Virtual gifts are sort of a head scratcher. They aren't a very risky or costly investment for social networks, and yet it’s difficult to imagine users paying any amount of money for something that doesn’t really exist. But apparently they are popular, and more social networks are catching on.
Tag: social networks
Today, Facebook is publishing a study that disproves some hoary conventional wisdom about the Web. According to this new research, the online echo chamber doesn’t exist. This is of particular interest to me. In 2008, I wrote True Enough, a book that argued that digital technology is splitting society into discrete, ideologically like-minded tribes that read, watch, or listen only to news that confirms their own beliefs. I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn.org, argued in his recent book The Filter Bubble that Web personalization algorithms like Facebook’s News Feed force us to consume a dangerously narrow range of news. The echo chamber was also central to Cass Sunstein’s thesis, in his book Republic.com, that the Web may be incompatible with democracy itself. If we’re all just echoing our friends’ ideas about the world, is society doomed to become ever more polarized and solipsistic?
Since the American social psychologist, Stanley Milgram, conducted his famous ‘small world experiment’ in the 1960s, it has been commonly accepted that most people have six degrees of separation between them. However, a vast new study by Facebook’s data team and the University of Milan, which assessed the relationships between 721 million active users (more than 10 per cent of the global population) of the social network, has found that the average number of connections between people has dropped to four.
For the past few weeks, the “Google+ is a ghost town” meme has haunted the new social networking site. But maybe the search giant has finally found the hook to draw eyeballs to its floundering Facebook alternative: free music.
After mapping humans' intricate social networks, Nicholas Christakis and colleague James Fowler began investigating how this information could better our lives. Now, he reveals his hot-off-the-press findings: These networks can be used to detect epidemics earlier than ever, from the spread of innovative ideas to risky behaviors to viruses (like H1N1).
As I mentioned a few weeks back, I'm reading Nicholas Carr's book "The Shallows." His basic premise is that our current environment, with its deluge of available information typically broken into bite-sized pieces served up online, is "dumbing down" our brains. We no longer read, we scan. We forego the intellectual heavy lifting of prolonged reading for the more immediate gratification of information foraging. We're becoming a society of attention-deficit dolts. It's a grim picture, and Carr does a good job of backing up his premise. I've written about many of these issues in the past. And I don't dispute the trends that Carr chronicles (at length). But is Carr correct is saying that online is dulling our intellectual capabilities, or is it just creating a different type of intelligence?
Okay, maybe that's going too far. I don't really recommend firing your marketing manager. I do however believe that most companies will eventually need to hire or contract with a community manager, if they haven't already.
Most brands incorporate Twitter in their social media strategy, but are they actually using it effectively? Not exactly, according to research released today by New York-based digital agency 360i.
When historians of the future look back on the perils of the early digital age, Stacy Snyder may well be an icon. The problem she faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever.
Most companies are barely prepared to deal with unhappy customers who use social media to air their gripes. Now they must be ready to respond when organized entities, such as Greenpeace, wage massive campaigns against their brands using social media channels.
This week BP successfully recapped its ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Test results are favorable and show that oil and gas are, for the time being, confined. This news inspires cautious optimism in the hearts of residents and spectators alike. Online, however, the social effect continues to flow across social networks and social graphs, echoing anger, hope, and the demand for resolution and prevention from BP and the Obama administration.
Coca-Cola is free. No, not in calories or caffeine, but the media that fans generate about the brand. Michael Donnelly, the Atlanta-based company's group director of worldwide interactive marketing, speaking at the ANA's Social Media conference in New York on Thursday, said fan-generated content and commentary costs nothing, and is a major benefit of using social media. The company, which fields 500 brands worldwide in some 206 countries, is putting a lot of attention on how to do that as efficiently as possible in its various markets.
The Cannes Film Grand Prix-winning Old Spice campaign has evolved over the last 24 hours to dominate discussion in social media, in what is sure to become the ‘case study du jour’ for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, however, the marketing campaign took a different turn and really got ‘social media right’. It’s been updated and sees Isaiah Mustafa respond directly to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about him in 117 publicly available, timely and pesonalised video messages. So what are the results? It’s still early to tell, but a few things are apparent.
Let's step back a moment and just admit it: Location is interesting when it's interesting ... but usually it's not. Sorry, Twitter, but the vast majority of people tweeting about the World Cup weren't actually in the stadium.
Are organizations really preparing themselves for a day where engaging in public will become more mainstream, ubiquitous and even expected? In other words, will the organization truly be “social” when they need it most? To help answer this question, I’m going to list a few core “plays” that your organization should be incorporating into their gameplan if they truly want to move toward making their business more “social”.
