Archive for October, 2008

Grandmas, Newspapers, and the Internet


My living Grandmother won’t read this post, unless my mom prints it out for her and hands it to her in person –actually a common practice in my family.

A few weeks ago, I had a phone conversation with Grandma, we talked of politics, and how many companies would not hire Asians when she was my age, and of course, my favorite topic, the internet.

She still lives in a print world, but is very aware of the online world, and ask me to tour her through the internet when I see her. According to social technographics, she’s an ‘inactive’ when it comes to social media, and that’s ok with me.

She loves to see me in print, and stumbles across my name in her newspaper reading? I rarely touch news ‘paper’, as online is far faster, and much more interactive; “you can’t doubleclick paper” I tell her.

Perhaps one of the things that she has over me is wisdom and experience, one observation she’s had over the years is that she’s noticed that “newspapers are getting thinner”.

Despite the generational differences that we have, we’re still the same, we seek information, news, and opinions about the greater world.

Today is a special day, one that I’ll always remember, like every Oct 31st, today is her birthday, Happy Birthday Grandma, I’ll call you in a bit.

Why does Comcast care about Twitter? (Video)


I was pleased to see Frank Eliason (he just launched his blog) from Comcast cares join us at Forrester ‘s Consumer Forum this week. In fact, I talked to many of the world’s largest brands about social media marketing during my 1 on 1 sessions with clients (almost 14 of them), it was really the common theme throughout many discussions.

If you don’t know the story of Comcast Cares, well they’ve a pretty disliked reputation for service and support (see sleeping technician), but are trying to turn a new leaf by responding and supporting customers using Comcast Cares on twitter. I had to use this a few months ago, as my bandwidth was extremely slow at home, and they responded within a few minutes.

Frank has become somewhat of a a celebrity, they are frequently mentioned in presentations (mine included) and while many companies are now supporting customers on Twitter, the reason why they get so much attention is because, just like Microsoft and Dell did, the tarnished brands get extra community kudos when they stick out and try to connect with customers.

I polled my twitter followers (twitter is my social computer) to pose some questions for Frank, and I found these ones to be interesting, tune in to find out his responses.

seacatz: @jowyang what’s the most surprising customer experience or story he’s encountered so far?

davefleet: @jowyang does he have the power within Comcast to actually get issues addressed? Is there substance to the engagement or just words?

williamu: @jowyang Ask him how SM doesn’t short circuit p2p/community groups that are Comcast focused. Is it competition or collaboration?

Tabz: @jowyang Whose idea was @comcastcares to begin with – was there resistance from the Powers that be? How did he overcome it?

Despite this outreach on twitter and other websites, what’s going to matter if Comcast actually makes changes to improve their products and service –not just be responsive to problems as they occur. I’ll be watching.

Action Items for your Brand:

  • Monitor your brand (or your clients) on Twitter using search tools
  • Secure your company names
  • Develop a roles, policy, procedure to respond
  • Before you respond, be prepared to make actionable changes, not just providing lip service
  • Groundswell Awards Now Announced


    I’m pleased to let you know that this year’s Groundswell awards were presented yesterday by Josh Bernoff at our conference in Dallas. I was one of the final judges, although Josh and Zach Hofer-Shall were instrumental in sorting through over 150 submissions. Congrats to:

    Winners by the POST Methdology 5 objectives:

    — Listening: Mattel’s “The Playground” Community by Communispace

    — Talking: Young & Free Alberta by Common Wealth Credit Union

    — Energizing: Hershey’s Bliss House Party by House Party

    — Supporting: Nerd Network by National Instruments

    — Embracing: by Starbucks

    Other key categories include:

    — Managing: Borderless Workplace by Accenture

    — Social Impact: Artshare, Click Exposition, and Posse by Brooklyn Museum

    Some of the winners told me although there are other industry awards, this one was really the important one they wanted to achieve as far as measuring deployment. Thank you all for submitting, and keep on doing the good work to connect with customers, employees and people.

    Heh, this is funny, I met Tim from Currency Marketing who did the Young & Free Alberta campaign yesterday, I should have known he was this creative. Watch his video, funny guy.


    Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Oct 29, 2008



    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
    This week, LinkedIn makes some considerable moves forward, first raising $22million that will let them stand the downturn and prepare for acquisitions, they also launched an application platform with 10 partners. Expect to see more media focus on business social networking as some scramble to network to keep, find, and improve their jobs.

    Platform: LinkedIn launches Application environment
    Perhaps one of the most anticipated announcements is LinkedIn’s ability to have third party developers launch applications that can interact with their over 29million user base. This has some interesting impacts on the corporate intranet, collaboartion and beyond.

    Positioning: Where does Plaxo fit in?
    CIO magazine offers a perspective and asks about how does Plaxo fit in within the business related online social networking space. Does it compete with LinkedIn or really become a contact and content aggregator?

    Culture: Students sabotage competitors for college applications
    Interesting story how students will show pictures of those competing to get into colleges in order to win the spot for the right college. Right out of an 80s movie but now with updated technology.

