Recently in Social Networks Category
May 7, 2013
The Thomas Cook Listening Lab, using a specially trained social media listening team will provide real-time global brand reputation management, listening in over 180 languages about "chatter" around their brands. The team will identify social 'brand champions' and who the company should be interacting with socially to help increase sales. Data will also be collected that will be used for future marketing campaigns and to provide insight on how to heighten social brand awareness. The facility will aid in crisis management, provide real time comparison of competitor brands, and importantly, listen to all customer sentiment.
Maybe I'm a crusty old Cluetrain fundementalist, but there's nothing in there I find remotely inspiring. There's no suggestion of the idea of reaching out and engaging customers in any form of conversation, just monitoring, processing data and intervening with the people who might boost sales. Now, bear in mind that this is a press release, a form of communication whose relationship with reality is often tenuous at best. This could be a more social effort than it appears.
However, it appears like a profoundly anti-social approach to social media. A dark, windowless room, full of screens and dashboards. A small team tasked with listening to their customers - which presumably implies - or at least sends the message - that the rest of the company doesn't need to bother. Is this really the promise of corporate social media?
There's no element of making the company walls more porous to the customer here; no attempt to engage in widescale conversation. Listening is great. Collecting data is great. But they are just the first two steps on a journey towards actually beginning dialogue with the customer. What's potrayed here isn't conversational at all. And that seems to miss too much of the potential for social media in this market.
There. I can delete the press release now.
April 29, 2013
The social media marketing industry has finally passed beyond parody. From an e-mail that arrived earlier:
Wow. A whole seminar on using six seconds of looping shaky video in your marketing. Knock yourselves out...
April 15, 2013
Interesting look at the problems of keeping your personal life hidden away from your online presence:
Last week, I lunched with different former coworkers (yes, I keep friends from every job I've ever had!) who told me there was no evidence online that I was still married. They actually wondered if I was getting divorced because of the lack of references to my husband. They found a mention or two on Twitter or elsewhere that I have children, but nothing about my husband.
The discussion in the comments is well worth a look.
I have my own variation on that issue: my wife likes to keep a low-to-invisible social media profile, which means that my own image online is a curiously lop-sided version of whom I am in reality. And the arrival of Hazel has complicated things further, because I want to post about her, like any doting Dad, but I also have to be mindful of my wife's feelings.
My family and friends are divided into two pretty clear camps - those who use social media and those who don't. Some of the people closest to me are the ones in the latter camp. If nothing else, this illustrates that a social media-focused publishing approach will only reach a subset of the population...
April 10, 2013
This rather bland statement from Tumblr CEO David Karp hides something interesting:
What we've accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on. I want to personally thank them for their great work. And please join us in wishing them well.
Storyboard was their experiment to create a newsroom team within the company, highlighting the best of the content shared within the blogging platform. And now it's dead and gone. Ken Yeung puts it more brutally for The Next Web:
On Tuesday, Tumblr announced that it was laying off its entire editorial team responsible for its Storyboard service. A year after the company created the team of journalists and editors to help cover it as a "living, breathing community", founder David Karp said that Tumblr's experiment had come to an end.
Storyboard was always an odd idea. Putting a meta-curational layer over a service that is curational at its heart seemed like a redundancy and so it proved. Tumblr users are already great at finding and highlight good metrical within their service. They don't really need journalists to do that for them.
I suspect that we'll see more of this. Brand journalism is one of those ideas that has gone from an abstract though to wide-spread adoption in far too short a spec of time, without any real rigour applied to the whys, the hows and the "how much" in particular - both how much it will cost and how much value it brings to the company. Storyboard was a cool idea that wasn't properly thought through; the mere existence of good quality content doesn't create value unless there's a sensible strategy underlying it - and there doesn't seem to have been a good one here.
It sometimes feels like the amount of content strategy seen on the web is inversely proportional to the number of people with "content strategist" in their job title...
April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatcher has rather annoyed me this evening, and that's not something I've been able to say for decades.
I hate feeling obligated to write about something on my blog, you see, and by having the sheer, stark lack of consideration to die, she's created a prevailing mood that leaves me to feel I need to put finger to keyboard before I hit the sack, far later than I should have done. Like most British children of the early 70s, my formative years politically were dominated by her. The 1980s were her decade of British politics When she finally left office in the 90s, it was the first time I could remember living in a Britain that wasn't ruled by her. I held on to the Evening Standard front cover from the day she resigned for the next decade or so.