Social media didn’t invent conversations, it provided us with tools to surface and organize them. Conversations about brands predates the mediums used to connect messages and aspirations with consumers. The motivation for brands to engage in social networks varies based on the culture and agility of each company, but what is constant is the aspiration to connect with customers and prospects to earn awareness, attention and connections.
Google me this. Can Google go face to face with Facebook? Can it somehow create a social network that will make real people, rather than engineers, leave at the click of a key? What might this nirvana network (and surely "nirvana" would be a far better name that the alleged "Google.Me") look like?
It’s free agency season in the NBA, and the only people who are more excited than the fans are the nation’s sports reporters. How easy it is to be a sports reporter in 2010! Thanks to Twitter, you’ve got guys like Chris Bosh dropping morsels of information all day long. For example, Bosh tweeted the following last night, sending the sports world into a tizzy.
U.S. consumers are spending more time online -- and devoting a growing percentage of those hours to social networking sites -- a trend expected to create a surge in spending on advertising to this audience. In May 2010, U.S. consumers spent an average of 6 hours, 13 minutes a month using social networking websites, according to a study by the Nielsen Company. And users did not restrict themselves to checking their status while at home: the average U.S. worker spent almost 5.5 hours each month visiting social network sites from the office, the research firm found.
Struggling social network MySpace is gearing up for a relaunch of the site later this year, and as part of that it has begun canvassing adland for an agency to devise a major branding campaign. Industry executives say the News Corp.-owned company recently put out a request for proposals to several creative shops, asking them to help MySpace get the word out about the relaunch, which will include new features to be introduced in stages starting this summer and a revamped site and logo in the fall.
Years ago, business technology was driven by corporations that needed Excel spreadsheets to crunch sales numbers. Now it's also driven by consumers who want to find the nearest happy hour on an iPhone. As Microsoft starts pitching a new version of its Office software to consumers Tuesday, that consumer is riding a power trip in the tech world, driving workplace use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, devices such as the iPad and iPhone, and free Web apps such as Google Docs.
The world’s most widely viewed sporting event, FIFA World Cup 2010, begins today. And for the first time ever, the World Cup is playing in the digital age. During the last World Cup, social media was barely kicking: Twitter hit the field on July 2006; Facebook wasn’t public until September 2006. In 2010, it’s a whole new World Cup.
It's a very different world today. With the Internet connecting everyone, companies are becoming more transparent whether they like it or not. An unhappy customer or a disgruntled employee can blog about a bad experience with a company, and the story can spread like wildfire. The good news is that the reverse is true as well. A great experience with a company can be read by millions of people almost instantaneously. The fundamental problem: you can't anticipate every possible touch point that could influence the perception of your brand.
In today’s discussions about privacy, “youth don’t care about privacy” is an irritating but popular myth. Embedded in this rhetoric is the belief that youth are reckless risk-takers who don’t care about the consequences of their actions. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
British Airways cabin crew are on strike for the second of what could be a number of strikes this year. Last minute talks were taking place over the weekend until they broke up. And BA CEO, Willie Walsh, is blaming the collapse of the talks on Twitter.
Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now. Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this; social networking is not for just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.
In the age of social networks, content evolves hand-in-hand with the mode of dissemination. What matters is pass-along potential, and nothing gets passed along like humor, particularly sarcasm or the thrill of the 'gotcha' moment. Sound bites have always been part of political communication, but decisions about which bites to air used to be in the hands of at least half-way responsible and accountable editors. Now everybody has a say in deciding what gets disseminated, and everybody seems to like passing along the put-down more than the uplift. My interest, as a marketing professor, is in the way this shift is playing out in the world of brands.
Research scientists Cameron Marlow and D.J. Patil have unprecedented windows into the social interactions of people around the world. Marlow is manager of a data-science team for Facebook Inc., which has more than 400 million members who come to socialize online. Patil is chief scientist and senior director of product analytics at LinkedIn Corp., which has more than 65 million members of a social network that concentrates on building professional relationships. They are at their computers each day, extrapolating information from more than just the tiny "representative samples" traditionally employed by pollsters. These in-house researchers have access to the interactions of groups of people that outnumber populations of whole countries, giving them the kinds of documentable insights into human behavior that generations of researchers before them could only imagine.
We have confirmed with Twitter that beta testing of its new business features, dubbed the “Twitter Business Center,” has begun. According to the company, “only a handful of accounts have these features presently,” but it will expand on a gradual business to more accounts. One of the biggest additions: the ability for businesses to accept Twittter direct messages, even from people they don’t follow.
