Left Image: This sample screenshot of the embedded community experience from the Quickbooks site.
Over the next few years, expect your friends and network of experts to be interacting with you as you use desktop software –community will be integrated within your products.
This weekend, I had a discussion with Scott Wilder at Intuit, who is one of the practice leaders when it comes to community and how it impacts business. He’s one of those leading the charge at Intuit, who has developed very large communities that thrive beyond the product itself and serve the lifestyle of the community.
Scott discussed his strategy of embedding the community features right in the software products –extending the discussion, network, and peer to peer strategy past awareness, consideration, purchase all the way to support and development. Although this is mainly a supporting objective, when brands embed community this close it’s naturally going to lead to ‘embracing’. Watch this video to learn about all five objectives: listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing.
[Software products will integrate your contacts in the application experience --encouraging peer learn, self-support, and community improvements]
The software product embeds the community features right into the Quickbooks, not a link, not a popup, but as part of the product experience.
Of course, more challenges lay in wait for Intuit: 1) They need to have a plan to ensure the community will understand and adopt these changes 2) Need to make it clear what the scope of this community is and what it’s not 3) Be internally prepared for what changes this brings to future product development and how it impacts support –undoubtly, customers will make product suggestions, and others will chime in.
How can this cascade to other products? Microsoft, Dell, Oracle, SAP, IBM, HP, Symantec, Electronic Arts, Hitachi, Adobe, Autodesk (Bill Johnston leaves this comment), and Apple can start to embed community into their desktop operating system and software. TV shows can start to allow users to embed community actually on the TV set (we saw an early taste of this with Current TV during the elections), and the possibilities can continue on.
Now if you have a software product and a community, forward this post on to them, and initiate an internal discussion, to find out if customers are really core to your mission, and when this would make sense to trial or even put on the roadmap.
All of this points to the larger trend how people are connecting to each other, and forming their own power bases, some companies who embrace this stand to benefit –but only if they are prepared.
My colleague Johnathan Browne has posted on his blog (and in Japanese) that we’re organizing a blogger dinner in Tokyo when I came out in a few weeks, if you’re in the area, please spread the word. I’ll be in Tokyo speaking at some events (including Zdnet) and advising clients, and getting some time to spend in this amazing city.
Forrester Blogger’s Dinner in Tokyo
Date & Time : Wednesday, October 22nd, 19:00-21:00
6-3-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Cost: 4,000JPY for Asian Tapas dishes and nomihodai.
Attendees: 20-25 bloggers
19:00-19:20 Jeremiah’s welcome speech
19:20-21:00 Q&A + free discussion
The tag blog posts, images, and tweets for the event will be #ForrTokyo
If you are interested in attending, please contact Ritsuko Tague at firstname.lastname@example.org / 03.5532.7684 with your name, company’s name, email address and your blog’s URL by October 3rd.
Here’s some pics from my last time in Japan, and riding the bullet train (video), I’m really excited to come back.
I’m starting this post series (see archives) to recognize and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:
Andrea Hill was recently hired as the Director of Social Media and Interactive Technology at Worldways Social Marketing. She says she actually found the position from these very job listings! (That’s really, really great)
Colin Carmichael is now the Associate Secretary for Communication and Resource Production (social media) for the Life and Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and leaves the Social Media Group
SelectMinds, a community solutions provider, Names Michael M. Richardson as Chief Technology Officer, who brings has more than 25 Years of High Tech and Engineering Experience to SelectMinds Executive Team
Filiberto Selvas leaves Microsoft to join Avenue A Razorfish as Director of Strategy on Social Media (NW Region). As most know AA is part of Microsoft.
Jay Moonah (http://mediadriving.com/) was recently promoted to the position of Director of Strategy at the Toronto digital marketing agency 58Ninety Inc. His responsibilities in this position include the development of social media marketing strategy for clients such as Molson brewing, the CTV television and radio network and the Workopolis careers site.
How to connect with others (or get a job):
Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how:
Submit an announcement
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. Please include a link to your announcement, and ensure you’re really living and breathing in the social media world –this is not a small aspect of your role.
Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources
List of Enterprise Social Media Professionals
This list, which started with just 8 names continues to grow as folks submit to it. List of Social Computing Strategists and Community Managers for Enterprise Corporations 2008 –Social Media Professionals.
This week, I’ve run across a few jobs that would be related to this audience such as a technical community manager, or even a VP of client services for a social media company.
See Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, fees pay for my hosting)
Digg is hiring
Connect with others in the 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
ForumOne Jobs for Social Media and Community
Teresa has a few jobs, some around community
New Media hire has an extensive job database
Social Media Headhunter
Social media jobs
Jobs in social media
Hiring? Leave a comment
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)
I’m seeking folks that are related to full time hands on social media strategy and community managers, to be on this list, so let me know if you see these folks, and please submit them –try to include links to announcements on blogs or on the wire. Also, I probably will not include executive management changes on this list at social media companies, as the list would go on and on, but you can feel free to express yourself in the comments!
Every few days, (or hours) you probably get a friend request of some sort, the good news is, someday, this will not be relevant.
I just got finished watching this video of Renato of “E”, a device and software platform that allows you to phsyically gesture in the real world with people you meet that you are friends. Remember palm pilot back in 2001 that let you ‘beam’ contact info to each other? Similiar to that, but now with more ‘social’ context.
Thinking forward a few years, “friending people” whether in Facebook, Plaxo, or will no longer be an activity that we’ll have to do. Intelligent websites (and their data) will be able to determine who our friends are from our behaviors, context, and preferences, without us verbally (or physically) having to indicate so.
Those ‘bacn’ messages make it painfully obvious that the ‘system’ (the web, data, and beyond) isn’t quite intelligent, as it can’t determine who our own social contacts are yet.
Like a baby, we’re teaching the ‘system’ our language, how to walk, how to coexist in our real flesh and blood world, the ‘system’ is just starting to show intelligence. One primary example of this is the use of hashtags in Twitter. We use the # sign to tag content so it’s easily to organize and find. That one # character isn’t native to our tongue (unless when you recite your grocery list and say “hashtag”) it’s another example of us speaking machine language in order to teach the system.
For example, I started a social experiment on Sunday, where I encouraged folks to tweet related music artists using the tag “#relatedmusic” you can see the database form when you search for that term –If we had enough people do this in my –and your– network we’d be able to build a reference engine that other music reccomendations services could pull from.
Saturday, I posted my thoughts about what’s next after the social web, and some interesting comments are coming in, take the time to read about it. For now, I’m tagging these posts the ‘Intelligent Web” as I don’t really think we’re there yet, we’re having to input too much to teach the machine right now.
If you can’t see where this is headed, I’ll tell you: all of what we’re doing from our clicks, queries, wall posts and tweets is teaching the ‘system’. In the long run we’re creating a massive global computer, an artificial intelligence, and someday, a thinking being.
Therefore, when the ‘system’ is more mature, we won’t have to explicitly state who we’re friends with anyone –it’ll have learned and already know.
Phrases to know:
I’ll refine these over time, but for now, here’s some early stakes in the ground.
The System: The system is the combination of all websites combined, it’s a massive data base of content, clicks, search terms, time on site, shared posts, wall posts, links, and tweets.
Teaching the System: Humans are constantly speaking in machine language, from use of hashtags in twitter, or boolean searches in Google, or even from the act of friending folks in your social network. All of these behaviors are humans teaching the system how to understand us, so it can better serve us.
The Intelligent Web: Software that is able to collect and make sense of all the data in the system and is able to deliver meaningful content back to people in context –often without us saying or gesturing that we need it.
Update: This has spun off to more discussions in Friendfeed, I think a lot of folks missed the big idea I was trying to convey here –or perhaps more likely, I didn’t communicate it well.
A graph indicating the frequency of the term “#tweetdebate”
Last night’s debate was truly an interactive experience for all. Although I setup some guidelines to score the candidates, things quickly took on a life of their own as the group formerly known as the audience assigned their own scoring –and the #tweetdebate tag was used for a variety of observations. Current TV overlayed tweets live on their TV station (see these pics of Al Gore) which I found interesting at first –then extremely distracting as the letters floating near the chins of the candidates and I eventually switched back to CNN.
