All posts in “Twitter”

Watching with Friends: The Rise of Social TV

As I work on this blog post, I’ve got a clear view of two screens – my laptop and the TV. This is a common occurrence at my house, and many others across North America. A majority of Americans are now commonly using TV and the Internet at the same time – Nielsen has reported that number as high as 60%, and there are plenty of reasons why. Some people are multitasking, scrolling through their reader or catching up on work while they watch. Some are complementing what they’re seeing on the TV with what they’re doing online—looking up that Law & Order: SVU guest star on IMDb or checking their fantasy football scores while they watch the game. But a significant number are incorporating social media into their TV use (myself included), and our numbers are growing.

The impact of social media on TV is significant. In an interview last year, media scholar Henry Jenkins theorized that social media is making people return to watching television in real time, a practice that’s been on the downward trend, thanks to the popularity of time-shifting technologies. Not only does real-time watching help viewers to avoid spoilers, it also allows them to talk about the shows their watching with others who are having the same experience. There’s a window of time after an episode airs when it’s still considered relevant and appropriate conversation for most people. This is especially true for what’s often called “event TV”—the Oscars, the Super Bowl, political debates or speeches—which lend themselves to in-the-moment chatting. Social TV means you’re watching with other people—even if those people are spread out all over your time zone or the world. For many people, talking about TV is one of the most enjoyable parts of watching it, and social media is making this easier than ever.

Popular Tools for Social TV Viewing

When it comes to talking about TV, a number of tools have emerged, looking to capitalize on the trend and provide social networks dedicated to TV or general media consumption.

GetGlue

GetGlue, launched in 2008, is the leader in the field. It allows users to check-in to the media they’re consuming, awarding them with virtual stickers. Once users have collected enough virtual stickers for the TV, music and movies they’re watching, they can have physical stickers mailed to them. GetGlue has also partnered with both Foursquare, for location-based check-ins, and DIRECTV, to allow users to check-in from their TV sets.

Miso

Miso hasn’t been around as long as GetGlue, having only launched in 2010, but does present some solid competition. Like GetGlue, it’s integrated with DirectTV, but unlike GetGlue, it focuses solely on TV. Also unlike GetGlue, they’re looking past check-ins to content, recognizing that gamification is only one reason for users to use social TV tools. With an eye on content as a long-term strategy, Miso may be poised to grow.

Tunerfish

Tunerfish comes from Comcast, and bills itself as a “social discovery engine.” Despite providing a host of social gesture options and a promised robust recommendations tool, Tunerfish is lagging when compared with GetGlue and Miso. With relatively few users, the social network is suffering. After all, if your contacts aren’t there, what’s the point?

Twitter

And let’s not forget Twitter. Plenty of viewers are turning to their existing networks for TV talk, and Twitter is my tool of choice. I can follow my favorite shows, their creators, and their stars, see what my existing network is saying or follow hashtags devoted to particular shows to get a broader view of what Twitter users are saying. This is working for me so far, but I wonder if I’m missing something by not using a tool like the ones described above.

 

Do you incorporate social media into your TV viewing? If I’m only using Twitter and not one of these other platforms, am I missing out?

 

Instagram – a movement in the making.

Part instant picture, part telegram, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks today. In as little as nine months, over seven million users have downloaded the iOS-only app and contributed over 150 million pictures. What began as a way to share mobile photos in real time has transformed into a content curator of live world events and has spawned several clever offshoots to boot.

So what makes Instagram so unique? It’s a global movement. The top 10 downloads come from four continents: Asia, North America, Australia and Europe, which makes it one of the only social networks to crossover continents. Not bad for a four person operation from San Francisco, right? Following users from around the world is one of the my favourite features because at any given moment I can see pictures from Spain, Japan and Brazil without even knowing the users, just by following their feed. It’s a very intimate thing to share moments of your day through photos. It’s also very comforting and somewhat rewarding when I start to receive comments and likes on my photos from users who are thousands of miles away. My follower list continues to grow, as do the likes and comments on my photos. For me, it’s the most innovative social network I am a part of.

