Archive for “February, 2007”

Wake up, agencies – we're stealing your business

Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t shout too loudly. This article from Media Post explains that

The web and related digital technologies are exposing major weaknesses in traditional agency skill sets, according to a study released yesterday by Forrester Research.

This trend, the study finds, is working in favor of specialist digital shops, which marketers are increasingly calling upon to fill skill gaps.

The most shocking numbers? The fact that just 21% of marketers would recommend the agency they themselves hired, and 76% of them don’t measure the ROI for that relationship.

Hat tip to Robin Fray Carey via the Social Media Collective.

User-Generated Presentation

I have to Google this phrase to see if anyone else has been using it, but it’s a model I’m going to try out at the capCHI conference I’m presenting at in Ottawa on April 13th. Here’s the abstract for it:

Join Social Media expert Maggie Fox, founder of Social Media Group, Canada’s first agency dedicated exclusively to helping companies leverage the power of social media, for this unique “user generated presentation”. First, Maggie will review some Canadian numbers and talk about social media adoption in Canada and the underlying shifts in society that are making all of this so important [it’s a Canadian group]. Then, in a unique twist, she’ll turn the tables on the audience and let them tell her what they want to know about all things Web 2.0. The success of this presentation will be in the hands of the attendees – come prepared with your most pressing questions about social media; why it’s important, why it matters, who’s using it, how your organization can use it, where should you start and where we’ll all be ten years from now. This unique and lively session will be conducted in the true spirit of social media, changing the conference paradigm from “dictation” to “dialogue”.

To be completely honest, I stole the notion (if not the name) from a podcast I came across a number of months ago from the September 2006 iMedia Summit. I’ll be interested to see how it goes – it’s very much along the lines of the “unconference” idea, but with a little more top-down structure.

Friday Social Media Roundup

Dear Readers, I do apologise for my intermittent posting of late – you’ll understand why next week. In the meantime, accept my humble apologies with this edition of the Friday Social Media Roundup – everything that’s fit to blog from the last week and beyond…

February 20th:

1. Something that’s been coming up a lot lately is the phenomenon of people behaving badly via social media (aka “online disinhibition effect”). Apparently there’s a biological reason for it, according to this NY Times article. Now all we need is a pill to solve the problem for good.

February 19th

1. Researchers at the Center for Social Media at American University are undertaking a study to see how public radio stations in the U.S. are using social media, participation details available here.

2. Charlene Li is doing some research about “when and how companies can participate in Wikipedia while abiding by the guidelines and spirit of Wikipedia”. If you know of any companies who are struggling with this, please contact Charlene via her blog.

February 16th:

1. According to this article from the New York Times, DVR viewers actually only skip through about 30% of commercials, not the 70% generally reported by TiVO. BUT – their data may not be all that reliable, according to David Card, who works for competing firm Jupiter Research, Nielsen based their numbers on just 60 households with DVRs.

2. There has been much shoe-gazing in the blogosphere about what social media is and if we should even call it that. I’m not really into semantic arguments. Behaviour is changing, no doubt about that, and the right name for it will stick. Personally? If it ain’t “social media”, then we’ll rebrand as SMG.

February 12th:
1. MediaWeek says that eMarketer says that podcasting will generate $400 million in ad dollars by 2010. Which is nice, but still infinitesimal when you compare it to the $153.7 billion dollars that will likely be spent on advertising in the U.S. in 2007 (source: TNS Media Intelligence).

February 9th:

1. Cisco jumped into the social media game (in their first move toward courting big media, according to this article) with the acquisition of Five Across (not to be confused with Six Apart), an 11-person outfit in San Francisco that has developed software that allows firms to easily add social networking tools to their existing websites.

February 8th:

1. Pontiac is going social media wild, seeking to tap into their various communities of interest with the creation of Pontiac Underground (“Where a Passion for Pontiac is Driven By You”), an aggregator of site feeds about Pontiac products plus a number of other community tools.

February 7th:

1. This article describes nextgen online community Webjam as “social networking on steroids”. Their beta site is now open to the public and allows you to build your own community suite* by choosing from their vast array of modules (blogs, message boards, photo albums, audio & video players… etc.)

2. The Boston Herald reported that the IOC is considering allowing athletes to officially blog the Beijing Olympics – kind of ironic, given the press and Internet control policies of the host country, don’t you think?

