Archive for May, 2009

Impacts of Tweetups and Ongoing Stewardship


I have the fortunate position of being able to travel quite a bit, and just about every city I go to (just landed in SF a few hours ago from two weeks in Europe), I try to arrange tweetups, sometimes, it’s the first time folks have met, like the one we just had last week in Paris. Often, I get to be the catalyst to kick off tweetups, such as last year in Tampa. The local Tampa news praises Josh (@SIGEPJEDI) someone I’ve gotten to better over the last year, who has really become a community leader in the Tampa space. See how the local news covers his continued community stewardship.

Take for example, I also kicked off the first Maui tweetup, and they’re still getting together, even if it’s just a few folks, often lead by Liza.

I may be able to kick off community events, but it takes the local leaders to continue to steward the community on an ongoing basis. Next week, on June 9th, I’ll be in Seattle for a tweetup with Blake from Visible Technologies, Chris Pirillo, and from Kelby Johnson from Microsoft. I’m doing to try something new at this tweetup, we’re going to try to play the card game Pit, it’s a loud game, and very social.

If your city has never done a Tweetup, take the initiative to lead one. It’s very simple to do, find a place that folks can meet in person, often drinks or dinner is best, but everyone pays their own way. The goal? To meet and greet in person, and solidify the relationships you have from online.

Remember, anyone can drop in an initiate a tweetup, but community stewardship requires ongoing support and evangelism. If your city has never done a tweetup, leave a comment below, and let’s see if we can get kick start it forward with my support –even from a remote location.

Will You Translate the Future of the Social Web?


A few years ago, before I started at Forrester, I posted why corporate websites are irrelevant, (it’s actually a precursor to this report) and it started to get translated into 10 languages by the community.

A few weeks ago, we launched a report about the Future of the Social Web, and I’d love for it to spread to other languages. I spoke in the Netherlands last week, and the MarketingFacts team translated the highlights into Dutch. If you’d be interested in translating it to your local language, I’ll link to you in the post, and will tweet it out, sending traffic to your site.

You can find the original text on the blog post in American English, which is a few paragraphs of text. I don’t think it’s necessary to translate the graphics, nor the paragraph at the end where I thank folks, but the core essence of the five eras would be great to have in your language.

Update: Within 24 hours, there have been translations in Danish, Spanish, Polish, Russian, and Italian, I’ve put links on the original post.

Within the next 24 hours, translations in French and Czech have come in, and Korean. The third day, we’re now seeing Hebrew translated, thank you.

Cultural Norms and Social Technology Adoption: A Discussion in Paris


Last night the Parisian Twitter community met up at LaCantine, a coworking space. If you attended, you can find those folks Twitter handles on the initial blog post and follow your neighbors. Fredric took pictures, and blogged his thoughts from the event in French (and now English) about the conversation, I used Google translate and get the gist of his post. I hope the community will self-organize tweetups, I find once or twice a quarter to be plenty to really help solidify an online community.

Although the community has come together for Barcamps, Blogger Dinners, and the very successful Twestival (I met the founder Sandrine Plasseraud last night) was created here, this was one of the first true Parisian tweetups. I asked the room how many of them knew others, and only a handful knew at least 50% of the room, which had about 40 folks there.

Questions about privacy
I kicked off a conversation about the Future of the Social Web, which triggered a discussion for folks. Later, as we enjoyed drinks, I recall more questions from the French attendees about privacy. “What privacy concerns should we worry about in the future of the social web?”. Some even suggested new business models will emerge that will offer to hide and remove your social footprint. In my past days as a web marketing manager, I recall bumping up against privacy concerns in some European countries where cookies were highly discouraged.

Web infrastructure growing –yet social adoption is low
Later, I learned that the city of Paris offers a form of Wifi hotspots in public for people to use, (although folks in Twitter are telling me the experience is spotty) so the infrastructure is already setup. Yet despite this, the adoption rates of social technologies are significantly lower here in France. Creators are 13%, Critics are 23%, Collectors are 7%, Joiners are a mere 9%, big jump with 54% are spectators but Inactives are 42%, meaning that 58% cannot be reached by social technologies. If you want a description for those terms, start with this handy guide.

Back to the topic on hand; How cultural norms impact social technology adoption. The fact is, that French have internet infrastructure, knowledge of how to use social tools, and a government that’s not resisting the social web. Yet the adoption rates, according to the numbers, are much lower.

Question: How are cultural beliefs, like privacy, going to impact social adoption
So despite the infrastructure being intact in Paris, the technographics numbers indicate the usage of social technologies is lower. I’d love to hear from any French and anyone else for that matter, about how culture impacts the adoption of social technologies, what are the factors that encourage people to use –or not use — social technologies.

Paris Tweetup: Wed, 20th of May


I’m headed to Paris on Tuesday, leaving Amsterdam where I’ll be officially on vacation. While I’ll certainly take a break from work and heavy blogging, one of the things I’m passionate about (paid or not) is meeting folks in the social media space.

I’ve noticed that tweetups in the states and Asia are certainly quite popular, but these informal gatherings of the community of Twitter in Europe are slower to respond. I’d love to meet you in Paris on Wednesday, but I need your help.

I’m not sure where we should host it, obviously somewhere near a subway hub, and a place that can scale to a larger crowd if it becomes popular. It’s often at a restaurant or bar, but that’s not a requirement.

What will we do? Meeting folks in person that you’ve been communicating with online is a magic moment, nothing solidifies a relationship like in-person. Folks will naturally talk about their passions, online topics, and if you want, I’d love to talk about the future of the social web –my current focus.

