Archive for November, 2007

Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Nov 28, 2007



I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly summary, please send to your busy executives.

I’ve created a new category called Digest where you can start to track and access these going forward. Quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read summary for analysis, and click link to dive in for more. You can subscribe to this digest tag only, which filters only these posts tagged digest.

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Web Strategy Summary
I’m starting to hear of OpenSocial creep into strategies of many brands, including companies that are briefing me. Privacy continues to be a major concern as users feel uncomfortable with how their data is being used, expect this backlash to continue as marketing becomes more personal. Money is starting to trickle into this space, from IPOs of older and existing social networks.

Trends: The social web with the Giant Global Graph
Tim Berners Lee in his latest blog post, supports the Giant Global Graph (GGG), which suggests that what’s really important on the web isn’t documents or the data, but the relationships and people and topics that we’re interacting with. As we evolve and shift to the socialized web, we should expect to share content with peers online.

Privacy: Beacon cause concern, backlash forming
Colleague Charlene pointed out to me last week that she’s seeing how Beacon can really expose personal information to her online network –without her expressed consent. The problem may not be entirely on Facebook’s shoulders, as the third party companies that are partnered with this social selling program should be held accountable by allowing the service to be opt-in, and not opt-out. Respect of users is critical for success.

NewsFeed: MySpace to replicate Newsfeed –a nod to OpenSocial
In order for viral apps to spread among a community the newsfeed has been invaluable at Facebook. No surprise that MySpace appears to be gearing up to launch the same feature, giving developers in the upcoming OpenSocial movement an opportunity to quickly share.

Money: early Social Network to IPO
One of the oldest with a strong hold with baby boomers in North America is going to have an IPO –a rare exit strategy for web companies. They’re looking at a total 12M Class a Shares and Price at $10 to $12 Each. So that means a total an estimate of about $117.7 million after fees and expenses.

Advertising: China’s Alibaba seeks monetization
This recently IPO’d SMB online marketplace Social Network launched web advertising products. Alibaba, which calls this product Alimama (which has been tested) will have ties to blog advertising.

Performance: Yahoo 360 reliable, MSN Spaces not so much
With users spending an average of 20 minutes on some social networks, the need for dedicated website uptime is critical –especially when you’ve got paying advertisers or customers. This list compiles which websites have the best performance, where Yahoo 360 (an unremarkable social network) is followed by Facebook to lead the pack. MSN Spaces suffers from the most downtime.

Talent: Facebook is the “Cool” company
I live very closer to Facebook, and can drive to Google, and have friends working at both. While Google is still clearly the established leader, there’s been a few rumors being discussed as Facebook as the “hot” company to work for, and talent leaves. With Google’s stock prices being so high, many who join are interested in the great culture, and amenities, but the promise of ‘cashing out’ still is the desire for many Facebook employees.

Stats: LinkedIn and Facebook have largest growth
Take a look at the growth percent numbers of Facebook and Linkedin, both are way above the 150% mark. Myspace has single digit growth, but has an established foothold with a large audience. The other to watch? Disney’s club penguin, with small numbers, has over 150% growth.

Privacy: Youth not sensible, Political Crackdowns
Many of today’s youths are putting tremendous amount of personal information online without giving thought to future employers, colleges, fraudsters and the malicious. BBC explores the alarming trend of youth an their online footprint precedes their reputation. In a somewhat similar situation, the government of Syria is using information within social networks to track criminals –digital finger prints may just be easier to track.

Demographics: Facebook mainly women, US, UK, Canada
Great data here, this graph (click on image to see full size) indicates a breakdown of self-identified Facebook users, most from US, UK, Canada, and a majority are female. It would be great if the graph could further break down ‘penetration’ by country, so we can see which countries have the highest adoption rates.

Although I’ve been doing this digest for a while, I’ve recently become an analyst covering this space, so I need to know what’s happening. If I missed any stories (or if your company is doing something cool in this space) leave a comment.

Need to know more? Here’s 10 Web Strategy articles I wish you would read.