February 6th:

1. My birthday.

February 4th:
1. Intel has hired a Social Media Evangelist. His name is Josh Bancroft and he’ll be working for Intel Software Network a community suite*,

…for developers using pretty much anything Intel related. There are blogs by Intel software folks, very active technical forums, a wiki, downloadable tools to help your apps rock harder, and even videos with application engineers and community managers, and more. There are some more defined communities that are focused on, like mobility and gaming, but the basic idea is that we want this to be your go to place for anything related to software development and Intel.

I hereby declare that Intel is a company that understands the power of tapping into their community of interest using social media. Well done, folks!

January 9th:

1. I think Edelman released a white paper called A Corporate Guide to the Global Blogosphere: A New Model of Peer-To-Peer Communications (it’s hard to tell just when it was released – there’s no date on the document itself, but possibly one in the URL – try not to be disconcerted by the abrupt and angry page-turning sound effects). Among the numbers contained therein? 74% of Japanese read blogs, and while just 14% of Belgians do, 43% of them say they have taken action as a result of something they’ve read on a blog.

Have a great weekend!

*Official SMG Phrase of the Week

Consumer 2.0 Conference

This Thursday I’ll be speaking at Day Two of the Consumer 2.0 Conference in Toronto. Registration forms can be downloaded here.

Here’s the promo copy:

Join Maggie Fox, founder of Social Media Group, Canada’s first social media agency, for this informative session about putting the power of blogs to work for your business. Find out how Web 2.0 is changing consumer behaviour and discover solutions for cutting through the clutter and engaging your internal and external audiences using blogs. We’ll also examine successful corporate strategies from the Fortune 500, the business case for blogging, address the perceived risks and how to decide whether your firm should consider entering the blogosphere. Social media is changing everything you know – don’t get left behind!

The focus will be a little more narrow on blogging in particular instead of social media in general, but that same benchmark critical information will be there: what’s social media? Why does it matter? What segments of the population use it? What companies are successfully using it? How can your company use it? Unfortunately, the sessions are only 45 minutes, but since I’m on right before lunch, hopefully we can go a little longer if the Q&A is really great. Hope to see you there!

Flogs to be "named and shamed" in the UK

This, according to an article from The Times Online:

Hotels, restaurants and online shops that post glowing reviews about themselves under false identities could face criminal prosecution under new rules that come into force next year.

Businesses which write fake blog entries or create whole wesbites purporting to be from customers will fall foul of a European directive banning them from “falsely representing oneself as a consumer”.

The new legislation takes effect December 31st, 2007 and will also apply to things like authors singing the praises of their own work on and tourist destinations that seek to raise poor ratings through fake postive reviews (which apparently is quite easy to do).

Social Media and the U.S. Elections

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Barak Obama (or at least someone with influence on his campaign team) “gets” social media. Here’s a list of the features and functions on his new website (which is basically a discrete social networking site):

  • Sign in to create a profile.
  • The ability to find events and supporters near you (broken when I logged in last)
  • Event planning – the ability to set up an event type and location, and have other supporters nearby be notified and invited
  • A link to Barak’s Flickr page
  • “” to his YouTube profile
  • “” to his Facebook profile (what, no MySpace? Doesn’t Barak’s team know that 68% of MySpace users are over 25 and that it has approximately 75% marketshare?)
  • The ability to search and contact groups, events and members across the country (there are currently 976 local groups and 600+ national ones, including two competing “1,000,000 for Obama” groups, one with 276 members, the other with just 29)
  • Personal fundraising profiles, that allow you to set goals and populate a profile page with information about yourself
  • Blogs – I put up a post with the following text, just wanting to see how the Barak Obama community is going to deal with (somewhat) negative comments/posts:
  • Has Barak Obama successfully quit smoking? Even though no one likes a quitter :-), anyone running for public office needs to be held to a higher standard, and I don’t think that smoking is a good example. What do you think?

    I wanted it to be somewhat mild because a) I’m not interested in looking like a crackpot, and b) I wanted to see where organizers and community members will jump in. If you’re logged in, you can see my blog entry here.

  • There’s also Barak TV, where many of his speeches are available to be streamed and also shared virally.
  • This is a great case study, and an excellent example of an attempt to leverage social media tools and behaviour to their full potential – I’ll be interested to see how the community grows/what it accomplishes!

