Archive for “December, 2006”

I'm just going to start calling this the Monday Social Media Roundup

Mostly because when Tobermory calls on a Thursday afternoon? I tend to answer.

Here’s all the news that’s fit to blog from last week and beyond…

1. Continuing to follow the upheaval over at Yahoo!, the day after our last roundup an official reorg was announced. Then, late last week, rumours of the on-again, off-again courtship between Yahoo! and Facebook popped to the surface. Could an acquisition be in the works?

2. Google Audio ad service was launched in beta, facilitated by their acquisition earlier this year of dMarc, a company that

Connects advertisers and agencies directly to radio stations with a robust advertising platform that automates everything from sales to scheduling, delivery and reports. This enables advertisers to, among others things, purchase and track their campaigns effectively — and significantly reduce the costs associated with processing broadcast ads.

This is incredibly significant on many fronts (don’t be fooled by the whole “Google’s getting into radio advertising” angle – I think that’s totally secondary). Be thinking instead of the vast untappedness of the podcasting and Internet video advertising delivery (and tracking) space – and beyond.

Because it’s all based on clicks, unlike “regular” broadcasting, which throws the net wide and hopes for the best, the true monetization of social media and content delivery sites in general presents the possibility of the “Holy Grail” for advertisers: knowing for sure what percentage of people actually watched and/or responded to your ads – something we’ve all known has been possible for ages, but which no one seems to have been able to satisfactorily deliver…

1. Lots of buzz this week about the Factiva Roundtable on Social Media. It was open to invitees only at a Palo Alto, CA restaurant.

The roundtable delved into the notion of social media measurements – and while some acknowledged that, “in a way, yes it was a Factiva focus group,” overall the event has spurred a tremendous amount of discussion, some of the best posts can be read here, here and here. Exciting times, because once the whole “ROI” thing is nailed down, social media will truly become mainstream.


1. According to the BBC, 43% of Britons who watched online video said they watched less “real” TV as a result, 54% said that their online habits were “extra”, and did not affect their regular TV-watching schedule. Overall, however, only 9% of those surveyed watched video online on a regular basis, while 2/3 said they didn’t and had no plans in the immediate future to do so.

To me, stuff like this is just common sense – there are only so many hours in the day. While Jimbo may sneak in a few extra minutes of YouTube at work, it’s unlikely to affect his viewing habits until he can sit on his couch and watch Internet TV comfortably. By that point, the big nets will be broadcasting on-demand online anyway (or they’d better be).

CCNMatthews offers social media-ready releases

This release explains the details of a new service being offered to companies that employ the services of CCNMatthews, a press release service that sends out info directly to CP newswire, which is where every newsroom in Canada gets the BG for most of their stories. According to the release:

Social Media distribution quickly and cost-effectively delivers news to community-driven online content forums and social media sites, such as Digg, and Newsvine, giving press releases the power to become part of the dialogue within these increasingly popular and influential online communities

But here’s the thing? A typical press release will be as much a part of a “dialogue” as the outgoing message on your answering machine is part of a “conversation”. Both are static – but the OGM at least invites you to leave a message.

Rather than trying to cram an old media version of something into a new media space, effective press releases in the age of social media will actually start to look much more like this; arguably Canada’s first-ever social media release, sent out by High Road Communications and iStudio in support of something called Weblo and also like this, which is the social media release detailing Edleman PR’s introduction of storyCrafter, a “web-based tool for publishing social media news releases”. They both employ all of the elements of a social media press release as recommended by The Social Media Club and Shift Communications (the originators of the concept) – not just tags.

I’m not sure how much time and effort CCNMatthews spent on this initiative; I hope not a lot.

Anti Anti-Social Media rant

I wanted to share a comment that brilliant software engineer Norm Young left in response to my post about Andy Rutledge’s recent anti-social media rant:

The sun rises. The sun sets. The mob converses.

The significance of social media lies not in the content of the conversations they convey, but in the implications enabled by their form. This relative difference in emphasis entirely separates Mr. Rutledge’s views from my own. Anti-Social Media anthropomorphizes the social media, then applies a moral judgement to the attributed conversations. Shall we also judge the morality of the radio, the telegraph, the printing press, paper scrolls, stone tablets and cave walls?

No prior medium has enabled instantaneous, concurrent, many-to-many conversations simultaneously among points in space, time, populations and passages. In social media, practically any participant can address any other participant. Any passage can reference any other passage. Any citation can reach backwards or forwards to any point in recorded time. Furthermore, any node in the resulting conversational continuum is instantly accessible from any other node. Compare these attributes to social media’s predecessors.

Of course, I am not the first author to postulate “that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself.” – Marshall McLuhan

The moon waxes. The moon wanes. The mob converses.

