Ellen Lee did a great wrap-up article over at SFGate on Facebook in 2007, she called me up for my opinion on the company over the last year. I suggested that Facebook is very innovative (the first to lead an application platform, and to do social based ads) yet remains very arrogant. (twice not including customers to make decisions over their very own privacy of the newspage and beacon).
Having betrayed the trust of it’s users twice, a third time is going to result in mutiny, and users will start leaving, it wont be hard for some users to organize and move.
What could Facebook do better? Involve it’s
customers members (Update: See Doc Searls comment) in testing and decision making. I would advise them to bring customers members closer and involve them in the testing and decision making process. Create a small private group of members that really understand the program and involve them in the decision maker process. This group would be empowered to talk to the product team, test out new features, and provide honest and thoughtful research. You can reward them with insider knowledge (they won’t need to be paid) and many of them will become advocates and help promote (and sometimes defend) the feature releases and the brand in general.
To Facebook’s defense, I’ll bet they didn’t know the full ramifications of their innovative actions (or didn’t think it all the way through), and as a result, were learning about it from reading blogs.
With Facebook being a community or “social utility” it will be nice to see them living some of these values we hold dear before they release their next feature.
Get closer to members, and be more successful, a social network is only as good as the collective of it’s members.
Please chime in with your suggestions for Facebook.
One of Silicon Valley’s most elite Marketer, Evangelist, Blogger, and VC is Guy Kawasaki.
Many know him for his evangelism at Apple, speaking, companies he’s funded, the 8 books he’s been involved with, or the sharing he does from his blog (although he told me over lunch that he’s shared almost everything he can). I met Guy at the local ice rink, where he spends lunches playing hockey. He asked me where I wanted to shoot the video, and I said down by the ice, I had on a jacket, and turtleneck, but he braved the interview for me in just a t-shirt.
Guy shares with me some of his predictions for Marketers in 2008, companies he’s interested in investing with, answers “is entrepreneurship born or bred” (a question from David Wescott in Twitter), about Twitter and it’s impacts to Truemors (from Yama-sami). Oh and here’s the site Guy was raving about, PopURLs. Most recently he’s launched his passion Truemors, which as many of you are seeing in Twitter.
Thanks Guy for taking the time out.
I’m starting this post series to recognize and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. We should congratulate the following folks:
Congrats to Sean O’Driscoll who’s moving on to new opportunities. He served customers as Microsoft’s MVP online advocate program, a 15 year veteran of MS, and based upon my interviews with him, a true community expert.
Recently, Connie Benson accepted a position at ACDSee as community manager. She’s a community maven, and helps manage the Community Manager Facebook group (link below)
Shashi Bellamkonda accepted the position of Social Media Strategist at Network Solutions. He often provides great insight in Twitter, follow him.
Eric Suesz joins Get Satisfaction as the Community Manager, Amy welcomes him in. (Also congrats to Amy and Thor for their new baby)
How to Connect with others:
Submit an annoucement
If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, leave a comment below, or if you’re feeling shy (it’s cool to self-nominate) send me an email.
Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources
Also see my Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic
Also see my community manager group in Facebook
Check out Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
See Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
Hiring? Leave a commentt
If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, or I’ll delete it.
Sean O’Driscoll, the General Manager of Microsoft’s MVP program shares with me the three different layers and levels of community. Sean has served the program for 15 years, and had just announced he’s planning to leave Microsoft to try some exciting things (we’ll be hearing from him soon). Thanks Sean for sharing with us and with your community.
Find out: 1) What the three stages of communities are: Satisfaction, Loyalty, Affinity 2) How to find key advocates 3) How to thank/reward them 4) How to engage with them.
Folks have been asking what my life is like and how we do research, I interviewed Sean for over half an hour, and was taking furious notes. It was a great warmup for this video, so in many ways you’re coming with me to the research interviews.
Sean, good luck on your new ventures!
My transition into my new role has been an interesting one, I’m still adapting to the changes both in the day job and how it’s impacting and influencing communications on the open web.
Recently, I may have come across in a way that I really don’t want to be associated with. Donna suggests that I was being hollow, and EdLee agrees, being focused on tweeterboard is exciting but lacking depth. Former mentor Shel Israel puts forth a public challenge and Doc Searls suggested that the topics and languages I’ve been leading in conversations were unbalanced towards marketers and not community. I’m in an interesting position, as my mission (the web strategy one, as well as the one at the day job) is to help companies use the web to connect with customers. These are often marketers, and my job is to educate, show, and guide them.
