Time marches on! Have a happy and safe holiday.
This past year saw some dynamic changes in social media. Consider the rise of Facebook, Twitter’s increasingly strong position as the microblog network of choice, blogs’ maturation as a media form, and the continued adoption of social media by millions of Americans. Looking forward to the New Year, it’s a time of consideration, hope and aspiration.
Here are my top ten wishes for social media in 2008:
- Discussions revolve around integrating social media into the larger media picture, rather than the legitimacy of two-way, conversational media. The continued debate about relevancy seems passe given the sheer numbers of consumers, media outlets and businesses using social media.
- Similarly, that social media becomes viewed as its own unique tool set for several different corporate roles as opposed to just PR or customer service.
- Serious industry progress towards social media measurement.
- Discussions around ideals in social media stop getting turned into black and white debates. In reality, humans strive for ideals, but rarely attain them. Common sense fosters conversation about progress, instead of absolute wrongs or rights.
- People stop validating shameless cowards that use false identities to attack others (note: no validating link).
- Businesses who try to bend social media to their rules continue to fail miserably.
- Past astroturfing incidents actually discourage new ones. You could probably repeat this one every year.
- Blogger relations evolves beyond just pitching bloggers. The desire to force traditional media relations principles on this form just doesn’t make sense.
- The Buzz Bin doesn’t lose its edge. Let it not be said that we sold out.
- Apple engages in social media. Why not?
What are your social media wishes for 2008?
We’re taking a social media break this week. In the interim, enjoy the Best of the Buzz Bin in 2007 as ranked by unique page views. And also a parting gift: Christopher Walken reading The Three Little Pigs. Happy holidays, folks!
- Federal Blogging Poised to Take Off? (June 7)
- GeoCommons Social Media Release Case Study (May 29)
- Poll: Jaiku, Pownce or Twitter (July 9)
- Astroturfing on the Dark Side of the Moon (August 6)
- Brian Solis Sheds Light on PR 2.0 (March 28: Thanks, Brian!)
- DC’s Red Hot Internet Scene (October 28)
- Case Study: Goodwill’s Social Media Strategy (August 29)
- Is This the Real Reason for Amanda Chapel’s Departure? (October 9)
- The Measurement Meme (November 7)
- Nuts About Southwest Demonstrates True Social Interaction (May 8)
Earlier this week, Marketing Profs published my article on wireless internet marketing. Here’s a snippet:
So for the intelligent marketer the question must be, “Is mobile the right medium to reach my constituencies?” To make that decision, marketers have to be aware of three critical trends that focus on mobile data usage:
- The end-user of mobile data tends to be younger. According to the Pew Internet Project, approximately one-third of all adult American internet users (34 percent) have logged onto the internet by wireless means using a laptop, PDA, or cell phone. These users are younger than traditional Internet users: 37 percent of 18-34 year-olds, while only 18 percent of the 35-49 group use wireless.2
- A wide variety of factorsâ€”low bandwidth, hundreds of different devices, small screens, different viewing environments and standardsâ€”have prevented widespread adoption. They have forced many mobile applications to reduce visuals and rely on simple text applications.3
- While wireless data is still in its childhood, wireless mobile social media is in its infancy. That means social applications like mobile Facebook, Jaiku, and Twitter are still very early, and unproven from a marketing standpoint.4
In the short term, marketers need to make sure that their constituency is mobile friendly (less than 34 years old), and that they can convey value across diverse devices on various mobile networks. If the recipe is right, then its’ time to get cooking.
The article goes into some factors to watch as mobile social media evolves. You can read the whole thing on Marketing Profs.
This time of year always makes me nostalgic, and I reflect on where the year’s gone and what I’ve learned along the way.
This one’s been a whirlwind. This time last year, I had never heard of The Buzz Bin, back then, Diary of An Ad Man. I wasn’t reading blogs, and I certainly wasn’t a blogger.
But all that’s changed, and life as I know it, has changed along with it. As some people are listing the Top 10 posts of 2007, I am listing the Top 10 Bloggers who I’ve learned the most from as both a blogger and a pr professional.
Copy Blogger is the first one. I remember looking for guidelines when I put together my first blog, and his posts were a lifesaver. Examples like last week’s Master Your Muse and Multiply Your Blogging Effectiveness I found crucial.
The Bad Pitch Blog is another, for obvious reasons. It’s taught me what not to do.
