Archive for “October, 2009”

Social Media Roundup for October 30, 2009

Thank gawd it’s Friday the Social Media Roundup.

In a Hallowe’en vein this week, I think we should start our roundup off with a lovely bit of Tarantino noir: remixed.

…and on with the show.

Facebook notes that sometimes, people die
Facebook has finally noticed a flaw in their “Suggestions” algorithm: it occasionally serves up the dead.  So they’re rolling out new “memorial pages” for those who have passed on.  Zombies need not apply.

Good news for pedants, bad news for typos
Twitter has (finally) fixed their search so that the delete-a-tweet function actually works as advertised.  In case you hadn’t noticed, didn’t know, or are the sort that never makes mistakes, deleted tweets used to hang around in the search and various apps using the twitter API.  Now those accidental not-so-Direct Messages and typograffikal errors will disappear just like you’d expect.

Google Labs gets by with a little help from your friends
In a move not at all connected to their recent deal for Twitter results, Google Labs has opened up a new Social Search Experiment which looks to have real promise.  The basic premise is that it allows you to focus on the content from your circle of friends/contacts/enemies, which presumably indicates more trusted material.  Great for search, less great for the SEO obsessed webmaster.

Geocities, we hardly knew ye
Actually, we probably knew ye all too well, anigifs and all.  This week, Yahoo! pulled the plug on the network that launched a million webrings and introduced the world to home web content creation.  Slate has a great eulogy, which touts Geocities as the spiritual ancestor of the Social Web, hideous as it may have sometimes been.  So a tip of the hat, and a lamenting screech of a connecting 56k modem to granddaddy Geocities.

Well, at least they didn’t break them again?
Poor David Carroll.  It’s not enough that United Airlines broke his guitars, though he did receive a settlement eventually, it wasn’t until after launching his internet stardom that he received recompense.  And now, after all the hoopla has died down, this week United lost his guitar. We can only hope this means another catchy YouTube video is en route.

Nov. 4 – Webinar on Social Media Today: When PR and Marketing Collide

Social Media has disrupted both PR and Marketing and left them wondering who does what. The lines have blurred and some professionals are ready to fight to regain control of their traditional communications departments. VPs, Execs, get back to your corners and step out of the ring. You don’t have to put on your boxing gloves for this one. We’re going to talk it out in the most civil way possible – a webinar!

Maggie will be moderating a Social Media Today webinar on November 4 about the relationship and impact of social media on Marketing and Public Relations with Peter Kim, Managing Director, North America at Dachis Group, Cathy Brooks, communications expert and founder of Other Than That and Paul Gillin, writer, speaker, online marketing consultant.

Learn what these expert think the ideal new relationship between marketing and PR looks like, who is best suited to manage a campaign that includes social media and how to create strategies that include both new and old tactics. Does the blending still sound like a train wreck to you? Let the experts explain how the collision between social media, marketing and PR can become a serendipitous marriage!

The webinar takes place on November 4, 2009 at 2pm ET, 11am PT at If you miss it, you can check back here for archived audio!

Social Media Roundup for October 23, 2009

Friday already. The SMG-ers had a big week. I hope yours was cool too.

I saw this video a while back and my friend Anne shared it on Facebook today. I think we all need quick hit of adorable ahead of our weekly SMG Roundup.

Cute overload eh?

Henry Blodget at Silicon Alley Insider reported
findings from Perry Drake that Facebook now accounts for 25% of U.S. online pageviews. Wowzers.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning that Facebook announced public status updates would be searchable on Bing this week. And in a related news, Twitter has inked a deal that offers Bing and Google Search access to their public status updates (Details at TechCrunch). It makes perfect sense given the that Pew Internet and American Life Project announced this week that 19% of Internet users use status updates (via Mashable). If you want to dig deeper into this news from the world of Social Search, check out the analysis from Charline Li and Jeremiah Owyang.

Coca-Cola has opened up voting for a team of three people to visit the 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold in 365 days as the next stage in its Expedition206 campaign. The winning team goes on a global quest to find out what makes people happy and share their discoveries through the official campaign site and across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr. (via Brand Republic)

Yesterday, SMG was proud to sponsor the afterparty at meshmarketing. It was an incredible lineup of speakers, workshops and heavy-hitters from the social media scene. I’ll migrate the #followfriday meme to the SMG blog and suggest you look up some of the wonderful speakers who had great insights – @kdpaine, @esotto, @danmartell and @jquipp.

Given my Internet services background and how much we rely on Yammer for team communication here at SMG, I was interested when Yammer experienced an extended outage earlier this week. For a time, Yammer was reduced to Twitter to communicate with its customers. Given how critical Yammer has become for business, it seems like a great opportunity for Yammer to take a look at thier systems for customer communication and ensure they’ve got redundancies in place in the event of an outage. Read about it on the Yammer Blog and at The Washington Post.

