Over the last 20 years, Kevin Marks has alternated between giant companies and founding startups - BBC, The UK MultiMedia Corporation, Apple QuickTime, Technorati and now Google. In this Q&A-style post, Kevin delves into the standards that make up the emerging open social stack (OpenID, OAuth, Portable Contacts, and OpenSocial), looking at the infrastructure problems they address, and exploring some of the live implementations, including Plaxo and Google Friend Connect.
Tag: social web
Google products are efficient, slick and -- as the coders say -- elegant. They get you from point A to point B fast. Really fast. But are they fun? That's the question for the search engine as it struggles to gain a foothold in the fast-growing and here-to-stay social web. That web isn't marked by speed and elegance but rather by pit stops and side roads that allow people to pull over, meet new or old friends, play a game and buy souvenirs. In short, have fun.
By now, we're used to letting Facebook and Twitter capture our social lives on the web -- building a "social layer" on top of the real world. At TEDxBoston, Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the "game layer," a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce.
I love baseball and will always await the first day of spring training with the ardor of a lover coming home after an exile. But I will never be a baseball player. It’s just not in my make-up. My misery over my failed baseball career is no different than Google’s. The world’s largest search engine covets a key to the magical kingdom called the social web. It would do anything to become part of that exclusive club that, for now, is the domain of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and to some extent, Twitter. Google will do just about anything to get social, like spend a rumored $182 million on San Francisco-based Slide, a head-scratcher of a deal.
This post is about the future of communication. We’ve had one-to-one communication forever. Mass-media created a revolution in one-to-many communication. And the internet has shown us the power and possibility of many-to-many communication. We are slowly starting to see the formation of a new kind of communication, which – for lack of a better term – I’m calling one-to-some communication. The promise of the social web is a fundamentally new form of communication in which each of us can move fluidly between one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many communication with each bit of information we share.
It seems that everywhere you turn, businesses, media properties, and brands are asking us to connect with them in the social Web. Whether it’s on TV, in press materials, advertising, or email, brands are vying for our “friendship.” In July 2009, Bill McCloskey in partnership with StrongMail, analyzed the email marketing campaigns of top brands and how they integrated social profiles into the marketing presentation. McCloskey observed that top brands were reviving email campaigns with the inclusion of links to social profiles, specifically Facebook, Twitter, and also MySpace.
Social media has a loyal tribe of disciples. We follow each other on Twitter (Twitter), connect on Facebook (Facebook), read each other’s blogs and listen to each other at conferences. We provide each other moral support and though we are a minority, we have religion and we are here to change the world (I’m not joking). Most importantly, we share stories. These stories are all about finding common ground and building a defensible position on the what/why/how of our new orthodoxy; what is “social”, why you need it, how it actually works and how you measure it.
There is an almost overwhelming number of options on the social web for businesses to create and participate in communities. You hear a lot about Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter (Twitter) communities, and even LinkedIn Groups; but businesses have another option when looking to build a community online that’s often overlooked despite having nearly 40 million users: Ning. Ning allows businesses to create their own off-site social network for their brand’s community, and participate in existing conversations with the communities they are looking to engage. Here are 6 ways businesses can put Ning to work.
Measuring individual influence in Social Media is as coveted as it is elusive. While many tools claim to calculate authority, it is the definition of influence that requires clarification in order to grasp the relevance and differences of existing tools and services. For the sake keeping this discussion on track, let’s define influence. According to Merriam-Webster, influence is having the power or capacity to cause an effect. San Francisco-based Klout is no stranger to measuring influence on the Social Web. The company launched at SXSW Interactive 2009 to help Twitter users discover the voices that the world listens to (on Twitter anyway). Essentially, Klout measures influence at the topical level, sorting individuals who demonstrate the ability to drive action within respective social graphs when discussing particular subjects.
Consumers use the social web to talk about everything including products. Sometimes they are praiseworthy, sometimes not. There are no strategic meetings or secret gatherings where consumers discuss which products to talk about and when. They just happen, and happen organically. And at times – at the demise of some brands — these conversations can reach the mainstream media as it did with Motrin.
I want to share my take on how human business works, and what the social web is all about. When I talk about these things, they might not line up with what you’ve thought about, but that’s okay. We see things differently. To me, this is a large tapestry and we’re weaving the fabric of new stories together a little at a time. It’s okay if you don’t see it this way yet. I just want to share my perspective, if only to give you a fuzzy squint into what I believe is here, and what I think is coming with all this.
Having just returned from vacation, (hence the break from blogging) I had the distinct pleasure of keynoting Silicon Valley AMA last night at Cisco’s Telepresence suites in Santa Clara. In my opening keynote, I had a specific message to marketing leaders in the valley to think holistic about social. I outlined some of the major impacts to other departments beyond marketing.