The Tweetdebate game morphed and evolved to something far bigger and greater than I intended, and although the graph above shows a real spike in activity, it’s truly organic in how it was used. I think for the next three debates we can continue to use the tag, but I won’t be doing anything as formal.
We should expect to see advanced sentiment monitoring tools by the next election that will track opinions, tone, and attitudes in real time from microblogging, social networks, and whatever comes next.
The bottom line? TV is no longer a lonely experience –anyone with a cell phone or internet connection can now participate and those that listen can benefit from learning, adapting, and in some cases, appeasing.
(…and yes, if you’re not from the United States, we’re an interesting culture)
I’m sitting in Union Square SF on a Saturday night at Starbucks getting some additional analysis completed on the Wave report, which should be publishing in a few weeks. I can’t but help think about some trends that I’ve been hearing from multiple people.
On Friday, I had a meeting with an SVP of Yahoo, to learn about some of the redesign coming to the homepage. What’s interesting is the focus is on apps, not the incredible large social graph that they’ve been building for 10 years. They know that not everyone is going to be a social participant (our technographic data indicates this also –although participation continues to increase) and everyone won’t participate on every website.
Right after lunch I talked with Scoble, who reminded me about the looming recession. we both agreed that this will shed off non-unique startups and force innovation, and likely higher CTRs for new types of marketing and advertising.
After lunch, I stopped by University Cafe in Palo Alto for an impromptu meeting, if you sit on the sidewalk table like I did, you’re almost guaranteed to see someone from the social media or tech space walk by. Facebook is just a few blocks away and many VCs, entrepreneurs take in business meetings here. Chris Saad (pic) of the data portability group came by, and he explained in depth his vision of the personal web –how content will be delivered based on historical, relevance, and not social data.
Chris showed me the upcoming Web 3.0 conference, which I tweeted “Did Web 2.0 jump the shark?” Minutes later I received a private message from Tim O’Reilly himself, we got on the phone and he explained his intentions of the term (most of us aren’t using it in the way he first envisioned) and loosely, his vision is that the behavior of networks will populate databases in which organizations can retrieve the data and deliver content –social activity isn’t always implied.
So that’s four conversations (in one day) that were outside of my usual ‘social’ discussions I have with clients, entrepreneurs, press, and VCs. I’ve heard and read a lot of folks explain what they think is coming (I’m avoiding saying the “S” word), but I’m not going to accept that as fact, I’m going to continue to explore, talk to folks, interview people to understand what this trend entails.
What’s interesting is that most of my clients (large corporations) haven’t figured out how to fully embrace the social web –let alone think about what’s next. The only caveat being here is that the social web won’t go away, but will integrate, and soon a new type of technology will emerge to provide greater relevancy to content, people, activities and ideas.
When I first started this blog, I titled it the “Web Strategy Blog” not the “Social Media blog” as I know there will always be new technologies and new trends, there’s something else coming beyond the social web. As I learn more, I’ll continue to report back to you all, stay tuned.
With your brand being mentioned so many places online, it’s a difficult task to manage how it’s positioned and where it appears –in fact, in many ways, you can’t control the brand, as it’s now ‘owned’ by those who talk about it (or always has been).
Now, if your job is to be the caretaker of your company’s brand, or you’ve been hired to do so as a PR firm, you should keep on eye on how it’s positioned on Wikipedia (and follow these rules on how to update it), if you’re in the social media space, also monitor and manage Tradevibes, Crunchbase, and now Appappeal.
With the recent concerns about brandjacking, or getting your brand punk’d, this helpful tool user name check can quickly scan the popular (and not so popular social networks to find if your company’s name (or personal) has been taken. The service sometimes goes down, so be patient with it.
On a related note, Mukund suggests here’s some targets PR folks should look at when pitching social media companies, I left a comment suggesting a few others, maybe you can help him round it out. Targeting team blogs like centernetworks, or other influentials may yield a better spend on time and effort –I’m nearly tapped out in time reviewing products.