Finally, we are pleased as punch that our client Ford Motor Company has won the Society for New Communications Research 2009 Fellows’ Choice Award for Brand of the Year. From the SNCR release “Brand of the Year: Ford for its innovative use of social media to improve the way the company communicates with its stakeholders”. For more on this great news, please see the Digital Snippet on Ford’s SMPR site.

How to Engage Without Stalking and Converse Without Creepiness

Responsive or Creepy?

Thunder rumbles in the distance.  The candle light flickers.  Gather closer children, gather close.  The midnight hour draws close and it is time for a tale that will send shivers down your spine and creep you out like no other.  A tale of a creature that lurks, listening to your every word.  In the shadows it waits, biding its time.  It may pass you by once, twice even, but if you make the fatal mistake of tweeting its name thrice, then it strikes.  The brand manager.

(cue dramatic flash of lightning)

There was a time when our idle conversations were just that.  They were transitory in nature.  If you were not physically there to hear the conversation then it was gone; residing in the memories of the participants or faded into the aether.

Technology has allowed these conversations to be preserved beyond their initial position in time and space, and what’s more to allow others to join in and participate.

The idle conversation that would have occurred over the back fence now extends around the globe and can draw participants days, weeks and months after the initial statements.

Search and aggregation provide the means of sifting through all the miscellaneous missives and finding just those that matter.

With the growing adoption of these tools and a trend towards public disclosure, the idle conversation becomes a treasure trove for companies and brands willing to listen.  How are people using your product?  What do they think about it?  What do they think about the brand?  It’s all out there amongst a sea of tweets, blog posts, forum discussions and blog posts.  Every idle mention of your brand is there to be discovered, examined and evaluated.

But it’s not a one-way flow of information.  Anyone can join into these conversations.  Including you.

Someone is blogging about problems with your product.  You can be there.  Someone is podcasting about how much they love your service.  You can be there.  Someone is tweeting that they don’t know whether to buy Brand X or Brand Y.  You can be there.  What an amazing power for the brand manager: the ability to suddenly materialize out of thin air and proclaim the wonders and benefits of your brand.

But hold on there.  Not so fast.  Before you go beaming down into that dinner party to offer folks a chance to squeeze the Charmin or hop into that backyard bbq to proclaim the health implications of smoking or drop into the coffee shop just to tell folks you’re brilliant, you need to know that with your new found powers come great responsibility.  You have the power to enhance your brand like never before, but you also have the ability to really creep people out and forever turn them off.

Go away!  Stop following me!     'But I'm just trying to help'  Go AWAY!!!

Here’s how to avoid turning you and your brand into the next creep:

Wait for an invitation (or a gesture that is invitation-like).
When a person makes a positive gesture of affinity, such as friending, following, tracking back or outright asking “is (your brand) on (social media platform of choice)?”, then they are clearly issuing an invitation. Step up and joint them in conversation.

Questions can be an invitation to engage, statements are not.
If someone is asking ‘how much sugar is in a Jookie Soda‘, then it’s fair game for the Jookie brand manager, or member of the Jookie team, to pop in and provide an answer.  Not so much an invitation to follow, friend, poke, nudge, share blood type or bank card PIN numbers.  They had a question.  You had an answer.  The social transaction is done.  Stop lurking and move on until they tell you otherwise.

If someone just remarks on your brand, ‘Hot today, think I might grab a Jookie Soda‘, then popping out of nowhere will not only come across as creepy, but needy and just a tad desperate.

It’s okay to correct statements about your brand – but only when they’re really off.
If someone states a clearly incorrect fact about your brand, you should step forward to correct and then engage as long as necessary.  Focus on the most egregious errors.  Be able to provide links – preferably to third party data and not your sales brochure – that help back up the truth.  This is about setting the record straight so that misinformation doesn’t fester.  Don’t try and correct someone on a fact if you don’t actually know the real answer and don’t even think of correcting someone if they are actually right.

It’s not okay to challenge the opinion of random strangers.  Go pick a fight on your own time.
Your job is to manage your brand, not other people’s minds.  If they are not already amongst your network, they haven’t asked a question and they simply have an opinion about your brand, then it’s not your place to argue them into submission or cajole them into changing their minds.  There is nothing to be gained and there is a great deal to lose. You weren’t invited to that conversation.  Just accept that there are going to be people on the Internet who are ‘wrong‘.  Let it go.

Opinions favourable to the brand may be interpreted as an invitation to connect, but even then, tread lightly.