The recent conversations around community ‘ownership’ and join vs build appeared to some as leaning to hard in the direction that marketers have control, yet if you look carefully, I was trying to incite a discussion, I know that those who participate authentically are the ones that are really in charge, and it’s often not marketers, although I’m going to try to help them achieve this. I’m confident I can achieve both the goals for the community and for marketers.
I’ve been messing up, and I’m sorry for that, so let’s fix it. I just wanted to be clear that I’m thinking these through, and am putting it out here for all to read, feedback encouraged.
I guess this is a good time to ask, how can I improve?
Update: On comment 26, I recap the feedback what I’ve received. I also received emails from others with honest opinions. I want you to know I heard you, and am internalizing the feedback. Some I’ll adopt, some I won’t, but please note your opinion is important –I’m writing for you and me.
I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly summary, read the summary, then quickly scan headlines, read the bullet, then click to learn even more.
I’ve created a 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.
Need to make decisions about your web strategy? I’m here to help: subscribe to my blog, sign up for emails (right nav), follow me on Twitter, I’ll add you back.
Web Strategy Summary: To know
Google announced it’s intent to build a profile system, which will allow social networks to be built anywhere, and used by anyone. Coupled with OpenSocial, this could break down any silos that many are concerned about. The ‘socialization’ of the web (all the web) continues to be a theme.
Identity Systems: Google to launch profile feature
The root of any social network contains two major features 1) an individuals profile 2) The connections they have to other profiles. Google is launching part one with their individual profiles that allow users to upload their identity and preferences. Expect them to make their entire web experience (from search to docs, to picassa) more of a social experience where people share with others, comment, and collect.
Insight: People not brands lead social networks
Doc gives an very interesting perspective in response to my debate on join vs build, be sure to read his post and ask yourself how this applies to your own life.
Platform: WordPress could be a Social Networking Platform
Chris Messina suggest that WordPress could be a Social Networking platform, while currently a publishing CMS tool. The first thing to do is look at the technographics of a community, and identify does everyone want to be a creator? Not likely.
Platforms: Social Network Platform Wars
Great graphic from Dave McClure showing a visual representation of what the platforms are starting to look like. With many platforms emerging and APIs don’t give up on opensocial (but recognize the challenges)
Watch: Cisco’s Entertainment Operating System (EOS)
Cisco recently acquired Tribe and Five Across and are now starting to consolidate these one off acquisitions into real products. EOS is supposadly supposed to provide media to social networks, as well as a potential platform. The challenge? Does Cisco know media? even social media? The upside for Cisco? More bandwidth for their infrastructure products.
Usage: Social Network adoption continues to rise
eMarketer has some useful stats that indicate that the growth of social networks will continue in terms of adoption and monetization. Interesting to see the saturation of the teen market already.
Acquisition: Penthouse buys lifestyle social networks
Penthouse expands it’s online reach by acquiring Various, which owns adultfriendfinder, Italianfriendfinder.com, gradfinder.com and bigchurch.com. Smart move for a media company. Projected price? $340 million.
Mobile: Sprint and MySpace serve web experience
Not uncommon to see, as iPhone serves up a very nice Facebook experienece, Sprint and MySpace are working to serve up a mobile experience. I can’t wait for the day when mobile devices all render the same experience from a single browser.
Friending: “Whales” are insecure
A whale is a person with more than 1000 contacts on a social network, this article suggests that some of them insecure. While this may be true for some, for me it’s a business networking tool, i’s my rolodex, a listening tool, and a way to reach thousands. Nearly limitless business opportunities. For those who are trying use this as a social tool (college, dating, etc) I can see why this may make sense.
What else should be on this list? Leave a comment, feedback, or suggestions, I’m listening.
I realize that folks are concerned about another leaderboard as a gaming mechanism, and while it stroked my ego for a while, I’m equalizing the field by giving away what I’ve learned. After having dinner with Shel last night, I realize I need to give and stay humble, and focus on community, so this is the right thing to do.
I ran into tweeterboard yesterday, and found it valuable, when I first saw it, I was in 8th place, then moved to 1st. Now I’m going to relinquish control to the community, I’m going to give away my secrets in how I was able to attract a large following, in the spirit of sharing because it’s the right thing to do.
1) Figure out why you want to use this tool. Is there a reason, an objective? For me it was to have greater reach in listening and in talking to others, and to really, really know Micromedia and how to use it. Being popular really isn’t a great objective, but being meaningful to your specific network is much more important.
2) Integrate it throughout your online experience. You’ll notice that I ask people to add me from various posts, have it listed in my side role and on my facebook account. It’s available for anyone that’s looking.
