Archive for January, 2010

Socialgraphics Help You To Understand Your Customers: Slides and Webinar Recording


Companies should have a ‘Customer Strategy’ not a ‘Twitter or Facebook Strategy’. To start, first understand your customers social behaviors, below are the slides and recorded webinar featured yesterday by Charlene Li and myself.

We know that customers are adopting new technologies to communicate with each other –and companies must change their own behaviors to reach them. Yet, to often, we hear of companies ‘fondling the hammer‘ where they have knee-jerk reactions to which ever technology emerges. The problem with this strategy is that new technologies are emerging in rapid iterations due to low-cost of innovation. As a result, focus on their behaviors, which we cover in detail in the Engagement Pyramid.

While using surveys is an effective way of getting a strong baseline set of knowledge, you must be constantly monitoring and updating the changes your ever-changing customers are having, and encourage you to partner with brand monitoring companies like Visible Technologies, Techrigy by Alterian, Radian 6, TNS Cymfony, Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Crimson Hexagon, and even simple easy to use tools like Twitter search and Google Alerts.

We focus on disruptive technologies, and know we don’t have all the answers, so we want to work with the community. Like the Opensource movement and creative commons, we’re embracing ‘Open Research‘ which means we want to share what we learn so others can build on top of it. We like Creative Commons, and hope you use this content for educational purposes and to share with others with attribution. Stay tuned, as we plan to share more about the socialgraphics methodology and other frameworks.

Above: Access the slides on slideshare (you can download them in PPT format)

Above: Listen and watch the recoded webinar, there were over 600 attendees in real time, making it interesting to watch the discussion in the chat and in Twitter.

Here’s the link that I mentioned comparing Toyota’s shotgun approach and Ford’s laser-like approach. Next, join the conversation in Twitter and beyond, see the many tweets tagged #socialgraphics. Last but not least, thanks to Christine Tran, for her research expertise and rolling out our new powerpoint design.

The Social Strategy Trilogy

Part 1: Socialgraphics help you to understand your customers
Part 2: Developing a Social Strategy (You’re here now)
Part 3: Getting your company ready

Now in Russian, thanks.

Microsoft Makes Work Fun: Office Launches “Ribbon Hero”, A Social Game


Forget Farmville or Mafia Wars, Microsoft wants you to play Excel –pivot tables FTW.

Most software training and help resources are painful experiences written by technical publication editors.  We know that most tutorial and help sections within applications are horrible to work with (I’ve shaken my head in frustration quite a few times using Microsoft’s own tutorial tools), and not every office worker can afford to attend a powerpoint training class.

Microsoft's "Ribbon Hero" is a social game that encourages people to learn the product
Click above image to see my notes: Powerpoint users are given challenges, like this artistic effect, to win points which are used to brag on Facebook.

Learning game encourages social sharing
First, click on the image to see my additional notes.   I rarely get excited at briefings, however big-enterprise Microsoft is doing something interesting. In an effort to make learning fun and increase usage of Microsoft office products, they’ve launched a pilot program called “Ribbon Hero” (read blog, or watch video).  Much like a game you’d find on Facebook, Ribbon Hero lets users of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other office applications score points by unlocking challenges –then touting it to their friends.

Microsoft staff creates ‘challenges’ in the software, and encourages users to play to learn.  As users unlock challenges (see screenshot above) they can earn up to a max of 300 points per product,  and can choose to share their scoring with their Facebook friends on the Fan page.  Don’t think there’s any social captial here? well if people can brag about their fictitious mafia wars scores, we should expect them to tout their real-world workplace proficiencies.

Innovation exposes challenges
There are three four major hurdles as I see it: 1) I’m not confident that this launch will reach a wide audience in the workplace, it may skew towards Gen X and Y. 2) Secondly, they’ll need to overcome the barriers of those who score low being bashful about their scores, and not wanting to share with others. 3) It’ll take some studies to show that professionals that complete the challenges (300/300 points) are better workers, then get HR to promote, 4) Lastly, like all games, they can be cheated, like gaming hint websites, expect there to be a ‘tip blog’ for Ribbon Hero.