Finally, marketers are acknowledging the necessity of listening to consumers - aka "people" - and brands are adjusting to the social networked environment by opening conversations. Market researchers cannot ignore these developments since they dictate the necessity of understanding peoples' identities, not only their interests. We Are People, Not Data Points - See Us Live
Mark Brooks wants the whole Web to know that he spent $41 on an iPad case at an Apple store, $24 eating at an Applebee’s, and $6,450 at a Florida plastic surgery clinic for nose work. Too much information, you say? On the Internet, there seems to be no such thing. A wave of Web start-ups aims to help people indulge their urge to divulge — from sites like Blippy, which Mr. Brooks used to broadcast news of what he bought, to Foursquare, a mobile social network that allows people to announce their precise location to the world, to Skimble, an iPhone application that people use to reveal, say, how many push-ups they are doing and how long they spend in yoga class.
Touchpoints serve as the point of contact between a buyer and a seller. As the race to socialize commerce escalates, these touchpoints represent the nodes that define the human network, connecting people across the social Web and uniting them around common interests, themes, and movements.
Social networks share a common ingredient in design and intent, the connection of people and the facilitation of conversations, sharing, and discovery. What they do not share however, are culture, behavior, and prevailing demographics. Each network is unique in its genetic and cultural composition and it is for that reason that we benefit by becoming digital anthropologists in addition to new media marketers. Demographics are distributed within all social networks, but only concentrated within a select few. Where specific demographics materialize varies from network to network and as such, the more effective social strategies and tactics are designed to reach target audiences where, when and how they engage.
Prom preparations are underway around the country and retailers are taking full advantage of the occasion. Teenagers wield substantial spending power, typically thanks to their parents – just try telling your daughter she can’t have THAT dress – and this time of year translates into profits for any brand that succeeds in reaching the high school demographic
The next friend request you receive might come from the FBI. The Obama administration has considered sending federal police undercover on social-networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. A confidential U.S. Department of Justice presentation on social-networking sites made public Tuesday said online undercover work can help agents "communicate with suspects," "gain access to nonpublic info," and "map social relationships."
That limited, old-school perception of design is missing out on something important: Today's increasingly complex and multi-faceted marketing campaigns are, in essence, design projects. With the splintering of "old" media and the explosive rise of social networking, marketing messages now are constantly morphing and being reinvented--taking new forms that range from highly innovative viral stunts and films (such as Volkswagen's Fun Theory) to branded social networks (Nike Plus) and even sponsored save-the-world movements (Pepsi)'s "Refresh Everything" project).
Facebook's virtual currency, "Facebook Credits," is getting very close to its full launch: a post on the Facebook developer blog explains some of the full terms of the system and what developers can expect as the currency continues to roll out slowly.
Nielsen recently released a new report that officially documents what many of us already know, just never substantiated through data. According to a study published at the end of January 2010, Nielsen observed the online social activity of consumers around the world and discovered an 82% increase in time spent on social networking sites in December 2009. On average, users spent more than five and a half hours on popular networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In December 2008, users clocked just over three hours on social networking sites.
The Kaiser Foundation recently released a study documenting the astounding fact that 8-18 year olds in the United States have increased their media use from 8hrs 33 mins per day in 2004 to 10hrs 45 mins in 2009, which means that except for when they sleeping or in school they are almost always consuming media. I call them the 10:45 generation. Regardless of whether you think this is bad news signaling the demise of our children, or good news expecting our progeny are on the way to be becoming more literate in rich media world, as a business leaders we all must face this new reality. In particular, this short post will deal with the issue of managing your brand for the 10:45 generation.
Usually I’m a Google fanboy. I live inside of my Reader, store most everything in Docs, broadcast my location with Latitude, hardly touch those other search engines (or whatever silly name they’re calling themselves today), and I’ve been a Gmail user since 2006. If Google builds it, I try it. But Buzz is threatening my fandom… because Buzz is ruining my experience in the other products – specifically, Gmail and Google Reader.
I believe strongly that, rather than business injecting business values onto our communities to business ends, we really need to turn the tides and teach business how to espouse human values again…or as Gary Hamel writes in his excellent column, put soul back into business. It is human beings, after all, that are necessary to the success of any business (whether employees or customers).
Here's what I observed this past week after scanning the reactions of people in my own networks in relation to Google Buzz. People in my own ecosystem seem utterly exhausted by the plethora of networks they manage and the number of people within those networks. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Instant Messenger... just how many platforms can we participate in?
Let's say you'd constituted a drinking game for the aftermath of Tuesday's unveiling of Google Buzz, the odd new mishmash of status messages, geolocation, and social-media aggregation: Take a drink every time some pundit says Google is trying to "kill" Facebook, Twitter, or any number of the "geo" start-ups out there. You'd have been totally blitzed. The cries of "It's a Facebook killer!" and "It's going to kill Twitter!" are tedious, but completely understandable considering that this is one of the first big pushes from Google, which has never been able to get a good grip on social networking, to make inroads in the space. And Buzz is indeed a product that's reactionary as opposed to trailblazing.
Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration. But where do we start?