As I delved deeper into pr and social media, I got a lot out of reading Eric Eggertson, Brian Solis, Chris Brogan, and Kyle Flaherty. They taught me to think outside of the box when it came to pr and incorporate new tactics.
Kami Huyse showed me how to be a mover and a shaker, and most importantly how to get results. And I thoroughly enjoyed spending some time with Toby Bloomberg, who early on changed my perception about who or a what a blogger is.
In a Blogging class last spring, I ran across Shel Israel’s book, Naked Conversations, and couldn’t put the book down. He was my introduction into corporate blogging.
Finally, Geoff Livingston showed me how to use my voice and helped me get there.
So this week’s entry is a year-end roundup, as well as a thank you.
Yesterday on Now Is Gone, I recommended five books (in addition to the text of the same name). Two of them were diametrically opposed books, the Cluetrain Manifesto and the Cult of the Amateur.
It’s hard to escape the influence of these two books. This video discusses the two books and includes interviews with Chris Brogan and Doug Haslam. I met Chris and Doug at the Social Media Breakfast IV in Boston. Thanks to Bryan Person for having me.
And from the book review on Now Is Gone:
You canâ€™t market in social media environments without reading the Cluetrain Manifesto. Itâ€™s the dream of the new conversation, the heart and soul of every blogger and socially engaged individual. It understands the spirit of new media environments, and makes some pointed comments about marketing to people instead of the masses.
Yet at the same time, Cluetrain is flawed in that it represents an ideal, a beautiful one, but one that may not be obtained. Of particular relevance to marketers are the passages by Christopher Locke and Doc Searls.
This next one pained me. I really didnâ€™t want to recommend it as Keenâ€™s reactionary prose often reads like neo-conservative rants from Pat Buchanan. At times his hypocritical depiction of web 2.0 users as monkeys reminded me of Joseph Goebbels.
Yet this book does finally cede that web 2.0 will not go away, and that a balance will need to be struck with traditional media. Thatâ€™s why I recommended Keenâ€™s book. Because old media is not going to go away, and eventually the social media trend will level off, creating a need to integrate outreach across both forms. Somewhere between Cluetrain and Keen lies the end result. Readers who find Keenâ€™s kvetching to be tiresome should just skip to the final chapter on solutions. I wish I had.
Last month, The Buzz Bin posted a measurement meme to discuss measuring the success of a social media program as well as the ROI. We have received almost 30 ping-backs to the posts, and from those countless others have been tagged to respond as well.
It’s been great reading some of the excellent thought leadership that has come from this meme. Some of the key takeaways:
- Quantitative and qualitative methods are discussed from an interview with Dr. Tiffany Derville, Assistant Professor of Public Relations at the University of Oregon.
- A great look at socnet ROI measurements and metrics from serious about camo. Clay talks about updating our knowledge tools to shape success measurement and determine the best designs for tools to measure social networks.
- Beth Kanter provides us with a list of metrics from the New Metrics of Scholarly Authority, which include the prestige of the author, commenters, and other participants as well as the amount of links and attention received, the value and type of attention (positive or negative) and the quality and significance of the work provided.
- Katie Payne comments on the lack of actual case studies for measuring social media success.
- Mack Collier at the Viral Garden gives us ways to judge if the blog is creating value for readers or not – based on web traffic, comments, and incoming links. Mack also discusses the ROI of blogging, and whether or not the time you spend blogging benefits you, and others.
- Peter Imbres talks about measurement in terms of ROI, but focuses on the “I” or, investment in social media that companies face. The challenge of showing value to the company is something that marketers have often struggled to quantify.
- Trend Junkie talks about the core “building blocks” of social media and the social web: identity, presence, conversations, sharing, groups, relationships and reputation. Instead of ROI, he looks at R.O.WE. (Return on Engagement) to measure the impact of participation on his relationships and business. He looks to develop his expanding network and build leads and business development through cultivating his subscribers and audience.
- Bill Sledzik guest posts on PR Conversations. He cites interviews with mainstream media as one of the benchmarks he uses, but also includes case studies and asks us to measure the relationships we are creating and maintaining. The bottom line outcome for Bill follows that of the boardroom, including sales, cross sales and reduced service costs.
- The Human Voice gives us a pretty cool graphic from Avinash Kaushik that presents the “who, what, where, and why” of web analytics.