3) Add people back. I follow everyone that follows me, I’m following more people than are following me, and that’s a sign that you want to listen to what others have to say. Sadly, it’s a lot to digest so I end up scanning conversations. Go back to number 1, and figure out what your objective is first.
4) Add value when you tweet. I’ve given up on my google reader link blog, instead, I leave links to what I think is interesting during the day. Since I consume a lot of content, I’m acting like a filter. Most who know me know that my focus is on social media + marketing. Last week’s twitter storm was a rare opportunity to connect folks, keep listening to find an opportunity to help the larger group.
5) Ask questions. I didn’t realize this was going to be one of the largest attributes on tweeterboard, so I got lucky. I find Twitter a useful tool to get information back from people, so I like to ask a lot of questions. I learn a lot this way, in many ways, this is an example of social search.
I’ll remind you again, focus on your objectives, what is it that you’re trying to accomplish, if you’re just trying to keep track of your friends or immediate contacts, this is not the strategy for you. This strategy only works if you are trying to gain a large following, it’s not recommended for everyone.
So there you have it, that’s what I learned over the past 9 months of using the tool, hope that helps.
Update: I’ve just published all that I learned about Twitter on a subsequent post, please read here.
I’ve been watching the various twitter ranking, measuring, mashups appear, and most have little utility (other than some of the search tools). I’m pleased to finally run into Tweeterboard, which has metrics (see my profile), rankings, a ‘newsfeed’ of content, and it starts to tie relationships together of different users. There’s even an RSS feed of all the links I put on my twitter account, I often share what I find interesting on this feed, so please consider subscribing.
You can check your stats too, it’s much like Technorati, but it maps out your social graph. I’m thankful to the following users for ‘giving me love’. martysmind (40), mickeleh (24), jspepper (21), dough (20), shashib (20), jagath (18), tetesagehen (17), tastybit (16), shawnz (16). For any of those folks, you can add them by going to www.twitter.com/PutNameHere.
Why is understanding who talks to me and vice versa important? Because you can see who influences me, and who I influence.
If you haven’t figured out Twitter yet, it’s a chat room, and information and conversations are happening there before it hits blogs. In fact, even the press are getting stories by watching the conversation in Twitter. If your job is to watch the conversation (many early adopters in here) I recommend you follow some of the top posters. Then when you’re ready to dive in, there’s over 400 other users that want to connect! Please note this tool isn’t for everyone, so figure out your objectives first.
If you haven’t done it yet, try these tools
Because of the API and RSS feeds, third party developers are experimenting with the output. True useful business tools haven’t really emerged, but it’s only year one.
1 Search for your brand, see who’s talking about you
2 TwitterVision is a map that shows the global conversations, interesting but low value. It would be great if this could be segmented by role, topic, region, or industry.
3 TwitterBlocks shows a graphical representation of who your neighbors are, again, not sure of the value, although the interface sure is neat.
4 There’s over 100 applications available that have been created by the developer community. I’ve used Snitter, an Adobe air app, but it started to be a resource hog.
5 There’s already a twitter application in Facebook, or you can embed it on your blog, and because I can update my account from my mobile phone, I’ve used it to meet up with people.
Update: Marshall at Read Write Web thinks the tool is valuable, and James Governor sees the value of Twitter.
In my research I get to interview experts in my industry such as the seasoned Bill Johnston, who’s a community expert and is very involved with community based conferences. In the video above, find out from Bill why he thinks that Marketing should, and should not own the community strategy. Bill also shares how to ‘kick-start’ a community, fortunately, it aligns with objectives first.
The timing of this video is great, as it ties in with what I read from one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto:
Secondly, respected internet ‘uncle’ Doc Searls wrote a great post The only real social networks are personal ones in response to my questions of “Should a brand join or build their own social network”. This is a very relevant question to the time, one that I’m getting asked by our clients frequently. Of course I have an answer, but it depends on what they are trying to achieve. Quite frankly, while I understand Doc’s point, (people over brand) getting marketing organizations to relax is difficult and scary, baby steps are needed.
Doc makes the following points:
First, I’m not sure a “brand” can get social at all.
Second, the notion of “brands” either “building” or “joining” social networks strikes me as inherently promotional in either case, and therefore compromised as a “social” effort.
Third, I’m not sure social networks are “built” in any case. Seems to me they’re more organic than structural.
Fourth, the thing companies need to do most is stop being all “strategic” about how their people communicate.
Chime in: The important questions
It’s important that we explore this issue on both sides, so if you’re a marketeer (or a vendor) please read Doc’s post and weigh in on the issue:
So who really ‘owns’ the community?