Instagram is one of the world’s biggest content curators. What took Flickr almost two years to accomplish, Instagram completed in less than half the time. Over eight short months Instagram produced 100 million photos, that’s 15 uploads per second. And we’re only talking Apple users here, pretty incredible. Social sharing is fully integrated so I can post my latest shots on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and even my Tumblr account which has transformed into a photo blog thanks to all of this. Following real live events has also been a great feature of Instagram. From the Royal Wedding to natural disasters, there are even countless feeds dedicated to the global Occupy movement. Instagram makes it easy to keep up to date in real time to what is going on in other cities and countries.

So now you have all this great content, what do you do with it? This is where the really cool stuff begins. Countless awesome offshoots have sprouted up in the past few months to leverage and amplify Instagram content. A few of my favourites are:

Statigrams – allows you to instantly turn your Instagram stats into cool, sharable infographics.

StickyGram – allows you to turn your Instagram images into lovely little magnets that are delivered to your door. You can also enter your images to weekly contests to win free magnets.

CanvasPop – recently integrated Instagram images to create stunning wall art printed on canvas.

I thought I would share my own Instagram content experience, (yet to be publically marketed, I might add). I recently decided to get new contact cards from moo.com and used 45 of my favourite Instagram photos as the backside to my cards (which I appropriately took a photo of and published to Instagram). They look fantastic and are great conversation starters.

With the recent launch of the Flickr integrated app on Android and no word on a Blackberry app, it looks like Instagram is going to dominate the Apple-only space for a while. I eagerly await the other amazing features, apps and off shoots Instagram has in store over the coming months and, I might add, am completely addicted to this app.

 

 

Community Manager? What's that?

 

community management

Community management is a hot topic in social. In fact, there are 48,258 people who list Community Manager as a title or Community Management as a keyword on LinkedIn.

So it’s a hot space – I know this because I work with clients everyday supporting community management. I’ve got a bird’s eye view, so here goes my rant about what is a community manager.

Community managers have been around for years. Really, people have been managing digital communities in some form or another since the dawn of message boards and chat rooms. Not until the mass adoption of Facebook, Twitter and the like has it become a defined profession – and rightly so.

An active social media program in an organization disrupts traditional departments and silos. No one feels this more acutely than the community manager. Everybody (and their dog) has their own definition of what a community manager does because there are a number of demands and responsibilities that fall within the community management title.

According to the Community Management Round Table (in their State of Community Management 2011 report), the top attributes of a Community Manager are “The desire to be helpful, someone who is concise and credible, a sense of humor, curiosity, fearlessness, influential, persuasive, diplomatic, patient and mature. The expertise required for the role of community manager is strategic business acumen combined with exceptional communication and people skills.”

What do I think?  A community manager is a passionate strategic thinker who is a content creator and a moderator, a listener and informer. Essentially, it is someone who encourages conversation and engagement around a product, brand, issue or cause. I asked my Twitter and Facebook networks to tell me their definition of a community manager. As expected, quite varied:

  • @jeremywaite: A community manager should be in-house. No one else will be as passionate about your brand
  • @Sparkle_Media: in-house community management is a goal: a person/role to add to client team; interim & freelance CM’s can add bandwidth
  • @nav_een: CM should be patient, thick-skinned, creative, wordsmith. I agree with @sparkle_agency that CM should be in-house.
  • @heyneil: The catalyst for conversation in brand social spaces, the moderator of objectionable content and the person who escalates questions or issues to appropriate people within the organization. Also, the person who filters the brand team’s request for activity in the social spaces using best practices.

There’s so much juicy stuff in those comments from folks in my network. What’s your take? Is Community Manager a profession that’s here to stay or just a trendy job title for something else? When should (could) Community Management be outsourced?

Social Media Roundup for November 4, 2011

Gmail’s New Look

Google seems to be ever-changing and upgrading these days. This week they released the new Gmail and Google Reader layout. The new layout is supposed to be about making your view more streamlined and efficient, although some users have a different take on this. Eventually, most of us will get used to the new layout, but lost functionality is a different story. Negative posts and reactions have been voiced, mostly pertaining to the changes to Google Reader, where you can no longer one-click share to social sites unless it’s to Google+. Check out the tweets that turn up when you search for @googlereader in Twitter:

Not only are people angry about this change for future sharing, they were also given no warning and so people that have used Reader to push content to their sites or blogs have lost that content. A little heads up would have been nice! The root issue behind this change is that it is disrupting the communities that we have formed and people can no longer communicate and share with their community, at least not through your Google Reader. And having to +1 something before it can be shared can even make people not want to share at all. How do you feel about having to share publicly first if you want to share with your network? A former Google employee even offered his services to come back on a contract to fix the Google Reader.