She was a divisive, polarising, but hugely successful and productive figure, who can inspire pieces like this positive spin from Andrew Sullivan and this more negative take from The Guardian, both of which are probably true. But it has split social media into nasty little tribal factions that have been warring away all day, reminding me why I much prefer the the long-form response represented by the two posts I just linked.
In fact, the factions broke down in a way perfectly predicted by Martin Belam back at the tail end of last year:
It's un-edifying, and something I pretty much avoided other than to throw the occasional piece of satire in from the sidelines:
EXCLUSIVE: this person has no idea who Thatcher was: twitter.com/adders/status/...-- Adam Tinworth (@adders) April 8, 2013
In the end, though, I pretty much agree with this piece from Glen Greenwald which argued that people should be free to say what they like about a public figure when they die. She was a huge part of the UK's public life and some debate on what her legacy is is not just to be expected, it's actually healthy.
But there is one response that I do think is unhealthy: "I hated her and I'm glad she's dead". That's not because it makes any difference to her - she's beyond that now, one way or another - or her family, who will never see the majority of it. It simply diminishes the people who feel that way. To devote so much energy to hating someone who left power nearly a quarter of a century ago to the point where you want to celebrate the death of an elderly, sick grandmother and widow just seems to me to lack a sense of proportion and of human empathy.
The reason so many different media warn us against hate - from George Orwell to Doctor Who to umpteen world religions - is that it damages the person feeling the emotion more than the person to whom it is directed most of the time.
This may be, in fact, meta-piety, but it's my blog and I'll be pious if I want to.
March 21, 2013
Hello Adam Tinworth,
Your request to be included in Twitter Cards has been approved. We've activated Summary and Photo cards for *.onemanandhisblog.com.
I'm becoming such a markup geek.
(No idea what I'm talking about? Here's the Twitter cards documentation)
Update: It's working...
February 28, 2013
When journalists use social media, should they blur professional and personal lines?
My Interactive Journalism students at City University setup a Google+ Hangout (with some shepherding from Judith Townend) to discuss the issue, and I joined in with Nick Petrie from The Times and Sarah Marshall from journalism.co.uk. Here's the video:
(You can read the post on digital doorstepping I referred to, if you're interested)
February 2, 2013
Well, that was something to wake up to...
Twitter has indeed been hacked, with 250,000 accounts exposed, mine amongst them.
This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information - usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords - for approximately 250,000 users.
I'm now behind a nice, secure password randomly generated by 1Password.
January 29, 2013
Interesting argument that Facebook's graph search is going to be inherently flawed, because Facebook's data is dirty:
It turns out as much as half of the links between objects and interests contained in FB are dirty—i.e. there is no true affinity between the like and the object or it’s stale. Never mind does the data not really represent user intent... but the user did not even ‘like’ what she was liking.
How is this possible? Let me explain.
In the brand advertiser world CPMs have been the preferred measurement (people aren’t going to click an ad for Coke; instead its purpose is to influence you). For the past several years big advertisers on FB have actually been directing massive amounts of paid media to acquire fans. They quite literally bought likes.
On its earnings call today, Yahoo reported that its Flickr product has enjoyed a resurgence in the mobile space, with iOS usage spiking a full 25% in terms of uploads and photos viewed, measured on a daily basis, since the company revamped its app for Apple's mobile devices.
Not quite what the headline promised - which suggested that the app was resposible for a 25% growth of the site - but this is still interesting news. Flickr has had an app for years - but get the app right, and you can see genuine growth. Can they keep building on it? I hope so. Flickr's fine-grained privacy controls and robust searching are a far more interesting photo medium than Instagram. They just need to keep making it easier to use without losing the sophistication.
January 23, 2013
Content is the next word that's about to be hollowed out and rendered meaningless by band-wagon jumping companies.
Apparently anyone who's ever written more than a paragraph is now a content expert… Shame how few of them actually think about who'll be reading all that 'content'.
I do believe it is possible to create strategic advantage by delivering great content and executing a social media initiative well. But the entry barriers to creating a Facebook page and initiating engagement, for example, are so low, I think it is unlikely that this can truly be "strategic." Engagement should more likely be viewed as a tactic that supports an over-arching marketing strategy, unless you truly have some super-human community management skills that consistently bring customers in the door.
Social media's place in the marketing mix is to provide consistent, small provocations and conversations through content that lead to engagement and interactions. Skillfully done, that engagement ultimately results in consumer interest, and hopefully loyalty and meaningful activity (like a purchase).
Take marketing out and replace it with journalism or content strategy - and it still works.