Microsoft most tap into new opportunities:
Although we’ve not tried Ribbon Hero, this is an innovative way to encourage users to learn about a typically single person product -and then share with their friends.  Microsoft sharing data with Facebook (who they’ve invested in) doesn’t seem like their typical big box culture, kudos for them for doing something out of their normal engineering culture. Yet despite these upsides, Microsoft must:

  • Harness reputation points to grow the program. has just scratched the surface in using this reputation data like they have with the Microsoft MVP advocacy program to create a non-paid growing army of Microsoft Office experts.
  • Add features to enable game to scale. 1) Q&A features that allows members to pose questions to each other and answering them, gaining more points, 2) Challenges to be created by the members themselves, growing the game at a scalable pace for high achievers. Never letting the game end.
  • Develop a global leaderboard of top users. Allow them to build profiles as true ‘Office Heros’ and how they succeed at their job on a separate website, and encourage them to share their achievements on their blogs, resume and LinkedIn pages.
  • Measure based on new benchmarks. 1) Top line adoption curves skew up 2) Reliance on existing support features goes down 3) Ten solid case studies of people getting new jobs or promotions in part because of their proficiency at the game.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about this from Microsoft –and maybe other traditional enterprise software companies like IBM, Oracle, and social fearful, Apple, will follow suit.  I gotta hand it to Microsoft on this one, they’re finally making work fun. Lastly, ya know I gotta ask, but will Clippy make a cameo in the game?

Disclosure: Microsoft is an Altimeter client. We want you to trust us more by being upfront about our relationships, read our disclosure policy.

A Collection of Social Network Stats for 2010


For the third year running (see 2008, 2009) I’m going to aggregate stats in the social networking space on a single blog post, and update it through the year.  Data fiends should bookmark this post for future reference.

Stats are important –but on their own, they don’t tell us much
Stats on social networks are important, but don’t rely on them alone. Data is like fire, it can be used for good and bad, proper insight and analysis is always required. Beyond that, you’ll often see conflicting stats across the industry as everyone has different methodologies, as a result, this listing will help you to see the greater trends –not numbers without context.

How to interpret stats
Numbers don’t tell us much without insight and interpretation, in fact, you’re going to see conflicting numbers of usage from many of the agencies and social networks themselves. The key is to look at trend movements, don’t focus on the specific numbers but the changes to them over time. Put more weight on active unique users in the last 30 days vs overall registered, in fact, the actual active conversion rate will often range from 10-40% of actual users sticking around and using the social network, so don’t be fooled by puffed numbers. No single metric is a good indicator, you have to evaluate the usage from multiple dimensions, so you also have to factor in what are users doing, time on site, interaction, and of course, did they end up buying, recommending products, or improving their lives.

A Collection of Social Network Stats for 2010
I’ll be updating this post throughout the year, bookmark it, and share it with others.

Comparison: All Social Networks

  • “The data doesn’t deny that Facebook has come to dominate social networking in the US, and overtook MySpace in 2009. But MySpace’s 57 million US unique users are nothing to sneeze at – it’s still a top web property with users who are highly engaged. The second tier networks, such as Tagged, Hi5, MyYearbook and Bebo, still receive an impressive 3-6 million uniques per month, and users spend a fair amount of time on those sites. BlackPlanet users spent 3.6 minutes longer interacting with the site than the average Facebook visitor. MyYearbook and Tagged users were on these sites more than 3 minutes longer than the average MySpace visitor. There is definitely addictive behavior occuring on these other sites.” LeeAnn Prescott (Someone I personally trust), Feb 2009
  • Nielsen published stats showing that “three of the world’s most popular brands online are social-media related (Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia) and the world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites. This equates to 22 percent of all time online or one in every four and half minutes. For the first time ever, social network or blog sites are visited by three quarters of global consumers who go online, after the numbers of people visiting these sites increased by 24% over last year. The average visitor spends 66% more time on these sites than a year ago, almost 6 hours in April 2010 versus 3 hours, 31 minutes last year.” Nielsen, June, 2010

By Region and Geography

  • Japan: This slideshare has data on Japan’s mobile behaviors, and demonstrates how most social networks are accessed through mobile devices, and discusses Twitter, Facebook, and other social network adoption. Japan’s Cellphone Edge, 2010.