What happened five minutes before they said your name matters.
Before jumping in to engage, take a few minutes to learn the history. Have you talked to them before?  Have they talked about your brand before?  What was said?  At the very least, take a minute to scan their last few posts, tweets or updates.  You don’t want to be leaping in to engage if you don’t fully understand the context.  There are all kinds of levels of inappropriateness that can arise from that sort of behaviour.  Unlike the dinner party where you have no idea what was said before your arrival, the online conversation gives you a chance to rewind and learn all the relevant details before you open your mouth.

Just because they’re your friend here, doesn’t mean they’re your friend there.
People use different networks for very different reasons.  Unless there is an explicit invitation offered to join their other networks, don’t take an engagement on one platform to be an invitation to engage on others.  A question asked on twitter shouldn’t be answered on Facebook.  A private message shouldn’t be responded to publicly.  If you feel it necessary to respond on a different platform, ask permission to do so.  Otherwise, respect people’s spaces and engage with them on their terms, not yours.

It's gonna get Mesh-y!

This Thursday, the creators of popular Toronto conference Mesh, open the doors of Circa to throw the first (of many, we hope) meshmarketing Conference. meshmarketing comes at a time where there is a huge demand for more, as the Mesh guys say, “hands-on insight” in an industry that is constantly morphing.

Having been to past Mesh events, I’m looking forward to the calibre of speakers, diversity of discussions and valuable networking opportunities that the Mesh folks are so keen to supply. While the keynote and panels are stocked with talent, I’m personally most interested to attend the afternoon workshops (specifically the Facebook-focused one). My hope is that the workshops give delegates a chance to get into the really geeky stuff that we are so fond of.

And après all that geekery, it’s important to note that SMG will be sponsoring the after party–conveniently located at Circa as well!

If you haven’t already got your ticket, there are still some available here: Mesh Marketing Tickets. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, check out the 5 reasons to attend Mesh Marketing.

Social Media Roundup for October 16, 2009

Well, they say good ideas never die, they just become retro.  And in that spirit, we’re resurrecting the Social Media Roundup.  We haven’t done one of these since well before I was hired here at SMG, but how hard could it be?

*cue ominous music and thunderclap*

Right. So here’s the goods; all the stuff that we found interesting in the last week or so.

Social Media Intelligence, Socialized
Social Signal celebrated its fourth anniversary in the social media consulting space by committing to open-sourcing all of the intellectual material they’ve built up since their founding.  Their goal? ‘To build a field, and not just a business.’  A formidable task, but certainly a money-where-your-mouth-is move.  Kudos!

The Beginning of the End for the Digital Divide?
Finland has become the first country to establish broadband internet as a legal right for all citizens, with a goal of 150Mbit access by 2015.  Please direct future correspondence with Social Media Group to our Helsinki office.

The Most Talked About Brands
With an eye to a different take on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands, Sysomos ranked the Top 100 by Social Media mentions over the past month, putting Google, Apple, and Microsoft in the top 3.  While this raw data is interesting, I can’t help but side with commenters who mused about a ranking based on interactivity and participation, rather than the passive ‘mentions’ provided.

Pepsi was the latest victim of #[insertbrand]fail over the weekend, over their Amp app for the iPhone, Before you Score. The app was lambasted for its poor portrayal of women, and its encouragement to share your ‘scores’ online. Pepsi was quick with the mea culpa, and even appended the #pepsifail hashtag to their apology post, ensuring widespread eyeballs.

Why the Twitter Firehose May Not Be Worth It
After news that both Google and Microsoft may be vying for access to Twitter’s firehose, unfiltered, Marshall Kirkpatrick over at RRW broke down the reasons the real-time engine may not be worth the big bucks.

How to Comply With the FTC in 140 Characters or Less
With the release of the FTC’s updated advertising disclosure guides last week, discussion ranged from ‘the sky is falling’ to ‘it’s about time’ to ‘weren’t we doing that anyway?’  Shel Holtz, meanwhile put his backing behind a standard for disclosure on twitter, where 140 characters may be a bit slim to get all your conflicts out in one post, and still get a message across.

Digital Activism: SMG on The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Tonight our very own Leona Hobbs will be on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on TVO, Channel 2, at 8pm EST. The topic? Digital Activism. Leona will be part of a panel discussing the limits of digital activism with three other experts; Andrew Rasiej, founder of Personal Democracy Forum, Evgeny Morozov, contributing editor to Foreign Policy and operator of Net Effect blog and Megan Boler, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Theory and Policy Studies, at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the UofT.

The Agenda with Steve Paikin is current affairs program that engages with its audience. You can submit show ideas online, contribute to live discussions from home or comment on one of their regularly updated blogs or Facebook group. The program is available on demand for audio or video download in the podcast section of the TVO website. So, if you’re outside the broadcast area and can’t tune in live to see Leona in the hot seat, feel free to check the episode archive.