Google’s New Search Algorithm

Another update from Google this week is talk about their new infrastructure, Caffeine, which makes crawled content available in our search results more quickly because as soon as a page is crawled, it’s made available in our searches. Now it is reported that not only will results be “fresher,” it will also change 35% of your search results. This will impact your searches related to recent events or trending topics because Caffeine will be able to crawl those news stories or posts that people wrote maybe only minutes ago while they are at an event like Occupy Toronto. This seems a bit like Twitter where your searches will always be updating. If you search something in the morning, your results could very well be different by lunch.

Because I use Google often for research, I’m excited about this change. For example, if I want to know the best practices for measuring social media engagement, I can type this in and Google will now pull up the most recent reports and studies on this topic. If I did the same research a year from now, I would not want to see those same reports, because they are now outdated.

Another type of search this “freshness” factor is great for is when you are searching an event that is regularly occurring. Now, Google will know that when you type in “Who went home on America’s Next Top Model last night,” you will see highlights from this week’s episode and not say from Cycle 7, several years ago. Now you can make your searches with less thought, you don’t have to think about dates and specific keywords because it’s like Google is in your head, it knows what you want to see and read about.

This seems great – who doesn’t want the most recent news? But there is a potential downside, too. Although a story may be the most recently posted, this doesn’t always mean it is the most up-to-date. Think about people reading stories and then sharing them on their own blog. Their blog post may occur a few days after the original story, making it more “fresh,” but there is no promise that there haven’t been more updates to the story since the original story. So we must be careful.

Social Timing Insights Infographic

Speaking of “freshness” and timing, check out this Infographic for insights in social timing.

When your brand is posting on Facebook and Twitter, are you thinking about what your customers are doing at that moment? You wouldn’t want to post when most of your audience is busy and your update just gets pushed down their News Feed, so they may not see it. This Infographic gives us insight into when customers are most receptive so that you can reach the most customers and achieve maximum engagement.

Social Media Roundup for Oct 28, 2011

#occupywallstreet: where it all started

Last week SMG provided  National Post with insights behind the Occupy Wall Street movement using English language Twitter data. We know that the whole thing started with a single tweet from Adbusters (Vancouver-based, not-for-profit magazine) on July 4th.

I don’t know that anyone could have predicted that a simple Twitter hashtag #occupywallstreet could spread across Twitter and ignite a global movement.  This week Mashable did a Q&A session with the Co-Founder of Adbusters, Kalle Lasn –  providing  insights from the architect behind this huge trending topic. Like the rest of us, when Lasn first created the hashtag, he didn’t expect that it would cause this much attention, at least not globally. Below are some of the quotes from Lasn:

“I think that social media played a critical part, but I think it was triggered, it was catalyzed, sparked by creativity, but also people coming up with magical hashtags and posters and above all, having the geopolitical savvy to realize that the moment was right on September 17.”

“It started off with a poster in the middle of Adbusters magazine and #occupywallstreet with the hashtag on our cover and then it started off when the Twitter feed started going crazy with that hashtag. Then of course after that it began to have a life of its own.”

“I wasn’t surprised that it created a big havoc in New York because we knew this [was an] invitation to occupy the iconic center of global capitalism, Wall Street. I knew that was a very provocative move and if we could get a few thousand people out there that this would be an incredible moment. But when it started to spread to Chicago and Los Angeles and San Francisco and now it’s creeping across the border to Canada, then I just sat there in front of my TV set in wonder.”

Steve Jobs Biography finally hits the shelf

Everything about Steve Jobs hits the front page, even after his death. Steve Jobs’s biography by Walter Isaacson finally hit the shelves (physically and virtually) on Monday, Octobar 24th. Like most of his products, the book immediately climbed to the top of the charts and is believed to be this year’s top seller. Some highlights from the book that got a lot of buzz this week include: Jobs’s take on Android as a “stolen product”, and Apple’s secret development of a TV-Set with the “the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

On our reading list, this book is not only about Steve Jobs as a individual, but also the history and future about Silicon Valley and personal computing.