  • Facebook keeps it’s stats page updated, and boasts over 350mm users. Facebook, ongoing
  • Facebook has announced 400mm users, Feb 5, 2010.
  • Infographic on Auguts 2009 Facebook stats, including usage, size, adoption rates by Mashable, on Feb 12.
  • Facebook demonstrates growth in total number of visitors (now over Yahoo, for second place) and a high degree of attention (time on site) “Facebook has surged past Yahoo as the number two most popular site in the U.S., drawing nearly 134 Million Unique Visitors in January, 2010. It’s been two full years since we’ve seen a shakeup at the top – In February, 2008, Google overtook Yahoo as number one, and never looked back.” Compete, Feb 18, 2010
  • Usage of casual gaming (Farmville, mafia wars) is suggested to be by moms.  A PopCap survey reports that “The PopCap study showed that 55 percent of all social gamers in the U.S. are women, as are almost 60 percent of those in the UK. The average age in the U.S. is 48, which is substantially older than the 38-year-old average in the UK, and 46 percent of American social gamers are 50 or older, compared with just 23 percent in the UK. Only 6 percent of all social gamers are age 21 or younger.”  Via GigaOm, Feb 18
  • Facebook visitors to other sites are apparently more sticky  at least by a few margin points: “To offer one example, 81% of visits to in the week to March 6, 2010 were returning visitors while 84% of visitors to that came from were returning visitors and 72% from Google News were returning visitors.”  One could argue that these Facebook users are more engaged, or content that is recommended to them by friends is more relevant. Hitwise, March 18
  • Facebook has cross the 500mm user mark, see blog post from CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, July 21, 2010
  • Top countries adopting Facebook: United States, UK, Indonesia, see stats from Royal Pingdom, August, 2010


  • Now has 60mm users, “Over the past year, network has seen a significant amount of growth, especially internationally. As of last December, the network had 55 million members, so its grown by 5 million in less than two months. In October, LinkedIn’s network’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, said in the post that half of LinkedIn’s membership is international. ” reports Techcrunch, Feb 11


  • All data told to me by Tagged directly on March 24 by ssarner at
  • Statistics: Total Registered Users: 100 Million
  • Global Monthly Unique Visitors: 16 million
  • USA Monthly Unique Visitors: 6 million
  • Daily Users: 3.5 million
  • Monthly Page Views: 7 billion
  • Attention USA (comScore) Average Minutes per Visit: 12.2 – #1 social network
  • Total Monthly Minutes: 796 Million – #3 social network
  • 10 million new friend connections made everyday
  • Tagged “Meet Me” application produces 40 million daily page views
  • Over 100,000 user generated virtual gifts, TAGS and skins available.
  • Average of 75,000 – 100,000 new daily registrants


  • Hubspot luanches a report of registrations and shows a decrease in rate of adoption. There’s also useful data within the report about followers and their behaviors based on a sample methodology. Hubspot, Jan 19, 2010.
  • Sysmos launched a report about global usage of Twitter, with most adoption in US. Interesting that the key nugget is “… the number of U.S. unique users was 50.8%, a sharp drop from 62.1% in June. This suggests the use of Twitter outside the U.S. has experienced significant growth over the past six months.”, Jan 14th, Sysmos. Thanks Jean in the comments for the submission.
  • Data indicates that many Twitter users are not active. read “The number of Twitter users has climbed to a lofty 75 million, but the growth rate of new users is slowing and a lot of current Twitterers are inactive” ComputerWorld, Jan 28
  • Twitter themselves finally publish numbers indicating there are 50mm tweets created each day.  “Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007. By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day. Tweets grew 1,400% last year to 35 million per day. Today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day—that’s an average of 600 tweets per second. (Yes, we have TPS reports.)” Twitter, Feb 22
  • Twitter co-owner Biz Stone has revealed that the site now has 105 million registered users. He revealed the startling number at a Twitter developer conference, aptly title Chirp, and also mentioned that 30,000 people a day are signing up to tweet. Techradar, from Twitter, April 14
  • Black people, who account for about 12% of the population in general, make up 25% of the Twitter population. Business Insider May 2010


  • As Yelp has grown from fledgling start-up to critical mass website, serving over 30 million visitors a month. Brainstorm tech, April .


