Archive for “April, 2007”

The Human Web

‘Tis the season of conferences. I’m off later this week to give the first-ever user generated presentation in Ottawa, where I throw the doors open to the audience and let them decide what they want to discuss. We’ll use an online collaboration tool that will allow 20 users to log and record what they think is of interest to the group, which hopefully a wikiGnome (aka “wiki fairy”) will tidy up. This collaborative document will remain available to all participants online after the session, and stand a record of what we talked about, and what they (not me) thought was of interest. Here are all the details, and I’m also going to run some video. If there’s anything I learned last week in Chicago, it’s that more video = good!

Workshop: Web 2.0, The Human Web
Date: April 13th, 2007
Location: the Panorama Room of the National Arts Centre
Organizing group: CapCHI
Speakers and topics:

Peter Merholz: Business strategy, product management and Web 2.0 applications
Maggie Fox: Social media and Web 2.0 from a Canadian perspective: a user-generated presentation
Mike Atyeo: Designing and testing rich-internet applications for usability
Derek Featherstone: Accessibility 2.0: Ajax Kung Fu Meets Accessibility Feng Shui

The workshop will be followed by a panel discussion with our presenters. There will also be an un-conference after the panel discussion where participants and speakers will have a chance to chat informally.

Personally, I just call that last part “drinking”, but whatever!

If there’s still space, you can register for the workshop here.

Thoughts from the Social Media 2007 Conference

Just enjoying a couple of days in Chicago with my family following the Social Media 2007 conference, and have had an epiphany of sorts (I love this post-conference period, where you feel energized and full of great content that you can spend the following days and weeks digesting & synthesizing).

1. People don’t really have true relationships with things – only with people (this is not particularly revolutionary).

2. Business knows this, and spends hundreds of millions of dollars giving their company or their specific brands human-like attributes so consumers can, uh, form relationships with them (as anyone who has ever seen a brand brief can attest).

3. Enter social media, which bypasses all the other silliness and allows people to directly relate to an actual human who knows and loves the brand you’re trying to promote. And lets them form a relationship with that person, thereby your brand. Tah -DAH!

I’ll refine this – but I just wanted to get it out. Off to the Chicago Field Museum!

Social Media Today Podcast – Julia French

Welcome to the eighth edition of Social Media Today, the official podcast of the Social Media Collective. In this episode we chat with Julia French, social media early adopter and well-connected Valley girl.

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

Click to listen:

Show Notes:
Julia talks about how a run-in with an early version of Gmail showed her the power of social media and launched her blogging career, membership in the Enterprise Irregulars, her invitation to be one of the first bloggers at SAP’s Sapphire event, the challenges of being a woman in the world of technology, the recent Girls in Technology gathering she orchestrated to help ease the pain, her work at Socialtext, Amazon, MingleNow, starting up her new firm, Covered Communications and the fact that Technorati’s David Sifry was once her neighbour and shared his wifi freely (sounds like a nice guy!).

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) simply leave a comment on this blog.

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

Social Media Measurement – it's all about context

Engagement metrics are difficult to establish, primarily because in the social media space, they are totally bespoke – that is, they must be tailored to each individual project and audience. Here’s a quickie case study:

1. Blog A has been around for two months. It’s gone from zero links on Technorati to about 125 – an increase of between 10 and 15 links per week, which is well above the 8-10 we benchmarked starting out on the project.

Feedburner shows that there are 32 subscribers to Blog A via RSS, and it was the centre of discussion around a hot topic that garnered between 40 and 75 comments per post for three days straight last month.

2. Blog B has been around for just over a month, and has remained stagnant at eight links from two blogs – and they’re not even within the niche audience they were targetting.

Feedburner shows that there are just nine subscribers to Blog B via RSS and its top comment count was 24; the rest of the posts average 3 or 4.

It’s clear, then, based on these numbers, that Blog A is a roaring engagement success, whereas Blog B is not thriving at all, right? Wrong. During a six-day period last month, Blog A had 350 visitors, while Blog B had over 1800. Blog B also has over 120 subscribers via email. Blog B got their top comment count (24) on the first post.

So, what’s the difference?

Blog A exists in a somewhat small, but highly active niche – it is doing very well (exceeding all benchmarks we established) and enjoying major engagement with its audience (witness the 75 comment post).

Blog B has joined a larger but also highly active community of interest that lives on forums – engagement with this blog consists mostly of links from the forums (not measured by Technorati) and the occasional comment. However, by using a number of diffrent tools, we know the numbers are climbing daily and that additional content, i.e. videos posted to YouTube, boosts engagement even further as the links spread across the “forumosphere”.

My point? That engagement metrics must be taken in context. To establish meaningful measurements, you need to spend a good chunk of time getting to know the community of interest you’re thinking about joining and establish benchmarks based on niche standards, not purely comment counts or unique visits.

In other words, to get a suit that really fits you, you need to let the tailor spend a decent amount of time measuring you first.