Topguest’s upcoming white label service

Topguest is a loyalty program which rewards users for engaging with brands on social networks.  Customers collect airline, hotel and other travel reward points for their social networking activities. The company just revealed that it has five million Facebook users in its database.  The company has announced this week that they will release a new white-label service this fall which will allow brands to to integrate with their services and to offer rewards to engaged customers.

In a study released by Bain & Company this week, we again see the direct correlation between consumers engaged with brands via social networks and sales:

People who engage with brands via social media demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to those brands, and they spend between 20% and 40% more than other customers on the products and services offered by the brands, according to a report by Bain & Company.

Using the Net Promoter Score* (NPS) method to measure customer loyalty, the study found that  on average, customers who engage with companies via social media (e.g., following a brand on Twitter, liking a brand on Facebook, or joining a branded community) spend more buying products and services than other customers.

 

Facebook’s new way to recover a lost password

I keep a spare key at a close friend’s place in case I get locked out of my home. Have you ever imagined that we could (or should) do the same in digital world? I wouldn’t think it was necessary to do so before Facebook became pervasive. But for the past six years, Facebook has been brought our real life and digital life together, now it is going to move a little step further.

Facebook is testing a new method for users to recover their password. Instead of going through the ‘forget your password’ process, you retrieve a code from your Trusted Friends (Users first have to designate three to five friends they trust) to access their Facebook account.

 

Social Media Roundup for October 14th

Apple’s Releases

With the release of iOS 5 to the public on Wednesday and the iPhone 4S hitting stores today, there has definitely been some Apple buzz and excitement around the office. It’s been reported that pre-orders for the iPhone 4S have broken the company’s records from previous years, which I find quite interesting after all of the complaints and disappointment expressed last week when the iPhone 4S was unveiled instead of the iPhone 5. Check out this Funny or Die video taking a crack at all the disappointment.

But despite the lack of an iPhone 5, it seems people just cannot help themselves but to upgrade! I have to say, Siri sounds pretty cool and could definitely provide some amusement. Even just going through this blog is a good time-waster. What would you ask your iPhone?

And the phone can’t be too much of a let down if the Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak was first in line at the Apple Store in Los Gatos, California! He tweeted, “The long wait begins. I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he’s pissed.” He’s obviously a long-time Apple fan and I think its great that he wants to join in and stand in line with the rest of the fans!

RIM’s Outages

While things are all happy over at Apple, RIM has taken a hit this week due to their service disruptions and outages worldwide. Many Blackberry users took to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to complain and there was even talk about finally being fed up and switching to the iPhone or Android. (Maybe this contributed to Apple’s highest pre-orders record?) Both Maggie Fox and Leona Hobbs were quoted in the press this week, in The Star and Financial Post respectively, commenting about how RIM’s CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie handled the public relations fallout. See what Maggie had to say here and what Leona had to say here.

Wall Street Protests

Also in the news this week has been the Occupy Wall Street protests and the use of social media in its organization. There are many angry people and there are no signs of their confrontation going away, not when almost all of the protesters have a smartphone and are active on social media networks to regularly spread the word as far as they can. More people are engaging in social networks to get people to come out and join them. Some commented that they heard about it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter and that the turnout was so strong due to social media. We can really see the significance of social media and why engaging in it is so important to stay in the know and up-to-date. It really is the strongest tool today to bring people together and connect with others that are feeling the same way as yourself.

 

Social Media Roundup for October 7th, 2011

The Shift of Marketing

Marketing channels are shifting as more and more people are starting to realize where they can achieve the strongest effect on their target audience. Recent research conducted by Jonas Colliander and Micael Dahlen from the Stockholm School of Economics compared the publicity effectiveness of social media (blogs) vs. traditional media (online magazines). It was found that blogs can result in a special type of relationship between the blogger and the reader, called a parasocial relationship. This is the illusion of a face-to-face relationship, where readers have a feeling of closeness towards the blogger as if they were friends. On the other hand, magazine writers are seen to just be completing a job and so they are not as trusted.  It is clearly important for marketers to find bloggers that are honest about disclosure and genuine in what they write about brands and products because this is what will build that parasocial relationship and level of trust, making it more likely for readers to then build their own relationships with the brands the blogger has endorsed.