  • Find out who is creating the top YouTube videos and who is embedding them. “The study also looked at the demographics of bloggers who embed these videos. In general, 20-to-35-year-old bloggers embed most of the videos (57%), followed by teenagers (20%) and bloggers over 35 (20%).” Including stats on average number of comments, duration and other tidbits, Read Write Web, Feb 15.

Mobile, Desktop and Social Networks

  • There’s a sea change in more people using social networks from mobile devices rather than desktop clients “more people are using the mobile web to socialize (91%) compared to the 79% of desktop users who do the same. It appears that the mobile phone is actually a better platform for social networking than the PC.”  Ruder Fin via Read Write Web, Feb 2010

I’ll continue to update this page over time, please leave a comment if you have 2010 submissions, I’ll credit you.

People on the Move in the Social Media Industry: Jan 16, 2010



From an industry perspective there were significantly more hires this month, than last. This is due to two pieces: 1) It’s traditional for new roles to be filled during the new year, 2) An uptick in the overall financial space and a continued focus on the social and open web.

In an effort to recognize the changes in the social media space, I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:

  • Chris Messina who’s been a leader in the open web and standards joins Google, where he’ll be focused on leading the open web initiatives. I’m certainly going to be following his work regardless of where he goes.
  • Joseph Smarr, via product team at Comcast’s Plaxo also joins Google, both of these gentleman have a focus on web standards and the ‘Openstack’ so it’ll be interesting to see how this unfold. I’ve been friends with Joseph for a few years now, and it’s great to see him continue to grow.
  • BL Ochman, a force of great positive energy who I’ve known for over 5 years, has joined Proof Digital Media – the new digital marketing arm of Burson-Marsteller. She’ll report to Proof CEO Jay Leveton, and have been given the opportunity to help guide the agency into the forefront of new media agency.
  • Johannes Neuer joins the The New York Public Library as the eCommunications Manager where he’ll expand and promote eCommunications and social media initiatives at The New York Public Library (both internally and externally).
  • Kati Driscoll lands at AAA Mid-Atlantic as a Social Media Community Specialist Working within existing and emerging AAA Mid-Atlantic communities to engage members, providing information and conversation to help them receive the full benefit of their membership and our community.
  • Karthik S joins Edelman as Head of Digital Strategy (India) Create and frame Edelman’s social media PR offerings in India, help clients integrate social media and digital communications within existing PR programs.
  • Greg Meyer joins Gist Customer Experience Manager where he’ll be providing VIP Support, Building a Customer “Power Tips” channel, and generally doing whatever necessary to make users successful.
  • Jennifer Polk has been promoted at Sears Holdings as the Director, BU Social Strategy Developing and leading community and social networking initiatives for SHC BUs, including building strategies and programs to help the BUs achieve greater customer engagement. She’ll be ensuring social programs align with BU business objectives and promoting partnership between Social Media, Online, Marketing and the BUs.
  • Robert Lommers has been promoted at Rabobank as the online media specialist focused on social media, online media, mobile, webcare, and social networking.
  • Joel Burslem is now with 1000watt Consulting as Associate of Social media marketing and strategy for the real estate industry.
  • Shara Karasic has been hired at Appolicious as the Director of Social Strategy developing community engagement and managing social strategy.
  • Judith A. Mod is at Social Gastronomy as a Principal where she’ll be focused on enabling organizations to leverage social media for marketing, customer relationships, operations, employee engagement, and partner management.
  • Matthew Rosenhaft also joins Social Gastronomy as a Principal where he’ll enable organizations to leverage social media for marketing, customer relationships, operations, employee engagement, and partner management.
  • April M. Williams is now with Cyberlife Tutors as the President of Coaching: focused on career and social media
  • Eileen O’Brien joins Siren Interactive as the Director, Search & Innovation at a social media lead for agency’ clients.
  • Paul Miser has been promoted at VML Senior Social Marketing Strategist where he’ll be creating dynamic Social and Mobile strategies for VML clients as they tie in with their digital and interactive strategies.
  • Kurt Abrahamson joins as the CEO, Leading the team to deliver our new social advertising platform for publishers.
  • Heather Strout joins the Farland Group as a Director of Community Services, there Heather will be helping companies discover ways to establish and sustain customer communities. She comes from a great family, her brother Aaron is a friend and constituent.
  • Ari Lightman has a teaching appointment at Carnegie Mellon University as an Adjunct Professor teaching a case study class on measurement and analysis of social media initiatives.