Being a Sponsor Comes with Perks for Your Pals; The Defrag 2009 SMG Discount Code

Snow Caps Near Denver via btsiders

Registration is still open for Defrag 2009 held in Denver, Colorado and we’re proud to say we’re a sponsor. Here’s the big news; SMG blog readers get to use a fancy discount code! Oh the perks of RSS. If you’re already sold, click here to register and enter this code: smg1 for your cool $200 savings- that’s $200 extra spending money for those keeping count. Don’t forget to book your hotel room at the same time! If you need a little convincing read on.

Formatted similarly to TED talks, Defrag ditches the case studies and goes straight for the big ideas. You know, the ones that spark conversation, make your brain ache and leave you with your mouth open saying ‘aha’? Defrag will be set on fire by an impressive list of speakers like Stowe Boyd, JP Rangaswami, Chris Sacca, Doc SearlsJohn Winsor, Lili Cheng, Andy Kessler and of course you’ll have time to dig deep afterwards with people just like you. What do physics and math have to do with social media? Don’t worry, you don’t have to bring your calculators or be a math whiz to find out.  And anyway, when’s the last time you saw a mountain?

Defrag runs from November 11-12 and even though you’re not an early bird you can still jump on the band wagon and get a deal. How do you like that?! Register and enter smg1 as your discount code. Hope to see you there! You’ll thank us!

The Digital Natives are Getting Restless

I wrote this more than a year ago but refrained from publishing it because the person behind the post just wasn’t comfortable with it at the time. I would like to have been able to dismiss this as being outdated today but unfortunately it’s as relevant now as it was then.

I had lunch with an old friend and colleague yesterday; I’ll call him Fred. Fred is a digital native (I love that term). He is also one of the smartest people I know. Fred is about to start his third job in four months not because he wants to but because he just doesn’t seem to fit in. The problem with Fred is that he makes most digital immigrants (like me) feel very uncomfortable with his ideas and with the way he expresses them. So we choose to marginalize him because he won’t understand and/or respect the prevailing protocol. However, sometime in the next ten years most companies will be run by digital natives like Fred and will be forced to deal with his “outrageous” ideas. Talking to Fred over lunch simply confirmed for me that Enterprise 2.0 is not a question of “IF” but “WHEN”.

Yes, the move to E2.0 is going to be disruptive. Yes, it’s going to make a lot of people feel uncomfortable. But since it’s inevitable, taking steps to understand and embrace it now may just give you an edge over those who are reluctant to venture out of their comfort zone. So if you’re seriously thinking of making changes to your Organizational DNA, why don’t you find the Fred in your organization (every company has at least one) and ask him what he thinks. You probably won’t like his answer but you should, at the very least, take the time to listen. Oh, and Fred, when the immigrants do come calling, please don’t automatically assume that you’re smarter than them. You’re not; you’re just trying to find a common language.

Since I always seem to find parallels with jazz, let me end with this (longish) quote from Pat Metheney’s keynote address at the 2001 IAJE convention;

… I understand, and I agree completely that the teaching of the fundamentals of the music is central and essential.

But, just as one example, let’s say one day next semester you might look up, and there may be a kid that is hanging off to the side who would love to participate somehow. And say in this case he may even have a beat-box or a microphone or a turntable or a computer, or who knows what else under his arm. And he is curious. Maybe … go ahead and invite him in. Jam with him. Have one of the kids write or make up some kind of a piece to do with him. To some, this may seem like the worst kind of anti-jazz, even, god forbid, “fusion”!! Or they might see it as an encounter that, while maybe being fun, could never result in “REAL” jazz at all.

But to me, it would be EXACTLY that kind of gesture — a gesture of inclusion and curiosity and communication and HOPE — that IS the spiritual engine of jazz. It is THAT spirit that has kept jazz’s momentum going forward so successfully for all these years, in spite of whatever cultural blockades have been erected along the way.”

Crisis Communications 2.0 – Worth the Gamble?

Las Vegas Strip via http2007
photo by http2007

Next weekend, Maggie heads for Sin City and there’s no way what happens in Vegas is going to stay there. It’s the 2009 BlogWorld & New Media Expo! You can bet the conference, trade show and media event will be tweeted, re-tweeted, YouTube’d and Digg’d the whole world over.

Maggie is giving a talk on Crisis Communication in the Era of Social Media with Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology and Dallas Lawrence, VP Digital Media, Levick Strategic Communications. While you might be able to bluff in Vegas, there’s no such thing when a crisis strikes your company. News in the digital age moves at lightening speed and five minutes ago is yesterday. No doubt these heavyweights will be able to field some pretty tough questions.

The conference runs from October 15 to 17 at Las Vegas Convention Center and if you want to meet Maggie in the city of bright lights, you can still register. If you won’t be able to make it to Vegas, we’ll post a recap here, so please check back.