If you’re reading this, then social media is a part of your life, just like the juice you steal through the wall socket at the local cafe. Your very lifestyle, and odds are your profession, depend on it. You might think you know how it works, because you work on it all the time. You test, tinker, and tweak it. You profess, pitch, and present it. Your social media is always on, and you’re always on it. But to really know what it means to you, you would have to turn it off. And I suspect it wouldn’t take long before you realized how deeply embedded it had become in even the most banal habits of your daily routine. Which is why, when it comes to social media, usability only scratches the surface. Sociability is where it’s really at. Sociability, in which the emphasis is on the social over use and utility, is equivalent of usability for the social web.
Content may be king, but it won’t ever get the royal treatment outside the confines of your company’s website unless its dressed for success with a killer headline and description to match. A lot of interest can be generated with great content and some proper positioning. Positioning, in this case means solid headlines and descriptions to accompany the content at a variety of access points across the web.
In a recent white paper, "The Future of the Social Web," Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang predicts the social web will soon morph through five stages, wreaking havoc on the way brands market. Owyang states: "Today's social experience is disjointed because consumers have separate identities in each social network they visit. A simple set of technologies that enable a portable identity will soon empower consumers to bring their identities with them ... IDs are just the beginning of this transformation ... Consumers will rely on their peers as they make online decisions, whether or not brands choose to participate. "
Remember early Jib Jab cartoons where you’d manually upload your own photo and that of your friends? Now, it’s much easier with just a few clicks to Facebook Connect. Last week, I had dinner with Chris Pan (linkedin, twitter), Head of Brand Solutions at Facebook, who pointed me to a new social interactive marketing advertisement for a video game called “Prototype”. Upon accessing the site, Prototype Experience, (try it for yourself) you’ll be prompted to login with your Facebook account. After a rather lengthy loading period (it’s worth it, hang tight) you’ll watch a short teaser trailer.
The press release is over 100 years old and for the most part, its evolution is mostly stagnant for the majority of its lifespan. However, the press release has evolved more in the last decade than it has over the century thanks to the proliferation of the Internet and most notably, the Social Web. The tired and oft disregarded press release is finally tasting reinvention as it transforms to chase the new channels of influence as well as adapt to the rapidly shifting behavior of content discovery, consumption and sharing.
Expect the Groundswell to continue, in which people connect to each other –rather than institutions. Consumer adoption of social networks is increasing a rapid pace, brands are adopting even during a recession, so expect the space to rapidly innovate to match this trend. We found that technologies trigger changes in consumer adoption, and brands will follow, resulting in five distinct waves.
As I speak with companies that want to engage with their customers in the online social world, I continually find people confused as soon as they begin talking about "social media." The reason is the baggage that comes along with the word "media." Media is something that media companies control, and media is overwhelmingly one-way. The online social world is about as two-way, multi-way, any-way as it can be. Nobody controls it, not even Facebook, which found it can't even change its own terms of service.
The Social Web is maturing at a blurring pace, packing thousands of years of behavioral and social evolution into the span of ten years or less. Social Media has amplified our individual voices and introduced an infrastructure that connects us contextually across a myriad of social networks. We're conditioned to participate and engage genuinely and transparently in order to foster meaningful conversations and ultimately relationships. I'd like to explore the other side of the discussion that rarely sees the light of day, if for no other reason than to serve as a reminder that we can always learn how to do things better.
And now it's Axe's turn. It, too, is dipping into the Modernista! school of Web marketing with an "Axe Effect" site. Technically, it's not an un-site, but it follows the same theme set by Modernista! and subsequently imitated by Skittles: Let others define your brand.
Right now the biggest challenge to being successful on the social web is through high quality micro-interactions with high quality human beings. But organizations will find this difficult to embrace. The industrial revolution has taught us to mass produce and move away from human dependency. Here's a few ways to be "more human".
Recently, P&G got a number of agency people, media executives and others to Cincinnati to perform a Digital Hack Night. The idea was to use social media to get people to buy Tide t-shirts via tweets, hash tags, and other digital means with some of the proceeds going to Feed America. P&G brand managers with Deb Schultz acting as "social web sherpa" and various consultants and agency people tapped into their social networks dived into a marketing exercise to experience social media at work.
Twitter has multiple business models to choose from.
Over the last decade, Social Media has slowly evolved not only as a new content publishing, sharing, and discovery medium, but more importantly as a peer-to-peer looking glass into the real world conversations that affect the perception, engagement, and overall direction of the brands we represent. Socialized media didn't invent "conversations," it simply organized and amplified them.
There’s been a series of announcements this last two weeks, many which are happening here at SXSW, yet it’s important to look at what these changes mean as a collective, here’s my take: While working on my report the future of the social web, I was white boarding out ideas with Josh Bernoff on some of the changes that will be happening as social technologies become more important.