Ten Web Strategy Blog Posts I wish you’d read


I’m answering a lot of questions and see myself referring to the same blog posts and concepts over and over. There’s a few posts that I recommend that you read, some of them were published a few months ago, but are starting to become very relevant. In fact, I’ll send this post to a few clients that need to get up to speed.

If you’re new to my blog, or need a quick review, please read these 10 posts:

1) The Three Spheres of Web Strategy (and the skills required)
It’s a role at many large corporations, a program and defines a scope. Find out what it means (the three spheres) the roles and requirements needed to do it right.

2) How to explain Open Social to your executives.
There’s a lot of geek talk about this new alliance between Google, MySpace, Six Apart, LinkedIn, Oracle, and Salesforce, but what does it really mean? I explain in clear English with my analysis.

3) How to evolve your Irrelevant corporate website
When I first introduced this concept at a conference, some audience members were not happy with me, they felt threatened that all of their energy fixing the corporate website will need to change. The earth turns.

4) Edgeworks Concept: How Social Media impacts Company Communications (Expanding upon Brian Oberkirch’s theory)
Are you in corporate communications or PR? This one is for you.

5) What the Web Strategist should know about Twitter
“Twitter, a scalable instant messaging service, is being used by early adopters in the tech industry, what is it? and how can it improve my communications?”

6) The Many Forms of Web Marketing for the 2007 Web Strategist
“This document catalogs the many tools and tactics available for corporate web strategy in 2007. Even if your strategy or resource limitations restrict you from entering all spaces, awareness of the changes in our digital landscape are critical.”

7) Explaining what the “Social Graph” is to your Executives
Similar to the one listed above, this explains the concept, again in boiled down easy to understand English.

8 ) Web Strategy: The Many Forms of Monetization using the Web
Here’s all the various ways that companies can generate revenues from their website.

9) The Impacts of Social Media on Corporate Customer Reference Programs
Traditionally, these programs have companies harvest customer opinions and hand back (filtered) to customers. What happens when customers talk to themselves directly.

10) Web Strategy (Advanced): Applying a Social Computing Strategy to the entire Product Lifecycle
For the corporation that is really advanced and wants to apply social media to all aspects of the customer experience. Do not attempt until your organization is ready.

In a few days, I plan to break down VRM and Intention economy, still doing some reading on it.

Web Strategy Reading: Nov 28th, 2007


Recommended Reading

  • Black Friday snarls websites as online traffic demands increase
  • Of course, it’s now being followed by “cyber monday”
  • Coke launches Facebook branded pages –are they morons?
    Anil thinks the latest game Portal has ties to previous games, I think it’s representative of how the web works.
  • What happens when goes off line, does the internet cease to exist?
  • Can Mozilla’s open data strategy be a savior to open data?
  • Video: KD Paine on Social Media Measurement, on Program Plans, Strategies, and Best Practices


    Katie Paine shares how internal teams use measurement of social media, she’s been doing PR measurement for years, and has evolved to measure social media. She’s often told me “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Of course, trying to manage social media has been hotly debated in my last post.

    She invited me to present at her metrics conference a few months ago, but new hire training took priority. She’s one of the top thinkings and practitioners in the space, so give her your full attention in this video. Learn more about her company KDPaine and Partners, thanks KD for your time.

    You may remember the video blog, Web Strategy Show I used to run at PodTech (my previous employer), the show is designed for those who make decisions for websites, (I call it a Video White Paper) and I interviewed many of the top thought and practice leaders in our industry. These videos tend to be longer in duration, I use a tripod, and we discuss the topics in advance. This is different than my quick “street” video shots I do with my digital camera.

    Having left PodTech, (a great place for content creators, as I get to take my show with me) I didn’t get a chance to publish all my tapes (there’s just a few interviews left), and put out a blog post to see if anyone wanted to publish them on my behalf. Cece, from, a webcasting and media company for some well known brands, immediately contacted me and followed-up. They have a quite a few other videos focused on IT and Marketing topics, on Insight24. They’ve even created a specific channel for the Web Strategy show.

    Thanks to Cece and the very professional On24 team!

    The Four Tenets of the Community Manager


    The budding Community Manager industry holds 4 tenets; these values resonate as a common thread within the role. The include community advocation, brand ambassadorship, online communication skills, and product requirements gathering and improvements.