We know that agencies need to put time and effort into researching each blogger and what they are all about before pitching them to promote a product.  Build a relationship with them: get to know them, actually read their blog posts, follow them on Twitter and Facebook, send them an email to introduce yourselves and ask questions. If not, things could take a bad turn for your company and your client. Learn from “The Bloggess” about what not to do when pitching a blogger here or you could be very sorry, about 3 million people sorry. Caution: some of the language may not be SFW!

To further show the shift from traditional marketing channels to social media, check out this Infographic on the ROI of Social Media: Is social media marketing effective? Looks like companies are catching onto this shift in marketing channels, as we can see that 75% of companies plan to increase their use of blog marketing in the coming year!

Taking a closer look at the infographic, we can also see that the majority of marketers are integrating social media into their marketing plans. And not only does social media result in significant drops in marketing costs over the long term but 72% of the marketers researched said social media helped in closing business!

 

The Great Steve Jobs

This was a very sad week for Apple and everyone really, as we have lost the great innovator, Steve Jobs. My Twitter timeline was filled with tweets about Jobs, everyone tweeted, replied and retweeted until Twitter froze because it could not handle all of the updates! His products have changed our lives and I think he deserves some thanks for the growing numbers in the above Infographic of the ROI of social media because Apple products played a big role in the rise of social media. What are you using right now to read this? Your iPhone, iPad, Macbook? Of course he is not the only maker of this technology but without these devices, I don’t think I would spend as much time on social networks as I do. They definitely make checking your favorite blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts a lot more convenient! And when you like your device you want to spend more time on it.

Take a look at this incredible tribute to Jobs that Twitter employee Miguel Rios put together using all of our tweets expressing love, support and condolences.

Not only did he personally read the 1,000+ tweets in the image, he took the time to order them starting with the most retweeted ones at the top. View the original image on Flickr and  you can actually read the tweets yourself. It is quite amazing.

Facebook Rules, Rolls Changes: Social Media Round Up for September 16, 2011

This past week in the world of social media was all about Facebook

Facebook rules. Stats released this week show it continues to be the dominate social network. According to the latest Nielson Social Media Report (Q3, 20011) released this week, U.S netizens have spent over FIVE MILLION minutes (equivalent to approximately 102 years) on Facebook up until May, 2011. Time spent on Facebook is far more (100 times) than the time spent on Twitter, or any other websites.

This week, Facebook introduced several significant updates on their social network services in order to keep its crown as the top social social network in the world. From the Facebook blog:

#1 Improved  Friend Lists

Smart Lists are a new improvement to the existing friends list feature on Facebook. It helps to easily group friends into different lists, and receive updates from or share to different lists of friends. The best part is, Facebook even does the grouping for you!

  • You will see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you – like your school, work, family and city.

Facebook will also allow you to create your own Close Friends and Acquaintances lists, which allows you to see more updates from your best friends, and see less from the not-so-close ones.

The platform now makes Better Friend Suggestions for you to add friends into your  friend lists.

#2 Subscribe button

If the new friend lists are Facebook’s answer to the Circles from Google+, then the brand new Subscribe Button would be their move against Twitter. The Subscribe Button allows users to do three things:

  • To choose what type of content you want to see from your friends news feeds
  • To see certain types of updates from people whom you are not friends with
  • To share content with people whom you not friends with

Generally speaking, the Subscribe Button is very close to the functionality of  the “Follow” Button on Twitter.

#3 “View Share” button

The View Share option hasn’t been officially announced by Facebook yet, however, we heard that Facebook is currently conducting closed testing of this feature. The View Share option will appear on the comment box which allows user to see how people shared your content.

It is not hard to recognize that Facebook forward looking and gearing itself  up for the long haul . What do you think, should we now call it Facebook+?