Before Facebook launched in 2004, were you part of a community? Did you share pictures of your vacation with your friends? Before LinkedIn, did you share details of your business contacts to help out a friend? Before blogs, when someone you knew said something controversial, did you comment on it? Of course you did. Social activity isn't new. We're social creatures, mostly. But why do we act as if online communities are completely new? We make errors in trying to build communities that we would never make in real life. Some of these errors are fundamental. In everyday life, if the conversation only went one way, you'd tell me that you're not going to build a very strong relationship. No one likes to be talked at.
Social networks have truly come of age in the last year. No longer viewed as lonely outposts for youthful college slackers, the reach of these platforms has grown exponentially. Today, more than two-thirds of the world’s Internet users visit the social networking sites that reel in billions of eyeballs every 24 hours.
The new report from the Pew Hispanic Trust -- Latinos Online -- shows that 64% of all U.S. Hispanics use the Internet and that foreign-born Latinos have crossed the tipping point with 52% online. As the Hispanic audience grows, they seek new content and increasingly find and regularly visit foreign web sites.
After more than a decade, Intel returns to the Super Bowl this year to kick off a campaign for its 2010 Intel Core Processor, billed as its biggest product launch in five years. "A lot has changed in the past 13 years [since Intel's first Super Bowl campaign]. People are using computers in completely new and different ways," said Heather Dixon, Intel consumer marketing manager. "It's not just surfing the internet anymore; the No. 1 and No. 2 reasons now are social networking and videos."
In December 2008, global consumers spent an average of just over three hours on social networks. In December 2009, they were spending over five and a half hours on average. An increase of 82%. According to The Nielsen Company, social network sites have grown in importance globally in 2009. Alongside blogs, they are now the most popular category online when ranked by time spent on site. The survey (which looked at the US, U.K., Australia, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) shows not only that overall time on site has increased, but also that the global audience for social networking has increased.
Reports on the media habits of Gen Y consumers can lull marketers into viewing age as the primary consideration in forecasting media habits. Clearly, age is a factor -- younger people do tend to be more diversified in their media consumption and are more likely to interact regularly with emerging media such as social and text messaging. However, media habits change as people move through different life stages, and these changes impact how people choose to interact with brands.
The growth of social services enables us to share an ever-increasing granularity of our lives with complete strangers who opt in to sample our updates. From traditional blogging to Twitter to location sharing services, and now, Blippy (which displays my purchases online and lets me follow others' spending habits), I can live my life open and transparent, letting you know what I like, what I do, where I go, and how I spend my time. In parallel, we are also asking businesses to be more open. Thanks to SEC regulations and Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as best practices, we expect public companies to tell us how much money they have, how much profit they made, where they made that money, how many employees they have, how much they intend to make next quarter, and a blizzard of other things that fall under the guise of information.
About a month ago, we’ve heard reports that MySpace and Facebook aren’t quite the archenemies they once were; on the contrary, MySpace was to implement Facebook Connect, which meant that users would be able to log into MySpace with their Facebook credentials.
With all of the blogosphere buzzing about "social graphs", what does a social graph look like? The diagram below shows an actual on-line community [OLC]. Every node in the network represents a person. A link between two nodes reveals a relationship or connection between two people in the community -- the social network. Most on-line communities consist of three social rings -- a densely connected core in the center, loosely connected fragments in the second ring, and an outer ring of disconnected nodes, commonly known as lurkers. Communities have various levels of belonging.
Facebook, the popular networking site, has 350 million members worldwide who, collectively, spend 10 billion minutes there every day, checking in with friends, writing on people’s electronic walls, clicking through photos and generally keeping pace with the drift of their social world. Make that 9.9 billion and change.
Italian writer, blogger and photographer Vincenzo Cosenza has for the second time put together a visualization that shows the most popular social networks around the world on a map, based on the most recent traffic data (December 2009) as measured by Alexa & Google Trends for Websites.
In a sign of the tough times, Americans -- trading down in their restaurant choices or indulging in comfort food -- had more memorable encounters with new fast-food products than any other category this year. QSR entries filled five of the top 10 slots in 2009's Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey, which was conducted by Schneider Associates, IRI and Sentient Decision Science. The results were based on an online October poll of 1,125 consumers age 18 and over. For the last two years, technology products dominated the list.
Holiday shoppers in the United States spent some $595 million online on Black Friday, up 11 percent from last year, with Amazon.com and Walmart.com the most visited sites, according to analytics firm comScore. Visits to Amazon.com <AMZN.O> rose 28 percent, followed by the online unit of Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N>, which grew 22 percent. The two companies have already engaged in a heated battle for market share this holiday, with each lowering prices on select merchandise.