Who should be leading the charge within a company to do this?
Is Doc right? Brands can never be part of communities, only people can?
Update: Shel chimes in and thinks I’m getting too close to clients am I sell out? Be sure to read my comment on his post.
I’ve heard a lot of people explain social media and most are doing it ineffectively.
As 2008 approaches many individuals are trying to involve social media in their plans for the coming year, in the exception of a few companies, this requires the buy-in from a person of power (and likely someone foreign to the movement) to approve. I know that many individuals within companies are running it up the flagpole, and many interactive firms, pr firms, and social media firms are gearing up for this upcoming year.
I hear a lot of pitches, and look at a lot of websites of vendors (in fact, I maintain massive lists tracking of the industry) and know what a good pitch is and what a bad one is. I also have had to lead social media within my previous company, the conservative Hitachi Data Systems. It was a good learning experience, then at PodTech (on the vendor side) I helped sales teams understand social media, and was on client calls and visits.
Know the differences between Technology, Features, Benefits, and Value
A balance is needed when introducing these concepts to new people, especially if they are foreign to them. The worse thing you could do is ramble off a bunch of technology buzz words, or on the flip side spill out marketing bull sh*t that has no structure or resemblance of sanity.
Find the right amount of balance to communicate what you’re trying to convey, without going exclusively to those edges by focusing on Benefits and Value. What are benefits? That’s the end result (nothing to do with technology) to the business or their customers. What is value? The net result to the business, subtracting the cost, incorporating opportunity cost a new program could bring to a business.
Weak: Focus on Technology
We need Web 2.0 tools like Ajaz, Blogs _____ (insert technology) to add to our website so we can socialize and aggregate. They are very popular right now.
Average: Focus on Features
We can connect to customers using using blogs, social networks, and RSS
Strong: Needs Assessments with Benefits
You mentioned the need to increase focus in the SMB market, I’ve data to show that they are using social media to connect to each other directly, often without our involvement. I suggest we look at ways to be part of that dialog by using the same tools they are, would you like to hear how social media can be part of this solution and make you more effective?
Stronger: Needs assessments with Value Statement
You mentioned the need to increase focus in the SMB market, I’ve data to show that they are using social media to connect to each other directly, often without our involvement. I’d like to get your opinion on a proposal to decrease our hard dollar marketing costs and increase our marketing reach/lead generation and customer retention by using social media tools to reach to new customers and embrace existing customers by creating a community.
So instead of focusing on terms like “Web 2.0″ or “Ajax” focus on terms like customers, trust, community, and connections.
Look at other forces
Still have an unconvinced stakeholder? Consider showing screenshots what the customers are doing in this space, (Blogs or social networks) as well as competition. Focus on how customers have self-assembled in forums, social networks and are communicating to each other. Bring up the trust information (you’ve seen this on my decks) as a way to stimulate conversation.
The strongest force? Their kids. I’ve started a dialog with a CEO of a Fortune 5000 company by asking him how his kids communicate. He observed his kids were on IM, MySpace, watching TV, while doing homework and he wasn’t sure how they got any of them done. I asked him to look closer so we could discuss that in our next meeting. A month passed and he realized what was happening and how this next generation was going to enter the workplace, soon he adopted a few of these tools for his communication uses. This was my CEO at HDS. (careful when pulling this card, it could backfire, make sure you’ve already got a relationship of understanding with this executive before doing this)
Watch for indicators: verbal and physical
Reactions from the person you’re explaining it is key, facial expressions are usually key to this. If the conversation shifts to a tool discussion and spirals down the infinite number of risk variables you’ve headed the wrong way, quickly elevate and talk about customers. If this person asks about costs or risks, that’s a good sign but also shift back to values.
Rehearse having these conversations with others, if you’re on the career path I’m on, you’ll have to explain this movement to people that are not in it, or don’t get it (or worse, resist it) I’ve trained myself to have conversation with colleagues, executives, family, and my ‘good ol boy’ friends that don’t get this world at all. I’ve learned how to have an introductory conversation with them without discussing one tool or mentioning the term ‘web 2.0′. Instead, I prefer to focus on people, how they connect and how that changes things…mainly the shift in trust.
You’ll know you’re ready as you’ll be able to have a conversation about the impact of ‘social media’, without ever mentioning that term.
If you’ve gotten this far, great news, as now you’re ready to deploy and tie it back to your business (watch for an upcoming post)
Good luck, I’m rooting for you!
Explaining OpenSocial to your Executivesv
Chris Brogan learned from how to demonstrate Value
Explaining Social Graph to your Executives
Update: Aiden gives great examples of how to talk about value