    Do you need some social media motivation?

    Or just a laugh? These (potentially de-)motivational posters might be just the thing:



    (Actually, I don’t see this last one as de-motivational, I think of the empty seats as representing your potential audience…)

    Hat tip to Business Blog Consulting.

    Is social media going to break the Internet?

    Interesting article from BBC News about whether the Internet is up to what we’re asking of it, thanks to demand for HD video and social networking.

    A recent report from Deloitte said 2007 could be the year the internet approaches capacity, with demand outstripping supply. It predicted bottlenecks in some of the net’s backbones as the amount of data overwhelms the size of the pipes.

    The appetite for content from the net is growing at an exponential rate and there are real concerns that the network might not be up to the task

    Now that’s interesting, isn’t it? What happens if the ISPs don’t upgrade fast and well enough and things slow to a snail’s pace? Will people abandon the Internet in droves? Could social media break the Internet?

    I've been tagged. And I'm doing something about it.

    This is actually the second time I have been tagged by this meme, but it’s mutated. This time around, and because it’s Friday, I’ve decided to post my answers.

    I guess I’m supposed to tag five other people now, aren’t I? Will it be 1,000 years of bad luck if I don’t? We’ll just have to find out.

    What have you learned so far from visitors to your blog?
    That major news organizations don’t generally mask their IPs, which has surprised me to no end. Like all old-school bloggers, I obsessively watch my stats – I find that Google picks up more data, but Sitemeter gives me a more complete picture of individual visitors (and better referral info). Also that their visit totals are widely varied.

    If someone would offer to pay for a course (or more) for you, what would that course be?
    I’d like to become fluent in French (I have a smattering after six years of lessons in school). This isn’t a money issue, however, it’s more about laziness. I had grand plans to learn French when my sister married a Francophone two years ago. That never happened.

    Are you satisfied with what you’ve achieved in 2006, in general?
    You have absolutely no idea. Pleased as PUNCH!!!

    Has blogging changed your life or personality in any way?
    I think I’m a much better writer for it – I was always fast, and always pretty good at distilling stuff down to its essence and then regurgitating it (from my days as a newswriter and producer). But amazingly, I think blogging has made me even better at that. Also, starting this business blog and reading as much as I do in a day has given me great insights into the world of social media. Writing about it means I have actually internalized and understood all the stuff I’ve read – in a way, it’s like a university of sorts. On methamphetamines.

    If you had the opportunity to meet one person that you admire most in the world, who would that be and why?
    Being a dyed-in-the-wool Trudeau Liberal, I would have to say that I sincerely wish I could have met PET. This is all secret code for my American readers – you’ll have to take 30 seconds with Wikipedia to find out what the hell I’m talking about.

    And I’m going to “reverse tag” on this one (I just made that up) – I will link to the first five people who tag themselves by leaving a comment on this post.

    Update: I’m going to take the fact that no one left a comment as a sign that everyone hates being tagged (which is what I assumed). Then again, you could just be shy. Perhaps you should nominate someone else?

    Inaugural episode of the Social Media Today podcast


    It’s the official podcast of the Social Media Collective, and it’s called Social Media Today. Do subscribe to our feed – we’ll be interviewing a new member of the Social Media Collective each week, and the podcast will be published fresh every Wednesday. You can even leave us audio comments right here using the handy tool below.

    Click to listen:

    Show Notes:
    Maggie and Jerry talk about all kinds of stuff: Jerry’s background, what the Social Media Collective is, research about how important online relationships are from USC-Annenberg Digital Future Project, Michael Keren’s Blogosphere: The New Political Arena, the Rashomon effect, bloggers as journalists, journalism and social media, why spelling and primary sources are important, truth in social media, cellphones as social software, Sullivan & Cromwell, Momus, why CEOs shouldn’t blog, Robert Scoble and the business-social media honeymoon phase.

    To leave an audio comment, use the “my voicemail” tool to record direct from your computer’s microphone, or leave a text comment (which we will read aloud on the show in a voice that we imagine to be like yours).

    SMC Podcast Alley feed {pca-98374b14f8d1d5121d18320e6d8ee4fb}
    My Odeo Channel (odeo/c5980d54f89f57b8)