Looking for a good flick to watch tonight? Visit Instantwatcher, which marries New York Times critics' picks with the Netflix streaming-movie catalog. Interested in updating your music collection? Visit ArtistExplorer, which combines the Billboard charts with BestBuy.com's inventory database. Neither Netflix nor Best Buy made the applications—but both made them possible by opening up their APIs. You've likely been hearing a lot about APIs lately, and the concept isn't as confusing as it sounds. An open API simply means you've launched an interface that lets third-party software interact with your data; and those third parties can then mash the data up and build useful new tools on top of it.
As we’re learning, many updates on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are actually invitations for answers regarding brands. We’ve also discovered that 44% of users readily share brand-related information with others. And, as action speaks louder than words, 48% of those who came into contact with a brand name on Twitter and 34% on other social networks went on to search for additional information on search engines. Does this information in and of itself serve as an invitation for brands to engage? Most likely not. The invitation is delivered in the monitoring dashboards of those actively monitoring relevant conversations. Opportunities reveal themselves and also introduce a point of entry.
Here's something I've been thinking about for some time now. You see, there is this company. It publishes over a hundred RSS feeds and several email newsletters, but not a single blog. The only conversations this company entertains are the ones it starts itself or is subpoenaed into. Conversations it doesn't like, it tries to silence.
Prior to keynoting the PACA conference in Miami, Maria Kessler, president of the PACA Association, asked me if I had read a recent post by Fred Wilson entitled “The Golden Triangle.” We were deep in conversation as I was seeking an alternate title for my next book that identifies the divide between brands, information, and consumers and how we can, as social architects and engineers, build the bridges between people, contextual relationships, and technology. While “The Golden Triangle” isn’t a contender for the name of the next book, it did get me thinking. In his brief, but thought-provoking article, Wilson identified the state of engagement, connectivity and interaction. And through a collaborative conversation in the comments thread, new opportunities for future innovation also surfaced.
Twitter may be booming, Facebook stratospheric, but leading chief marketing officers are apparently yet to send the dollars wildly chasing the traffic. A new study shows nearly 85% of CMOs spend less than 10% of their budgets on social media, and what's described as "non-traditional communications channels." The research from Hill & Knowlton and peer networking group, the CMO Club, further found that 55% spend 5% or less in the emerging arenas. The figures come in light of Pew & American Life Internet Project research showing that in 2008, 35% of adult Internet users had profiles on social networks -- up from 8% in 2005.
We’re starting to see an interesting by-product of cool social media tools emerge: Research pulled from user data. One such effort, a new study released by SocialTwist, makers of the content share widget Tell-A-Friend, reveals some interesting facts about how people share information online. You can see the report in its entirety on the SocialTwist website.
Brands are busily trying to figure out how to build their followings on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The secret to success may lie in the most old school of marketing techniques: give people a deal. A new consumer study of "digitally connected" consumers commissioned by Razorfish found that 43 percent of those following brands on Twitter do so because of exclusive deals or offers. That tops interesting content (23 percent), current customers (24 percent) and service support (4 percent). Overall, more than 25 percent said they followed a brand on Twitter
Facebook is getting old. No, people aren't getting tired of it, it's actually getting old, as in its population is aging. In May of 2008, the median age for Facebook was 26. Today, it's 33, a good seven years older. That's an interesting turn of events for a site once built for the exclusive use of college students. So where are today's college students hanging out now? Well, to some extent, they're still on Facebook, despite having to share the space with moms, dads, grandparents, and bosses. Surprisingly though, they're also headed to another network you may have heard of: Twitter.
Moms and college students have long been critical targets for brands -- moms for their hefty control of household spending and college students for the important transitional life stage they are in, which shapes their brand preferences for years to come. Most Millennials, born between 1977 and 1996, are well within their baby-rearing years. These new parents have been raised on the Internet, email, SMS and IM and quickly adopted social networking in their teens or early 20s. What may have seemed like two polar opposites a decade ago now bear considerable resemblance as a result of changes in communications spawned by technology.
A recent study by industry group the Participatory Marketing Network has unearthed some surprising data on Gen Y behavior. Apparently, the members of this young demographic (ages 18-24) would rather give up their social networking accounts before they would abandon their email. Given that this generation is typically viewed as "plugged in" digital natives who don't have any use for email, the study raises many questions. Have the previous reports about Generation Y's disdain for email simply been wrong? Or has Gen Y grown up a bit now and has learned the necessity of the medium?
It seems that everyone is excited about social networks. But not quite in the same way as Harvard graduate student Erez Lieberman, whose evolutionary graph theory is encouraging people to think about social networks in a different way: as an evolving population. Lieberman developed the theory with Harvard mathematics professor Martin Nowak, who helped to lay its foundation through the observation that while most of evolutionary theory deals with populations that have either simple shapes or no structure at all, the world around us is full of evolving systems with all kinds of internal structure – whether it's the networks of cells present in the human body or the social networks that occur in cyberspace.