    Funding: Linkedin Raises 22 million
    Able to obtain a very large round even after the economic warnings was a smart move for LinkedIn, they were able to clinch this money bag that will help this already profitable social network stand for the long haul, and be ready to make some key acquisitions in a downturned market.

    LinkedIn: Is LinkedIn poised to take Facebook?
    The Standard has an article suggesting that the less buzzed up social network LinkedIn may be poised to take Facebook, do see my quotes, as well as Jyarmis.

    Behavior: Why friending may lose it’s luster
    Wired article shows why losing touch with some may be a good idea.

    Video: Fascinating video about spread of information
    Watch this video and pay attention to the segments showing the rapid growth of social networks here in the world, notably how Facebook reached 50 million in two years –much faster than any other medium we’ve ever seen. (update: content no longer available, I dunno why, will try to find another link)

    Analysis: Facebook platform showing sluggishness
    This analysis by All Facebook shows how growth has been slowing to the platform activity due to recent design changes.

    Doh! Worker calls in sick, but tells truth on Facebook
    Genius calls in sick but outs himself on his Facebook status. Reminds me of this case of the Facebook faerie, what’s up with kids these days?

    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.

    LinkedIn’s Applications Further Moves the Intranet Away from the Firewall


    Although I don’t have any kids of my own yet, but I’m sure my kids won’t know what a firewall is when they reach the workplace.

    Why? firewalls, the enterprise security that maintains security between employees and the public on your intranet are going to be irrelevant –and LinkedIn and other SaaS products are making this happen –one URL at a time. I’ve expanded upon this a bit more in a recent discussion with the WSJ indicating the opportunity for LinkedIn and others.

    I’ve been in close contact with LinkedIn over the past year, and recently had lunch with their CEO to discuss their strategy, so I’ve been fully briefed on this platform announcement. Given the downturn in economy, this is a great market for LinkedIn to grow with users, and to offer services and features that reduce developer cost within the enterprise.

    A bit of history, LinkedIn, which is reported to have 29million users, was one of the OpenSocial partners that agreed to join the coalition and put their name by it in fall 2007, finally, a year later they’ve finally launched an application platform with 10 application partners. You’ve heard of MySpace, Bebo, and many others being OpenSocial compliant, and you should be aware of Facebook’s F8 platform that kicked this off in mid year 2007.

    These 10 application (sometimes called widgets) are now accessible by LinkedIn users and have collaborative and social features that allow you and your LinkedIn friends to share presentations, favorite books, event calendars, documents and other work related themes (no super poke here). You can collaborate with your colleagues at a company and even beyond with your business contacts, imagine that, getting work done with people that aren’t even your colleagues.

    I used to be the enterprise intranet manager at HDS before I started the social media program, and I know that from experience, most intranets are a horrible cobbled together experience, most lacking true social features. We continue to see more SaaS products being offered like SocialText, Zoho, ConnectBeam, and of course SalesForce to allow employees to work and share together, without even having to rely on IT developers to build a new products.

    LinkedIn isn’t done with it’s growth, to truly be a major competitor in the intranet market, they need to make their system extensible with other platform players, allow more business applications to be shared on their platform (they hand select developers) and consider some acquisitions in the community platform space or collaboration space. Since they snagged funding before the investment money dried up, they recently have generated $22 million in funding (beyond their existing raised capital, which will enable them to : 1) stand the test of time, 2) get ready to go shopping.

    Expect LinkedIn to:

  • Offer more collaboration between colleagues and connections to happen outside of the firewall where IT doesn’t have control
  • Provide resources for some IT departments to lean on SaaS environments to further their mission
  • Launch more business applications request to be developers on LinkedIn’s business platform
  • Export the top business applications will be then be ported to community platform players
  • Raised significant capital, thrive in an downturned economy, and get ready to go shopping
  • Video: Shoutouts from the Dallas Tweetup


    Every wanted to know who was behind those 140 characters? Now you can. this 2 minute video you can hear 50 people shout out their twitter handles at last night’s Dallas tweetup.

    What’s a Tweetup? A group of social media enthusiasts who want to connect and networks. Despite all the tools that are available to us to communicate digitally, there’s nothing like meeting in real life.

    I help the worlds largest brands develop community strategies, yet, sometimes it’s the simply things that really tell more of a story then anything else, BBQ, Shiner Boch, and a $200 camera. That’s what community is really about: people.

    Speaking of people, I’d like to thank Paula Thorton (follow her on twitter) for organizing this dinner, and Forrester’s Alexis Karlin (follow her), as well as the sponsors Eric T. Peterson, Web Analytics Demystified, DFW UPA and Forrester Research.

    Perhaps we should rename the social media industry to really be the people industry –it’s not about technology.

    Picture 083on the bus@armano @worleygirlPicture 071Picture 089Brisket@armano wants to go to cowboy churchPicture 092Picture 091Picture 084Picture 100Picture 102