If you’re planning to come, please leave your name and twitter ID in the comments below, and if someone can suggest a place (you can email me at jeremiah_owyang at I’ll add the venue location to this post.

Paris Tweetup
Date: Wed, the 20th of May
Time: 7pm
Location: Update: LaCantine, they ask you to RSVP
Who’s coming: Leave a comment below
Agenda: LaCantine will provide some small snacks and drinks will be for sale. I’ll kick off a discussion about the “Future of the social web” but just to get us chatting. Then folks can split into smaller groups for dinner, as the evening progresses.
Tag: #paristweetup

Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: May 17, 2009



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. Or you can subscribe to this digest tag only and not receive my other posts.

Web Strategy Summary
The era of social colonization continues to power forward with Google pushing OpenID –this will extend connections to Google’s massive empire to startups and others. The era of social functionality will see some media impacts as media companies seek to provide new experiences for communities, the Watchman movie to be provided to the Facebook community. Facebook seeks to ‘buy out’ shares from impatient employees.

Identity: Google encourages socialization with OpenID interface
Google announces the OpenID User Interface Extension Specification which is intended to streamline the logins and adoption of commonly agreed upon identity systems. This login requests authentication with Google accounts, but also promotes the use of OpenID. Expect more announcements like this from other platforms to occur as we slowly mature into the era of social colonization.

Finance: Facebook raises money to liquidate employees
In Silicon Valley, where I hail from, working at a company with the hopes of an exit strategy is the dream. Workers at hot startups, like Facebook, may have a below market rate salary in hopes of someday cashing in. The challenge, during a recession is that an IPO is unlikely to happen for a few years, and so Facebook raises funds to buy back equity from employees –giving them some cash in hand.

Video: Watchman Movie to be available on Facebook
This is what we call the era of social functionality, when communities can do something useful with each other. In this case, they can watch a movie together, this one being Watchman, comment and explore the scenes as a group. Expect other traditional media content to appear on Facebook making all media, social media.

Strategy: SixApart offers features for WordPress Rival
Letting go to reach communities where they exist –espicially if they are your competitors is a smart strategy to reach new users. Why limit your reach to your ‘install’ base only, but instead, let your most popular features spread to competitive users. Six Apart has intended to do just that, and has announced they will make plugins available for wordpress users –expect WordPress to follow suit.

Policy: WSJ enacts social media rules for journalists
This one is perplexing, yet I understand the intent. Journalists have a specific code of ethics to follow when it comes to protecting sources, and keeping subjects at arms length. The challenge, according to this piece, suggests that the policy is out of date to human behavior, and suggests that the new policies are out of touch.

Research: Social Network Advertising to diminish
eMarketer reports that: “Total U.S. advertising expenditures on social networks are expected to fall 3% to $1.14 billion this year, down from the $1.18 billion spent in 2008, according to Internet market research company eMarketer.” Do note that the research appeared to be based on spend within MySpace.

Culture: Social networks a harbor for hatred and sex
We’re at an intersection where social networks must decide if they are going to allow free speech, or clean up hate speech to improve the community experience. We’re seeing uprisings within Facebook’s holocaust denial movement (which they have now made some changes) and even Craigslist under fire for policy changes around adult services. The open web has both benefits of a global conversation, but with it comes the unwanted discussions that each culture may embrace or abhor.

Personal: Amsterdam to Paris
Although I’m on international travel in the Netherlands and about to go to vacation, I continue to do this digest to stay on top of my ever changing industry –it’s my weekly mental workout. I’ll be taking the week off after my client engagement on Monday, but will still be active online –just don’t expect me to answer emails. I’m also wrapping up my first report for the quarter “How to organize your company for social media” which includes survey result data, and interviews from companies.

Submit: I’m listening. 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 but first, read how to score your announcements.

Hungry For Social Networking Stats? Then you should see my collection of Social Networks Stats for 2008 and 2009. Bookmark them, then share it with others as I continue to update it.

Cambrian Era: Culling and Evolution of Social Media Startups


I continue to think it’s interesting to draw parallels from natural sciences and what’s happening to the social industry, and also how communities behave and grow. From the five eras of the social web (my inspiration was the stratification of this beach cliff), and watching the enterprise software players (my inspiration was spending a day at a tropical aquarium), there’s yet a third metaphor to explore.

The Cambrian explosion is still hotly debated between creationists and evolutionists, a period of time when millions of species proliferated in a relatively short period of time. This explosion, in theory, gave a tremendous amount of deviation of species that paved a way for the creatures who developed the right features to quickly adapt to the changing environment. Despite the millions of species created, only a few survived and evolved to the modern species we now know.

There’s a lot of similar things happening within the startup space, we saw an explosion of startups appear in this second wave of the web, yet this graphic shows that many are going extinct, and a few were acquired by other organisms. What caused this explosion? At least two factors: Injection of VC money into the developer community, and the low barriers to entry for startups to get going. Opensource development software is virtually free, there are many platforms people are building on top of (Facebook platforms is like an operating system, with instant users), and the need for a large data center can be ‘offshored’ to the cloud.

As the industry matures, we should expect some of the few startups to mature, take the lead and become the dominant species, same as what we saw in the first web wave with, ebay, craigstlist, google, yahoo, and others. There were thousands of companies that didn’t make it (I saw this first hand as I worked at the massive web host Exodus in Santa Clara). Going with this metaphor, it’ll be interesting to see which companies develop the features of long term monetization –something we haven’t fully seen across the industry –that will foster an increased chance of survival.

Back to you: Aside from generating revenue, what are the key features these young species/companies need to develop?