Google has quietly been launching a social network right under our own chins. No, it’s not about Google extending Orkut, a social networking platform they developed a few years ago, or growing Google groups, or even launching their own version of a twitter. Instead they’ve been releasing small bits of social networking features, little by little. Previously, we’ve made the case that email is already the largest social network, however Google’s plans go beyond Gmail. First, let’s define what to look for, in order to identify what Google is concocting.
Social Networks are among the most powerful examples of socialized media. They create a dynamic ecosystem that incubates and nurtures relationships between people and the content they create and share. As these communities permeate and reshape our lifestyle and how we communicate with one another, we’re involuntarily forcing advertisers and marketers to rapidly evolve how they vie for our attention.
Isn't the Internet wonderful? Don't you cherish the ability to see the exact return on your search engine marketing? Don't you just love your legion of Facebook fans and Twitter followers? Of course you do, and who wouldn't? But before we get too carried away by the power and efficiency of social networks, communities, and one-to-one marketing, let's remember that for many marketers, nothing matters unless consumers cough up real cash for tangible goods and services. I'm talking about companies that have manufacturing plants, warehouses and physical stores, which can only produce a return on that capital infrastructure by selling products on an ongoing basis. Quality homepages, unique visitors and Twitter posts--while helpful and interesting--might not be the things that grow these businesses. In some instances, the Internet will only go a short way in driving sales.
Twitter, Facebook and the many other social networks that have emerged are reminding us exactly how small the planet is, and how seemingly mundane or personal issues (where you live, what you feel) have all kinds of ramifications. While Facebook is busy increasing our awareness of other people's lives around the world, it stamps on globally sensitive nerves with one apparently very simple question: where do you live?
Retailers have a love-hate relationship with social media, according to a study set to be released next week. The E-tailing Group, which specializes in retail sector trends, surveyed 117 companies--from small to large--to assess how retailers and brands view the social Web. The biggest concern among respondents is that consumers will "trash their products in front of a large audience," according to E-tailing Group. At the same time, companies very much want to partake in the social Web. Ninety-three percent of companies surveyed said they are seeking greater customer engagement through social-media efforts. And 76 percent want to use social networks to "mobilize advocates through word of mouth."
If the ongoing social networking revolution has you scratching your head and asking, "Why do people spend time on this?" and "How can my company benefit from the social network revolution?" you've got a lot in common with Harvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski. Only difference: Piskorski has spent years studying users of online social networks (SN) and has developed surprising findings about the needs that they fulfill, how men and women use these services differently, and how Twitter—the newest kid on the block—is sharply different from forerunners such as Facebook and MySpace.
Tweetdeck, the popular, free Twitter client, is expanding its reach to Facebook and MySpace. The new versions of the desktop and iPhone program let you post to all three networks and read feeds from all three, all within the same interface. The big idea here, according to Tweetdeck founder Iain Dodsworth, is to make Tweetdeck a more powerful way to keep up with everything — like a web browser for socially-distributed information, be it news, memes, photos, or whatever.
When the executives at Razorfish, an ad agency "born digital," peer into their crystal balls, they see thing like universal screens, ubiquitous devices and consumer e-dentities becoming realities within the next five years. For media and advertising, old business is crumbling under the weight of digital interactivity going mainstream. Advertisers and content providers will no longer rigidly push out what they are selling, but instead, co-xist with consumers on an open, integrated digital plane of video, text, images, audio and commerce. When genuine interactivity abounds, prime-time television and the 30-second spot will be history. And that could be sooner than we think, according to the Razorfish brain trust. New approaches to social networks and social graphs, content and e-commerce, are among the change agents already at work, says David Friedman, president, Americas, Razorfish.
It WAS bold of marketing directors to invest in digital and social media campaigns a year ago. In revisionist marketing thinking, if you hadn’t done it, you’d be crazy. If you’re the least bit curious about how digital and social media is impacting your brand, I’ll call your attention to a weeklong series about media growth in the F.T.. I’m also trying to demonstrate one of the biggest changes happening in the world of media. Namely that friends are shaping culture more than editors, by doing exactly what I am doing for you: Directing you to an interesting series of articles in the F.T.
I just asked my friends on Twitter what their first social network was (see their responses), and most gave a varying degree of responses of web based communities, a few claimed early BBS systems –I didn’t see anyone claim email.
Facebook has won over millions of users from social networking pioneer MySpace. It's becoming more alluring to advertisers, too. Even as overall U.S. advertising spending on social networks declines this year, ad sales are on the rise at Facebook, and the company is gaining a larger slice of the pie at the expense of News Corp.'s (NWS) MySpace, according to a new report from marketing researcher eMarketer.
