporate Blog Evangelism.
2) Start to Monitor and Listen to what Customers are Saying
Learn how to use Technorati, Google Alerts, apply them to your company name, specific product name, executives. Teach Product teams and support to do the same. There’s a lot to learn from the Church of the Customer blog.
3) Engage and Harness Customer Feedback
Customers that praise your products from websites and blogs will make natural candidates for your customer reference database. Reach out to them, and ask them if they’d like to participate. Of course, as you tell prospect about their opinion, you’ll want to indicate that they willingly and voluntarily provided this feedback without your coaching or being incented. Give consideration to using negative customers opinions to win a customer for life.
If you reference customers with blogs, they are already public information, so the process in getting customer feedback is that much faster.
4) Reuse these references in other ways
If you’ve already established a corporate blogging program at your company, encourage your bloggers to link to the positive references of your customers, as well as learn to deal with the negative ones.
5) Best Practices as Social Media
Now that you’ve started to understand how to listen, your company will need to figure out how to respond to raw customer opinions. The worst thing to do is to listen and do nothing. (See what happened to Dell) Learn how to turn negative feedback about your company into a positive. There’s been cases where a customer having problems with a product will publicly blog about it, the company will respond and fix it and the customer will become a brand advocate and defender. This art is a bigger discussion, but I suggest starting with the book Naked Conversations.
Anti-Marketing Marketing emerges. At Microsoft, Robert Scoble (now my colleague) was hired as a technical evangelist for Microsoft products. He became a living customer reference program by linking to bloggers who said positive and negative things about Microsoft. By leveraging both the good and bad feedback from real customers he became a trusted source to find customer and market opinions about Microsoft.
6) Customer Reference Programs to use Social Media
There’s some fantastic tools available at your disposal now. You’re not limited to only creating PDFs on your website. With little resources you could create use social media tools to harvest the voice of the customer, and share with prospects, here’s a few ideas:
A) Organize internally
Create an internal blog at your company that references all the instances of customers talking about your products in public forums, blogs, podcasts, social sites etc. I recommend attending a conference by the Blog Business Summit, New Comm Forum, or Word of Mouth Association.
B) Publicly recognize opinions
Create this an external blog and link to all customer references on blogs, forums or in podcasts in your industry. To build the most audience trust, both negative and positive. If you work at a company with a passion community, it’s likely some customers may have already done this. You’ll be able to save yourself some time by referencing public blog posts (perhaps from your own blog) which could reduce the time to getting customer permission. In some cases, public recognition is incentive for these natural references. Here’s an interesting outcome of a small customer getting the CEO of Sun Microsystems to listen and respond.
See what people say negatively about PodTech, and how we responded. Also learn about this panel I spoke on, the theme was “Negative is the new Positive”
C) Capture and encourage those voices
That lets real customers provide their best practice information, real feedback, and rants and raves about your products. Consider involving your practice groups. For many companies this is a safe approach as you can control which passion customers will be selected to attend this session. Here’s some interesting ways to generate buzz for your program, both internally and externally.
D) Video shares human stories
Customer References shouldn’t be limited to PDF or Audio. Video is a great way to convey the human emotion and display a deeper connection.
Customer Reference Programs will expand in scope or overlap with other corporate programs:
1) Expanded Scope
There will be an overlap between the Customer Reference Program and Community/Social media programs at many corporations over the next year.
2) Listening Toolset
Customer Reference Programs will use Social Media tools to find customer opinions.
Effective Customer Reference programs will integrate negative comments and opinions into it’s program for great trust and authenticity with the market.
4) Conversational Toolset to Publish
Customer Reference Programs will use Social Media tools to help tell the stories. Some companies will benefit from the interactive benefits of these tools.
[Customer reference programs that integrate unfiltered opinions of customers and use social media tools will increase trust and accelerate the word of mouth network]
Diagram 3: Future Customer Reference Information Flow
This post stemmed from a discussion with a PodTech client (see right nav for list of clients) whom I serve as a Social Media consultant. I frequently use this blog as a resource for our customers as well as be a resource to the network. I would be interested in sharing additional information at a Customer Reference conference, you can learn more about me on my profile.
Media 2.0 Workshop is an aggregation of voices in the New Media landscape, you can easily subscribe via one feed or grab the OPML.
If you’re familiar with my writing style and focus, you’ll know that I focus on how Corporations can benefit by using the web. The changes in power that Social Media provides the power to the participants. My frequent theme is letting go to gain more, and to become a participant. I’m most specifically interested in the intersection and collaboration of customer and corporate media to improve communities
As a professional, I grow by hashing out ideas, memes, and themes with folks that have similar passions. Friend Daniela looped me in with Chris Saad, and has asked me to participate in a different way. Chris is the brain child of the Media 2.0 Workgroup which basically is an aggregation (or Digital Magazine if you will) of the voices that focus on this topic:
“The Media 2.0 Workgroup is a group of industry commentators, agitators and innovators who believe that the phenomena of democratic participation will change the face of media creation, distribution and consumption. Join the conversation…” -Read the rest of Chris’s vision from his blog
You can view other similar voices and thought leaders in the new media landscape on the Media 2.0 Workgroup page.
While I’ll still continue to write about what matters to me on this ‘career blog’, I recommend you subscribe to this aggregated feed, (leave a comment below if you did) add it to your feedreader and categorize or put into a folder tagged “media”. This aggregated feed will save you time from finding common voices and adding to your own feedreader.
Thanks Chris Saad for setting this all up, I look forward to these conversations.
Tagged Media 2.0, “Media 2.0″
(Left: I took this picture of Shel Israel using my color selector feature my Canon SD600)
Last night during coffee after dinner, Blogging Jedi Master Shel expressed to us of his concerns with some situations of bloggers taking advantage of their power, or organizations fearing bloggers. When he talks, there’s usually great wisdom or a lesson to be learned, this was no exception.
These four instances of abuse of power by bloggers and those that were watching bloggers. I suspect this trend will continue, just as it does for politicians, journalists, and anyone who obtains power.
Blogger ethics call for being 1) Honest and fair, 2) Minimize Harm, and to 3) Be Accountable.
I would add that any blogger should try to add to the community, and give credit when appropriate. And yes, that means that A-list bloggers need to start linking out, interesting thoughts from Chris.
As we gain more power by having a louder voice, we need to maintain credibility, I remember last Monday at the Frost and Sullivan conference where one attendee told me “Blogs are just a bitch session”.
Today over lunch, I told my friends I’m careful not to blog about folks that might not already be on the web. What I say about them can quickly find it’s way up search results, impacting their personal brand. The same goes to companies that do wrong, a blogger with incredible page rank can quickly destroy a search marketing program. I blogged about him using his first and last name a while ago, and it’s the top search result in Google. Since employers are known for doing Google searches for new employees, this is power I must yield carefully.
I just created a new category called ‘ethics’, and this is my first post tagged to it, probably something I should have done a long time ago.