Archive for September, 2008


Monitoring and Managing a Brand

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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.

Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Sept 24, 2008

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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.

The Power Trip

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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.

Your turn…
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.

The Sixth Graders

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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”

    Twitter Presidential Debates: Sept 26

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    UPDATE: McCain has committed to join.

    Why: Why let the media pundits and political analysts have all the fun? You can now be an armchair critic, all you need is a twitter account, a TV, and internet access.

    [On the first Presidential Debate on Sept 26, 2008, YOU get to be the armchair political analyst and use Twitter to score the candidates]

    What is it: With the success of the previous Twitter SuperBowl ads rating last Jan, let’s repeat this community based voting event for the upcoming presidential debates, this time, you’re in charge.

    When:
    9PM Eastern. September 26, 2008: Presidential debate with domestic policy focus, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS. More details available from the commission of Presidential Debate.


    Rules:
    You’re the judge! In your opinion, score points to the two candidates and tweet it

    A) Score the candidates ability to debate
    Using twitter, you can score the candidates with this handy scoring guide.

    -3 for a personal attack
    -2 for a false statement
    -1 for avoiding the issue, or not answering the question
    +1 for a successful assertion
    +2 for a successful counterpoint to opponents assertion
    +3 Quotable sound bite

    B) Use Twitter to tell the world (use the hash tag)

    Example: A proper tweet is: “Mccain +1 for articulating his energy policy #tweetdebate”

    Example: A proper tweet is: “Obama -3 for calling McCain an old fart #tweetdebate”

    Example: A proper tweet is: “Mccain +3 for great line: “It’s the economy stupid” #tweetdebate”

    C) See what everyone else is saying

    A good practice is to open another tab on your browser, and watch what others are saying on twitter search, tagged with the keyword #tweetdebate.

    D) After the Debate, Tally your score, then leave a comment
    At the end of the debate, count up your score, your twitter handle, then leave a comment on this post.
    Tip: Enter your score into a spreadsheet in real time, saving you time to tally.

    Example:
    My twitter handle is http://twitter.com/jowyang

    Obama scored a total +25 and McCain scored a total of +26

    Then create a percentage: Obama scored 49% and Mccain 51%

    Then soak in your glory of being a true armchair political analyst (and argue the scoring of the other twitter pundits)


    Future Debates: Come back to this site for discussions

  • October 2, 2008: Vice Presidential debate, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
  • October 7, 2008: Presidential debate in a town hall format, Belmont University, Nashville, TN
  • October 15, 2008:Presidential debate with foreign policy focus, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Despite that I work at a research firm, this event is entirely for entertainment, and some education, and won’t be used in any formal studies –have fun.

    Input from Zack Reiss-Davis


    Post Event Findings:
    The game started out with folks scoring as suggested above, but soon, the scoring became pretty lax, then many just used it as a way to track conversations. Current TV was showing tweets live on TV, which at one point, overwhelmed their system, resulting in no tweets showing. Twitter’s infrastructure withstood the onslought –I think they’re finally starting to see their opportunity as a major communication device.

    We started out strong scoring the sound bytes and assertions, but soon the threshold to score became too difficult. I suspect folks were also interested in Current TV, The Drinking Game, the Friendfeed debate room, or just used the tweetdebate tag to track all their responses. In any case it was all good –watching any event is no longer a lonely event –we participate and mainstream media is watching and adopting.

    tweetdebateA graph indicating the frequency of the term “#tweetdebate”

    List of Social Media Marketing Awards

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    Celebrating the hard work that companies invest in social media efforts is not only a way to feel good about our accomplishments, but also a way to learn from the successes of others.

    The following list of social media awards gives agencies, brands, vendors, and consultants their chance to strut their stuff. Please leave a comment if you know of other awards.

    I realize there are many awards for startups (like Demo or Techcrunch 50), but this is awards for successes that brands have done using social media

    List of Social Media Marketing Awards

    Forrester’s Groundswell Awards (I’m a judge)

    Society for New Communications Symposium and Awards

    Womma Awards

    If you like this list, then you should check out my other industry indexes –lists are helpful.