Do you Twitter? Then you are more interested in sex than the average Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn user. Like LinkedIn? You're more likely to watch soap operas. Favor MySpace? You're probably not into exercise. Which social network you favor says a lot about you -- and you might be surprised just what it says. A new study by Anderson Analytics is helping identify users' likely interests, buying habits, media consumption and more for marketers. The survey studied the demographics and psychographics of both social networkers and non-users and found that "there are definite data-driven segments in the social-networking-site market, both for non-users and users," said Tom Anderson, founder and managing partner.
Traditional influence has followed a systematic top-down process of developing and pushing “controlled” messages to audiences for decades, rooted in one-to-many, faceless broadcast campaigns.
Mothers of young children are spending far more time with social media than just three years ago. And most claim that as their personal time diminishes after becoming moms, they end up sacrificing time spent with magazines and newspapers.
In the brief history of Web sites, there are few if any second chances. Remember Friendster? That's why it's difficult for some industry observers to see a comeback for MySpace, the large online social network that has seen its popularity flatline and its hipness surpassed by younger sites like Twitter and Facebook in recent months.
In a way it's ahead of where the Web experience is moving towards, which is semantic and contextual. It's ahead because it includes one very important element, which smart automation doesn't, yet - trust. The reason why we continue to talk about influence - online and off line - is that with the explosion of information, we're looking for beacons to guide us through that noise.
The social web trend is more or less complete. Oprah's gone Twitter, your co-worker has a MySpace problem, and if your parents aren't bugging you with Facebook movie quiz invites, they probably will be by the time you're done reading this. People are flocking to these sites in record numbers, as Facebook now boasts over 200 million users worldwide, and Twitter has grown 3,000 per cent since last year. But for the social web to evolve into its final stage and take flight, the walls that separate these services, their users, and everything they create are going to have to come down.
Social media is revolutionizing our lives as individuals and as marketers. In the last year, Facebook exploded globally and Twitter grew by a staggering 1382%. Last week Google launched the ‘Wave’, a new in-browser collaboration tool, ushering in the era of real time, aggregated communication.
With social networks like Facebook transforming the way companies communicate with consumers, it's time for the ad industry to get its head out of the sand.
Kraft Foods' Miracle Whip brand is dipping its toes into social utilities with a browser application that lets users share comments on Web-based content via their social networks. Zingr is a Firefox plug-in that taps into users' social networks and allows them to leave comments on various Web pages across the Internet. After downloading the plug-in and verifying their Facebook information, users can append comments up to 160 characters on Web pages. The comments appear as small, expandable Zingr dialog boxes that can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the page.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about monetizing social networks. MySpace has swapped out much of its senior leadership with talent more experienced in marketing. Facebook is floating plans to launch an ad network someday. Both services already put ads on their sites, sell sponsorships, etc. Most, if not all, of these kinds of efforts focus on using social networks as glorified channels for branding. Companies hope to sell things by paying to put their brands in front of consumers as they’re on their way to, doing things at, and planning to leave their networked communities. How is this any different than putting up billboards on the way to the fair? Is it possible that the true value of social networks could be derived from seeing them as places?
Welcome to social-media message overload. The constant barrage of invites to sign up for this group or download that app are starting to wear on social-network users, presenting big challenges for the brands and marketers who are looking to use these sites to aggregate fans and cultivate relationships with customers.
2009 is the year of social media. Once, Twitter (Twitter reviews) was a place where you could read about someone else’s cat. Now, it’s the first place you go to when there’s breaking news. Sites like Digg (Digg reviews), Reddit (reddit.com reviews), and Facebook (Facebook reviews) can now leave a huge impact on the real world; lives are changed, important questions are asked (and answered) there. Many milestones have been reached; the growth of nearly every aspect of social media has and continues to be enormous.
Forrester released new details associated with its latest research survey that links business buyers and their process of researching solutions to Social Media. Forrester interviewed business buyers to learn about their social activity, in this case, more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries. According to the responses, Social Media isn't only limited to consumers or B2C. In the real of business-to-business research, analysis, and decisions, data points to peer-to-peer influence and collaboration in Social Networks and blogs...
If you are among the millions of Americans dreading the next few days until April 15th, you are not alone. Tax season is upon us and as every form of media conspires to remind you of the significance of Wednesday, whether you do your own taxes or not, you are likely feeling some pressure. In this midst of this 1099-imposed national rise in stress, TurboTax (a leading self-service software solution to do your own taxes) is finding their authenticity through social media and helping to reduce (if not to remove) the stress involved in these last few days of taxes.
Online social networks are here to stay. They've existed, in various forms, even before they were called social networks -- Friendster, GeoCities, and even Yahoo Groups come to mind. People will always want to connect and engage with other people in powerful environments where this happens easily. However, one of the biggest challenges facing brands today is how to effectively monetize these social properties.