I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly digest on the Social Networking space, which I cover as an industry analyst. By creating this digest (I started this over a year ago) it really helps me to stay on top of the space I cover.
I’ve created a new category called Digest (view archives). Start with the Web Strategy Summary, then quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read text for my take, and click link to dive in for more.
Subscribe to this blog in your feedreader, or use the email subscription box in the right column.
Web Strategy Summary
Telligent, a community platform (white label social network) raises a significant 20 million from Intel Capital. The New York Times, often a powerhouse media company has adopted social features into their website. MySpace lets users create their own ads.
Funding: Telligent raises $20mm from Intel
White label vendor Telligent raises 20 million from Intel Capital, this money can help them last the test of time past many competitors, or could spur on development and investment to take them to the next level. I’ll be watching closely, as next to Ning, this is one of the largest funds raised in this space.
Deplyoment: NYT launches social network
Yet another media company launching their social features to build community, the New York Times leads the trend, right along side Fast Company. Expect to see more deployments as companies adopt vendors like KickApps and Pluck for rapid deployment.
Advertising: MySpace lets users create their own ads
Users can now create their own ads, and these screenshots from Cnet. The interface makes it easy, much like creating your own blog theme and then launching your ads on their network.
White Paper: Trends and Best Practices via Awareness
One of the few Community Platforms to launch their own survey and then develop a report and white paper, Awareness launches their own resource center with their recent white paper.
Partnership: Lithium and Omniture
Lithium Technologies and Omniture Partner to Integrate Social Media into Web Analytics. Expect more deals to be cut over the coming months –esp after my coming event.
Launch: Widgetbox launches widget network
Harnassing a federation of bloggers, and content publishers, Widgetbox launches a network through 29 vertical channels. Much like how Technorati, Blogher, Federated Media, Glam, Gawker have done, expect this advertising network to reach to brands for vertical based marketing.
Features: KickApps expands video capabilities
“KickApps Kicks it Up Another Notch With User Controlled Video Ads” reports mashable, allowing
Mobile: Mac users connect on iPhone
Net4mac a social networking feature comes to iPhone, letting Mac users and owners connect with each other.
Usage: Facebook redesign causes dip
Is the Facebook redesign causing user rejection? USAToday things so, and this piece indicates that users may not be adopting the Facebook redesign as they might have readily hoped. Link from colleague Zach Hofer-Shall
Quirk: Facebook ‘hole’ peers into fandom
Unexpected hole in Facebook allows members to peer and see what other members are ‘fans’ of. This instance shows what Zuckerberg loves.
Culture: College recruiters scan Facebook
Many students are unaware of the impacts of their online behaviors on social networks –and how they impact getting into college, and getting jobs. We now know that college recruiters are skimming and rejecting applicants.
Culture: Facebook profiles detect Narcisicism
Individuals with lots of friends and the “myspace angle” photos could be self-centered. Quite possible, or they may be trying to build up their business network (as in my case)
If you’re a social network, or widget company, I want to know of your news, send me an email, or leave a comment below. Help me stay up to date.
I’ll keep this short, I’m neck deep in analysis for the upcoming Wave report –while trying to balance client needs and projects, I’m busy.
When I worked at web startup in the first web boom, all kinds of people came to power that didn’t have the credentials or experience. The demand for leadership in this fast growing company resulted in immature professionals quickly moving to middle management. I remember two distinct instances where the power went to their head and I now tell their stories for all to learn:
Mr M. and the Weekly Porn Emails
Although we were in IT/Software Engineering Mr M. wasn’t from tech, and in fact, had very few technical skills, so his talent became managing one very talented technical worker. He spent most of his time causing drama, going out to lunch, and surfing and sharing porn at the office. In fact, every week, he would gather his favorite porn screenshots from playboy (I think he and his college buddies had an email list) and he would forward it to his friends. Sadly, friends and colleagues aren’t always the same, and in his mis judgement he repeatedly sent it to those under him –including me. In his wisdom, he even sent it to his subordinate, the talented tech guy. It only took a few months for this to get back to HR, and he was soon in crying his eyes out to keep his job in the VPs office while the rest of the office laughed at him for months –and still do today.