A quick look at Social Media in China

Working at SMG has given me the opportunity to learn from some of the best people in the western social media industry. Luckily, my Chinese background also allows me to experience and observe the difference between western social networks and their Chinese counterparts. And now,  I feel like it is time to share my unique experience.

I put together a simple deck hoping to give you a quick overview of the Chinese social media landscape, as well as the two biggest social platforms in ChinaRenren.com (the Facebook of China) and Sina Weibo (a microblog).

Some highlights:

  • China is the biggest Internet nation in the world with nearly 5-billion netizens.
  • Social media is now the fastest growing and hottest topic in China’s IT and business worlds. As some of the major western social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are blocked behind the Great Firewall of China, local IT giants battle for the ever expanding social space in China.
  • As China rapidly becomes the most important global market, more and more foreign businesses are starting to explore marketing opportunities online.
  • Chinese social networks provide many innovative features for marketers and advertisers. For example, Sina Weibo, the biggest microblog in China, offers corporate account to companies with more customizable features on their profile page and advertising opportunities. The NBA has an official Sina Weibo account with over 5-million followers (about 3-million more than its followers on Twitter);  A-list celebrity  Tom Cruise‘s Weibo account has almost 3-million followers; Even Bill Gates is on it!

Please view the complete PPT deck for more interesting insights, I hope it will give you some inspiration 🙂

Social Media Roundup for August 26th, 2011

August is certainly not a quiet month in the tech and social media worlds. This week was a busy one. On the 24th, Steve Jobs, again, successfully announced his latest “mind-blowing” product called “iQuit”… but I think everyone has already seen this news in their feeds and across the front pages, so we won’t spend too much time on that subject!

On the social network front, Facebook and Twitter both made announcements this week.

Lets take a look at Facebook first:

Facebook has made some significant changes to its privacy settings. Users now can now share to specific people or groups, essentially increasing user control over who see what.

Privacy

They also updated their location services. In addition to the existing Places check-ins, users can now add location information to wall posts and photos.

Facebook Location

From allfacebook.com

Here’s a list of the major improvements.

  • The privacy settings are moving toward individual post windows and profiles.
  • Users are gaining the ability to approve tags of themselves in others’ posts and photos.
  • All tags will include an attribution of the person who did the tagging.
  • Places no longer require physical check-ins, so people can add locations to posts, even from the desktop.
  • You don’t need to be friends with someone to tag them in a post or photo.
  • You don’t have to like a brand to tag it in a post or photo.
  • Facebook has changed the word “everyone” to “public” in privacy settings, for clarity.
  • You can customize privacy, or visibility of information, on a post-by-post basis.
  • Users can edit the visibility of individual bits of content anytime after they post.
  • The changes don’t affect mobile users, at least not for now.

Speaking of Twitter:

Twitter has begun its new photo sharing feature to its users. The new photo service allows users to attach photos with their tweets, which could pretty much replace the similar functions provided by 3rd party vendors such as TwitPic over the past years. It means that users can now generate richer content on Twitter than merely text. But on the other hand, the new function makes Twitter feeds resemble a Facebook wall post, which has always allowed users to share many types of media content.

Twitter photo

Are we forgetting about Google+?

Last week at a Social Media Today Webinar, Our CEO Maggie Fox presented some of the latest stats of Google+ as it approaches its two-month birthday. Instead of going into detail on people’s reaction to functionally, I think it is better to let the numbers do the talking.

From singlegrain.com

  • 74% of Google+ users are male

Top 10 Occupations of Google+ users

  1. 10.05% Software Engineer
  2. 10.77% Designer
  3. 13.57% Developer
  4. 24.56% Engineer
  5. 4.88% Writer
  6. 4.23% Web Developer
  7. 3.67% Software Developer
  8. 3.05% Programmer
  9. 3.05% Photographer
  10. 2.79% Artist

Google+ has gained over 25 million registered users in about two months. But the question is, how many active users are there?  Or let me ask you this, when was the last time you checked your Google+ account and saw new feeds from anyone of your circles?

It is not hard to recognize that some of the latest changes Facebook and Twitter made align to the aesthetics of Google+.  So do people really need Google+ if other platforms are offering the exact same services? I think we are all still looking forward to see what Google will do next in the social space battle.