- Connie Benson has some great examples of quantitative and qualitative methods and benchmarks that she follows. She also includes this quote which I think summarizes the question: “Numbers tell a story, but numbers only tell part of the story. Metrics are important â€“ page views, new threads & posts, etc all tell you hard growth facts. But part of community is organic â€” how the culture is developing, how many people are forming deeper relationships with each other â€” these are important things for community growth that canâ€™t be measured.”
As we continue to develop ways to measure the ROI of social media, it will be interesting to look back and see how measurement success evolved over time. Thanks to everyone who participated in this meme. A (somewhat) comprehensive list:
- A Human Voice, Tom O’Brien and above
- Chris Brogan (a little ahead of the meme)
- Connie Benson
- Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni
- Communication Overtones, Kami Huyse
- KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog, Katie Payne
- Point Oh, Peter Imbres
- PRos in Training, Kelli Matthews and above
- PRWorks, Dave Jones
- Search Engine Guide, Jennifer Laycock
- Serious About Camo, Clay Newton
- The Constant Observer, Tish Grier
- The Secret Diary of a Bonafide Marketing Genius
- The Trend Junkie, Greg Cangialosi
- The Viral Garden, Mack Collier
- Tough Sledding, Bill Sledzik (via PR Conversations)
- Verge New Media, Jim Long
- WebMetrics Guru, Marshall Sponder
by Rafael Lemaitre, Deputy Press Secretary for the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy
Three years ago, the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy became the first Federal agency to launch a blog. We created the blog, called Pushing Back, with the intention of making it a central source of timely news and analysis for journalists and citizens seeking a steady flow of content about national efforts that â€œpush backâ€ against the illegal drug problem.
While most Federal agencies have lagged in recognizing the value of social media, weâ€™ve quickly realized that blogs, RSS feeds, folksonomies, and wikis are not fads. After all, millions of Americans are already using these tools on their own to shape opinions and engage in conversations with each other. We knew that if we didnâ€™t adapt to this new environment we would quickly lose our ability as Federal officials to be effective influencers and communicators of critical public policy information. Thatâ€™s why we made the decision to jump into the blogosphere and add social media as a crucial component of our PR strategy. So what does our blog help us accomplish?
Pushing Back gives us a way to bypass the filter of the news media and talk directly to the American people
Blogs can let anyone â€“ including public institutions â€“ have their own printing press. When we have an important story or issue that MSM outlets decline to cover because they think itâ€™s not â€œnews,â€ we publish it on our blog and tag the content it to make it easy to find.
Just as importantly, our blog allows us to respond to critical or inaccurate reporting about Federal drug policies. A couple examples:
- When a major national newspaper refused to publish our response to a critical and misleading story about the potential for legalizing opium poppy in Afghanistan, we chose to post it on our blog instead. As a result, the post became one of our most linked-to entries and was viewed over 2,600 times.
- When an NGO group opposed to U.S. drug policies got their math wrong and cherry picked data to attack a report we released on cocaine disruptions, we posted our own analysis of their report. We then referred reporters covering the story to our blog post. This kept everyone honest through a transparent account of the methodology behind our report. The Washington Postâ€™s online story about the controversy even linked back to our blog, giving their readers a chance to see our side of the story.
Pushing Back lets us narrowcast information to niche groups who help us amplify our messages on the ground
As the authors of Cluetrain Manifesto have noted, the Internet allows people to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. To help that phenomenon along, weâ€™ve made an RSS feed from our blog available to every Federal grant recipient of our Drug Free Communities support program. The feed – which weâ€™ve billed as the â€œONDCP Prevention Newswireâ€ – instantaneously cross-posts Federal information about drug prevention efforts from our blog on Federal grant recipientâ€™s Web sites as well.
This tool has made it easier for local citizens on the front lines of preventing drug use among young people to get a hold of new intelligence and supporting information we have about emerging drug threats. In turn, these groups help us spread and amplify our public messaging on the drug issue.
Already, over a dozen of these local anti-drug coalitions have taken advantage of the tool (click here for an example). Three of these community groups have also become top referrers to our blog, increasing our traffic and Google PageRank on certain drug-related issues.
These drug prevention groups are just one of the many niche information consumers we work with whose needs can best be met by the blogging format. Blogging helps us share information with these audiences in a way that interjects personality and context, instead of relying on press releases or fact sheets intended for general audiences.