How to connect with others (or get a job):
Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how you can too:

Submit an announcement
If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, fill out this form.

Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources

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.

Job Resources in the Social Media and Web Industry

  • Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, these affiliate fees pay for my hosting)
  • Read Write Web keeps announcements flowing at Jobwire, although is broader than just social media jobs
  • Facebook group for community manager group in Facebook
  • Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
  • 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
  • Altimeter Group’s list of social media consultants and agencies
  • 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, please)

    Ongoing List of Social Marketing Efforts from Vacation Destinations, Convention, and Tourism Bureaus


    Oahu Sunrise: North Shore
    Above: A photo I took on a recent trip to North Shore Oahu, inline with my plans to fulfill operation bluewater.

    Recent data around interactive marketing spend indicates that the hospitality industry was ripe for spending on social marketing above all other industries.  Why?  This form of consumer marketing could be dependent on the human emotion and story telling between individuals, or through compelling word of mouth marketing campaigns.

    As a result, Christine Tran, Altimeter Researcher and myself are kicking off this list, and encourage you to add  examples by leaving a comment.  The scope for this is list is a tourist destination –not a hotel, airline, or specific restaurant.

    If you’ve got examples, please leave a comment below, with a description and URL, we’ll add.

    Webinar: Socialgraphics Provides a Customer-Centric Approach to Social Strategy.


    Good For BusinessLeft: In the past, marketers have relied on tried and true demographics to understand customers. Now, as consumers adopt social technologies, marketers must measure socialgraphics, which indicates how they interact with each other.

    Update: Get the slides and watch the webinar: Thanks for attending, with over 800 registered, we’ve now made the Slides and Recorded Webinar available.

    Beware of plans or proposals that start with “Twitter Strategy” or “Facebook Strategy” Instead, they should have a “Customer Strategy” that focuses in on how customers behave –not on the ever-changing toolset. As a result, companies should first understand how their customers use social technologies before they choose the tools. Socialgraphics is how to measure how customers use social technologies, where they are online, and how it influence them in the context of the customer lifecylce.

    This upcoming free webinar, suited for corporations who want to develop plans in social with confidence, will answer how to apply socialgraphics. Like demographics or psychographics, companies must now understand socialgraphics, which answers five key questions:

    Socialgraphics answers five key questions:

    1. Where are your customers online? First, find out where your customers are online, knowing which websites they are particiating at, this will reduce guessing.How to make this data actionable: Don’t aimlessly approach social networks without knowing if they are there, if they are in Hyves, Mixii, or Facebook, go there. Fish where the fish are.
    2. What are your customers’ social behaviors online? How do they use social technologies? Do they share? Comment? Create their own content?How to make this data actionable: Which social features should you deploy. Example: if they frequently like to comment on websites, allow them to leave their comments.
    3. What social information or people do your customers rely on? How to make this data actionable: If they rely on their friends, facilitate a marketing program that encourages customers to share with friends, this data helps with determining resource allocation on advocacy programs.
    4. What is your customers’ social influence? Who trusts them?How to make this data actionable: If your customers are trusted by others, highlight your customers in front of their community. For example, teens may share information with each other, spreading their influence to others.  Example: Walmart’s 11 Moms blogger program is a platform for customer voices.
    5. How do customers use social in context of your products? How do customers use social technologies to learn, make decisions, and support your products and services? How to make this data actionable: Be confident in your resource allocation by understanding when customers rely on social tools or their peers in pre-sales, awareness, decision making, implementation, or support of a product.

    When properly deployed, Socialgraphics, helps companies, their agency partners, and business units be more effective in their planning and deployment –reducing risk from deploying without having knowledge.

    In the spirit of open research, we will make this webinar, the slides, and the overall methodology available for the public to use, under creative commons license. We hope you’ll join us.  Stay tuned as we have other webinars coming soon.

    Socialgraphics: The Engagement Pyramid Offers An Understanding of Customer Behaviors

    Above: The Engagement Pyramid makes it easy to understand the specific behaviors of socialgraphics, making it simple to decide which technologies to deploy. Having customer understanding makes go-to-market strategy more effective.