    Recently, I’ve been doing some research on the Community Manager role, which is appearing at most brands that take online communities and communication seriously. This was a role I had this role at Hitachi Data Systems, and many of my friends and peers have this role around the industry, and I’ve written about it extensively.

    16 real job descriptions
    I put out requests on Twitter, blog and email to get submissions, as well as scoured the public job listings and I’ve reviewed 16 job descriptions from companies ranging from LinkedIn, Buzz about wireless (Sprint), Vancity, Communispace, Imagination Corp, Microsoft, Flock VMware, GamesforChange, Disney, ACDsee, Dogster, SimplyHired, Yahoo, and many others. It was a global sample from B2B to B2C, and the beliefs and values that these individuals require in the job description indicate a direct pattern.

    The Four Tenets of the Community Manager
    In the following, I’m not going to list out all my findings, but it was clear there were 4 number of Tenets, or beliefs that each role holds. In nearly all the job descriptions, the following beliefs were spelled out as requirements for the role.

    1) A Community Advocate
    As a community advocate, the community managers’ primary role is to represent the customer. This includes listening, which results in monitoring, and being active in understanding what customers are saying in both the corporate community as well as external websites. Secondly, they engage customers by responding to their requests and needs or just conversations, both in private and in public.

    2) Brand Evangelist
    In this evangelistic role (it goes both ways) the community manager will promote events, products and upgrades to customers by using traditional marketing tactics and conversational discussions. As proven as a trusted member of the community (tenet 1) the individual has a higher degree of trust and will offer good products.

    3) Savvy Communication Skills, Shapes Editorial
    This tenet, which is both editorial planning and mediation serves the individual well. The community manager should first be very familiar with the tools of communication, from forums, to blogs, to podcasts, to twitter, and then understand the language and jargon that is used in the community. This individual is also responsible for mediating disputes within the community, and will lean on advocates, and embrace detractors –and sometimes removing them completely. Importantly, the role is responsible for the editorial strategy and planning within the community, and will work with many internal stakeholders to identify content, plan, publish, and follow up.

    4) Gathers Community Input for Future Product and Services Perhaps the most strategic of all tenets, community managers are responsible for gathering the requirements of the community in a responsible way and presenting it to product teams. This may involve formal product requirements methods from surveys to focus groups, to facilitating the relationships between product teams and customers. The opportunity to build better products and services through this real-time live focus group are ripe, in many cases, customer communities have been waiting for a chance to give feedback.

    While there is much deeper research on this role to be completed such as where are they, how much do they make, who do they report to, best practices, etc, I’ll just be publishing the above. Thank you so much to all those who’ve submitted content to me.

    Additional Resources
    I’ve been very involved with this new role, here’s some related content:

  • Meet your peers and Join the Community Manager group in Facebook
  • Understanding the Community/Evangelist Role, and profiles of a few of my Favorite Folks
  • Capture from the Community UnConference
  • Forum One Community Roundtable–Strategies for Community
  • Video of Dell: When the Web team leads product development, the evolution of Dell Hell to Dell Swell
  • Video: Web Strategy Show: Community Strategies with Jake McKee
  • Update: Also see this association of community managers (IOCMA) that are now calling for members (link via Connie)
  • (Update: based upon comment feedback, I modified the language of this 4th tenet for clarification, thanks Shashib, and Connie)

    (Update 2: Kevin adds a lot to the conversation and challenges the idea that “They aren’t your communities to manage“, also read Evan’s response to Kevin.)

    Video: MySpace’s Jay Stevens shares the value of Community (3:30)


    Jay Stevens, an executive for MySpace EMEA, was one of the keynotes at Forrester’s recent Consumer Forum conference. He shared with me the value of community, his definition of community (find out what “peeping” is all about) and the opportunities afforded to marketers who use social networks to connect with customers. He gives a few kick steps to get started, a must-know for anyone getting ready, what’s the recommendation? Get a strategy.

    I also was live blogging his presentation Marketing in a Networked Culture if you want to get more in depth information, thanks Jay for your time.