Pushing Back lets us share information about a complicated public policy issue in a human voice
Federal agencies sit on mountains of useful knowledge. While government-issued reports and publications serve a critical purpose, we also know that theyâ€™re not always very user-friendly. Where do you find credible information if youâ€™re a high school student writing a report about meth? What if youâ€™re a community activist seeking to find a quick overview of the latest research on marijuana so that you can oppose efforts to legalize marijuana in your state? By frequently posting and tagging information in language most people can understand, we increase the chances of getting our knowledge in the hands of people who can use it most effectively.
If traffic to our blog is any indication, weâ€™ve done tremendously well. Over the past year alone, weâ€™ve received an average over 300,000 hits and over 100,000 page views per month. Weâ€™re also encouraged by the fact a handful of other Federal agencies have followed our lead by starting their own blogs. These include the Department of Homeland Securityâ€™s â€œLeadership Journalâ€ and the Department of Stateâ€™s â€œDipnote.â€
The success weâ€™ve had with our blog has encouraged us to expand into other areas of social media. In September of last year, I also posted some of our video content on YouTube, thereby making our agency the first in government to start using the video sharing service for public outreach. This effort led to a substantial amount of media coverage.
Clearly, social media has a future in helping Americans connect with their government. Call it government 2.0.
Shel Holtz comments on Money Magazine’s annual “Dumbest Moments in Business”. He highlights some of the top PR and marketing moments and the bad communications combined with the even worse consequences.
The Publicity Hound shares a story from Christian Science Monitor that mentions that declining popularity of book tours to promote books., in favor of promoting with an online presence (blogs anyone?).
Steven Noble at Hill and Knowlton proves that an affinity for blogging may hinge on more than a basic interest in social media. The importance of personality type is shown to affect the success of a particular corporate blog.
Media Guerrilla’s Mike Manuel gives us the “three O’s” for measuring social media: output, outgrowth, and outcome.
Speaking of measurement, Calvin Warr points out blog marketing as a strategy for businesses, citing three measurements for success: traffic, response and action.
Bob LeDew at Flacklife posts an interesting study that shows results from a poll that state online media is still second to traditional media, with 95% of respondents still turning to traditional news outlet for general news, and 82% for breaking news.
It turns out that though we like to make a fuss about privacy, Americans really don’t care. In a fascinating report that comes on the heels of the Facebook Beacon quagmire, the latest Pew/Internet study, “Digital Footprints,” reveals that Americans aren’t monitoring their online identities frequently. Thus the privacy issue may be a red herring.
From the executive summary:
Internet users are becoming more aware of their digital footprint; 47% have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22% five years ago. However, few monitor their online presence with great regularity. Just 3% of self-searchers report that they make a regular habit of it and 74% have checked up on their digital footprints only once or twice.
Ironically, Seth Godin’s words last week are now backed with hard research. “There’s been a lot of noise about privacy over the last decade, but what most pundits miss is that most people don’t care about privacy, not at all… What people care about is being surprised.”
In the wake of Beacon, these words ring true. We don’t want to see our information used in ways that are unexpected. Eighty-five percent of adults say it is â€œvery importantâ€ to control who has access to their personal information (Image credit: cash_me_if_u_can).
Beacon violated these expectations, and as a result Facebook took a big hit. But, it does mean that if expectations are clear and stated up front, consumers will allow their information to be shared freely.
Technology marketers must be thrilled about this now proven lack of concern on privacy. This eases the adoption of data intense applications like location based services, new semantic web technologies as well as initiatives like open identity. They keys to success for companies using identity data is to clearly communicate information usage, garner permission, and follow through on their commitments.
The report is chock-full of fascinating data:
- People are definitely researching each other online. Fifty three percent of adult internet users said they had looked for information connected to family, friends, romantic interests and business colleagues.
- More Gen Yers are online, but older adults have transparent online identities. Approximately 55% of online teens have created an online profile, most of which are restricted (40% visible). Adults, are at 20%, but in a more transparent way (60% visible).
- Only 28% of adults say it is â€œvery importantâ€ to not be monitored at work. So much for Big Brother fears.
- Interestingly enough, 68% of professional online identities monitor their image online
- There’s a great discourse on identity’s moving digital footprint as caused by Web 2.0 technologies. “..most [Internet Users] have not experienced the sometimes messy work-in-progress norms being
hashed out by those who are heavily invested in social media.”
Ahh, yes, the fine realities of having critical discourse through social media channels. It’ll be interesting to see how Internet users react to widespread user-generated comments about people. Will the value of social media commentary decrease or increase?
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