A number of people have now published critiques of the "influencer model," suggesting that it doesn't work either because the Internet has expanded opportunities for participation in the marketplace of ideas, or because the model relies too heavily on a very small number of "elite" people who don't enjoy the credibility of "everyday people." We would like to put forward a proposition that the current debate is really about differences in how marketers use the term "influential," rather than a fundamental difference in how we look at market forces.
You can't turn around anymore without reading about social networks, hearing about them on TV, or seeing people Twittering while walking, driving, attending events or eating dinner. How can you keep up with it all? How can you possibly keep track of who's saying what to and about whom? Do you need one service or 10? Will free services work, or do you need subscription services? Here are some tools I use and recommend to help you keep track of your brand, your products, your industry, and even your social networks.
Status updates on sites such as Facebook, Yammer, Twitter and Friendfeed are a new form of communication, the South by SouthWest Festival has heard.
One interesting fad that has popped up on Twitter of late and that is catching the eye of engineers at other network and applications makers for sites like Facebook is the rise of hash tags. Hash tags -- basically a group of words, acronym, or other descriptor proceeding by a pound sign -- are giving people a unique way to connect and are fast becoming a hot social networking trend.
Social Networks are among the most powerful examples of socialized media. They create a dynamic ecosystem that incubates and nurtures relationships between people and the content they create and share. As these communities permeate and reshape our lifestyle and how we communicate with one another, we’re involuntarily forcing advertisers and marketers to rapidly evolve how they vie for our attention. It is the zeitgeist of socialized media and it’s manifesting into an obsession for branding, advertising, “viral,” marketing, and communications experts and professionals worldwide.
For years, it has been assumed that home internet usage would cannibalize live television viewing, but there’s something interesting happening between social networking and live television. Could it be that what Pete Blackshaw termed “telecommunities”--people simultaneously watching live television programs and chatting in real time with an online network of like-minded fans--will gain scale and give consumers a reason to stick with live viewing?
The rapidly evolving world of social networks and blogs has officially grown up. Last year, the largest increase in visitors to such "member community" Web sites came from those ages 35-49, according to a new report from The Nielsen Co.
That Facebook, Twitter and other online social networks will increase the size of human social groups is an obvious hypothesis, given that they reduce a lot of the friction and cost involved in keeping in touch with other people. Once you join and gather your “friends” online, you can share in their lives as recorded by photographs, “status updates” and other titbits, and, with your permission, they can share in yours. Additional friends are free, so why not say the more the merrier?
Friendster is at once a thriving success and a robot-ruled ghost planet.
You will, along with many millions of others, likely make an emergency appointment with your psychologist this week. After all, the words of Lady Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College in Oxford, England, have probably slapped their syllables against your very core. Social-networking sites, she said, like Facebook (it's interesting how Facebook seems to have come to symbolize all social networking), are infantilizing the human mind.
The other day I asked somewhat tongue-in-cheek whether Tom Friedman had ever visited Silicon Valley. Today, I’m wondering if Lady Greenfield has ever used a social networking site. The professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford and the director of the Royal Institution has the United Kingdom up in a tizzy about the idea that Facebook, Bebo and Twitter are warping their children’s minds.
There’s a fascinating report that came out this month. Noshir Contractor and his collaborators are studying nearly 60 terabytes of data from EverQuest II and interviewed 7,000 players of the game. Okay, get this: 45 million people play from all around the world. And even though players could play the game with anyone, anywhere, most people played with people in their general geographic area.
Unfortunately for video discovery technology companies, social networks now refer more consumers to online videos than video search engines, according to new research from video deployment, syndication and tracking service TubeMogul.
Barack Obama gets the Internet and social media the way that Kennedy got TV. You've heard the story of how radio listeners thought Nixon won the debates but television viewers saw it the other way around? Kennedy was built for TV and Obama is built for the Internet age.
In a time of growing unemployment, tumbling stocks and rising foreclosures, people are finding comfort on social networking sites.
On the site, guests can network with other guests weeks before their stay, coordinating meet-ups through common and pre-conceived experiences like "Drink with Me," "Eat with Me," "Shop with Me," and "Go Out with Me.".
The Times reports that traditional brand advertising on Facebook is a total failure. If you've been doing this for a while, this is no real surprise. Traditional advertising is inherently selfish. It interrupts in order to generate money (part of which pays for more interruptions). That approach doesn't work at a cocktail party, or at a funeral or in a social network.
For marketers, Web 2.0 offers a remarkable new opportunity to engage consumers. We interviewed more than 30 executives and managers in both large and small organizations that are at the forefront of experimenting with Web 2.0 tools. From those conversations and further research, we identified a set of emerging principles for marketing.