Norm wins the prize for best rebuttal, but I think Andy might still win a prize for best website design – despite his crackpot ways. Can we bring him over to the Light Side, do you think? He’d be great on our team.

The Social Media way of being

I’m going to divert a little today and share a bit of personal philosophy with you – a theory, if you will, that’s been percolating for a while over here at SMG.

Most of us involved in the social media space are (hopefully) aware of what I’ve started calling the “authenticity requirement”. If the blogosphere is a conversation, and conversations are only satisfying and meaningful if they’re authentic, then you can’t form a true relationship with someone who isn’t all there when you talk to them. No one wants to connect with the slippery sales guy who’s got a hidden agenda that has mostly to do with his own requirements. They want to deal with the associate who cares about their business, asks how they’re doing, tells them what they need to know and makes recommendations based on what’s best – not quota. And if you’re in sales, you know which of the two has higher numbers.

So basically, it’s honesty, integrity and being up-front. If there’s a problem, the slippery sales guy will pass the buck (and probably get himself in far deeper than if he’d just dealt with things properly), whereas the associate will listen, address concerns and accept responsibility if that’s appropriate – and then make it better.

My point is that social media (blogs in particular) need to communicate in the same way. A corporate blog will fail if it’s the slippery sales guy model (press releases and an indeterminate comment moderation queue wait-time) whereas if it is the associate, it will thrive (honest dialogue, facing issues head-on with integrity, saying sorry when you should), as will the company, because they’re really taking the time to engage with their market. And the market likes that – there’s nothing more flattering than being listened to (I think Dr. Joyce Brothers said that).

I guess my point is this – here at SMG (and I lead by example in this) we strive to be the associate. The honest, up-front tell-it-like-it-is partner to our clients. I have actually had occasions on which I have told clients that they need to slave part of a budget earmarked for our work to another supplier in order to really create a project that will have legs and cost them less in the long run.

Foolish? I don’t think so. I call it authenticity.

Friday Social Media Roundup – a little late (or early…)

…depending on where you stand. Here’s all the news that’s fit to blog from last week and beyond.

Today (or December 11th, if you believe the date stamp)
1. Are the major nets planning to band together to create a YouTube Killer? Read this fascinating article about how things are shaking out in the world of online video (we have front-row seats!) Seems it’s very very hard for the major content creators to resist the nine-figure licensing fees offered, even though they know that tying themselves to YouTube for three years will make it the defacto winner in the online video race – and nobody doubts the ambition of Google. Are they pondering a challenge? (…I am never going to get picked up by Google Alerts again…)

1. The Blog Herald, a great resource for all things business blogging, has been sold to new interests.

2. Yahoo’s Media Group is gearing up for a web content challenge. They’ve recruited a new team of execs (I had no idea that Yahoo’s stock price had dropped by 31% – no time period specified – no wonder they’re scrambling).

3. Big in Japan and HD Republic have created a broadcast television pilot for a series about the adventures of three MySpace friends. – Yes, I know.

1. Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void has posted a Brand Manager’s Social Media Manifesto, reminding us all that it’s not as simple as setting up a corporate blog, but rather:

Until you fully embrace the fact that your relationship and communication with your consumers has been fundamentally antisocial, you will never be able progress on the road towards becoming a brand that can embrace social media…

2. The British PR blogosphere is deep in discussions about the CIPR Social Media discussion paper I posted about in the last roundup. Simon Collister points out that the document is approaching social media from an old media perspective – which demonstrates a fundemental lack of understanding.

1. The USC-Annenberg Digital Future Project released the 6th annual “Surveying the Digital Future” report, and found major shifts in our behaviour online. For example:

  1. 43% of online community members (i.e. MySpace, mommy bloggers, etc.) said they felt as strongly about their digital community as they did about their “real” one.
  2. 20% take actions offline at least once a year that are related to their online community (for example, going out for lunch with someone you met blogging, buying something someone made or recommended).
  3. Social Media is a major contributor to social activism – on and offline. 64% of community users have gotten involved in social causes.
  4. More than half of community members log on every day. [emphasis mine]

You can read the report summary here.

1. IBM held the Virtual Worlds European Media & Influencer Event in the online world (also a digital community) known as Second Life (where, FYI, my avatar has hair the texture of wood – but that’s another blog post).

1. The National Association of Manufacturers has started a weekly business blog roundup in which one of their staffers reviews and reports on new industry business blogs.

2. Yahoo is wrapping up a lot of what I call “social media support sites” (things like Flickr and into brand universes, and they’ll let marketers choose packages of service to support and promote events and products, i.e. movie releases.

1. According to this report released in October, 60% of online shoppers had visited a social networking site in the previous four months.