Moral of the story? Friends and colleagues aren’t always the same –respect the boundaries.
The Ego of Mr W. comes full circle
Mr W, was actually often in conflict with Mr M, they’d both moved into middle management in IT, yet by far, I’d prefer to be friends with Mr M. Now, Mr W on the other hand, through his psuedo-power around constantly telling everyone “I”m a director” and expecting us to kowtow to him with our foreheads buried to his entry of his window facing cubicle. He abused his power, taking over people’s projects –taking credit for them. I always remembered when he wanted something, he would come by and act so nice, so sweet, then BAM, here comes the Friday afternoon work request. Eventually, he used his power to intimidate the young girls, he didn’t realize it, but I was in the cube next to him when he told two female colleagues how he’d “love to get between them” and chuckle. He even made unsavory comments about my girlfriend (I had her picture on my desk), which were quite stinging. Years later, Mr W ended up working for someone that’s related to me (the valley is a very, very, small place) and IMd me and apologized for his behavior, I accepted, but will never forget.
Moral of the story? You’ve moved into power, so now act like it, and do something to improve yourself and those around you. Part 2: Be nice to everyone, you never know who will be in power.
Wow, that felt good. Now’s your chance to let it fly, jump on to the Jeremiah couch, and feel free to rant and rave, but two rules: 1) don’t give away the name of the offender or company name. 2) Give a moral of the story, so we can all learn. If you feel like being anonymous, I’m ok with that too.
Sixth graders, are just 10 years from the workforce, I wonder if we’ll be ready.
I’m now in Dallas, about to speak to 250 marketers (then do workshops) who all work for a company that’s about to ramp up their social marketing activities and put community first. Brands foster communities is a trend we’re seeing, just as Oracle boldly launched it’s Oracle Mix Ideas which allows anyone to submit comments right on the corporate website.
On the flight over here from SF, I sat next to a young lady (mid 20s) who is a teacher to sixth graders (12 year olds) in San Antonio. As I almost always do, I shifted the conversation over to the internet and she shared with me how this next generation of digital natives is coming at us fast and strong
The Sixth Graders:
All of her sixth graders were literate, although not all of them had computers at home, so she couldn’t issue mandatory web assignments.
Many of them used the internet for research, she allowed them to cite wikipedia as a supplement–but they had to cite other websites.
Many students turned in their ‘papers’ as digital blog posts on blogspot.com.
The art of writing in cursive is deteriorating, many of the students could not read her cursive writing, soon it may go the way of shorthand.
The sixth graders would often groan and roll their eyes when asked to do a writing assignment –yet when she listed off the internet as one of the methods they could produce the project, they quickly got excited –and lightbulbs went off.
Plagiarism is still an issue, but she and her colleagues have sophisticated ways of checking papers by copying and pasting them in Google, or using proprietary software.
I asked her if she sees an increase in web technologies as they get older, and she says “yes, soon the parents won’t restrict and monitor their usage, as they go to high school and college”.
I asked her if this helped them to be more or less social, she replied: “Both. They still are shy in class presentations as kids are from any generation, but they express more of their personal being online”
During tests, if the students didn’t know the answer to the questions, they would write “IDK”.
Now this certainly wasn’t a scientific study, but I’m sure you can find stories like this from sixth graders all around the United States, and perhaps around the world. Give them a six years, and it’ll be interesting to see how their online behavior impacts their college admissions: “10 percent of admissions officers from prestigious schools said they had peeked at sites like Facebook and MySpace to evaluate college-bound seniors. Of those using the profiles, 38 percent said it had a “negative impact” on the applicant, according to Kaplan Inc”.
If you have experience with the modern day sixth grader, I’d love to hear your observations in the comments below, if you don’t have any stories to tell, forward this to someone who can.
Warning, if you ask me any questions, and I’m unable to respond with a good answer, I may just respond, “IDK”