Results tagged “social networks”

Medium: welcome

Simon Owens has written a really nice piece exploring what Medium is trying to do. In essence, it's melding the long-form blogging of the mid-2000s with the social network effects of the early 2010s to create a viable audience for in-depth material:

But as I began to read the blog and then later spoke to Evan Hansen, a senior editor at Medium who was the initial instigator behind The Message, I realized that it was more than just an arena for early 21st century Web 2.0 nostalgia, but part of Medium's larger goal of bringing back the web we lost. "I think people do miss the longer stuff," he said in a phone interview. "And we kind of walked away from it and went into the shorter, more disposable media, and we lost something along the way. I think that Medium is capitalizing on that feeling. The place for longer writing has been lost, so we're creating that again."

There's part of me that sturggles with the idea of giving up my own site to publish on someone else's platform - but that network of potential readers is so very, very tempting...

Time to have a play perhaps?

Are you obsessed with finding "influencers" for your brand or journalism?

Forget about it. It's a fiction, an seductive idea that science does not support - according to a recent post on the Harvard Business Review:

Duncan Watts, a researcher at Microsoft who co-created one of the most important models of how social networks function, says, “The influentials hypothesis is a theory that can be made to fit the facts once they are known, but it has little predictive power. It is at best a convenient fiction; at worst a misleading model. The real world is much more complicated.”

It's worth reading to the end of Greg Satell's piece on influence - because there are some gems at the end about how to really improve the chance of something going viral.

The long, slow Ello

Ello Ello Adders

So, Ello, then.

I'm on there. Lots of people are on there (even if they're not really using it yet). But I'm very far from convinced just yet.

Being wary of Facebook's use of personal data is a positive thing, I'd agree. But that, in of itself, is not necessarily enough to build a new business on. You can't compete if you just do things differently to Facebook, you need to be compellingly better. And right now, Ello - which is, admittedly, in beta - is not compellingly better. It's fun. It's lightweight. I'm not sure the "typewriter" aesthetic would be my choice, but there you are. But it's not better right now.

And there are plenty of alarm bells ringing about how compellingly different it actually can be now it has take venture capital.

I'm convinced that the wheel will turn away from Facebook at some point, but I bet it won't be to something everyone is celebrating as a Facebook killer. No, it'll be to something that does things differently enough that, at first, no-one sees the connection.

Anyway, I've written a deeper analysis of Ello for NEXT Conference - and you can connect with me on Ello, if you'd like…

Google+ Insights

Remember all those tech press stories declaring Google+ dead after the departure of Vic Gundotra?

This happened a week ago:

Many of you have asked for more data about how your social content is performing and who your audience is on Google+. So starting today, we’re offering all Google+ pages access to Insights reports. Insights provides key info that helps you tailor and optimize your Google+ content, including:

  • Visibility: All time total, photo, and post views, and how page impressions have trended over time.
  • Engagement: Which types of posts are getting the highest level of engagement on Google+.
  • Audience: Get an overview of your follower demographics.

And then yesterday, Google+ premium happened:

Apps customers have long been able to host Hangouts with up to 15 people, but now the sessions will be available in HD-quality — together Google believes that will “save time and money”. Premium also enables more granular privacy controls, letting Google+ users set their posts as restricted to their domain (thus visible to colleagues and employers only) if they wish, or hide their profiles from public searches.

There's a full break-down of what's being offered on the Google Enterprise Blog.

These are not the moves of a company winding down a product.

Beware online journalists who report or repeat rumour and speculation as if it was fact…

Zachary Neal

Liveblogged notes of Zachary Neal's talk on community integration and cohesion at the RSA.

In this talk he's going to focus on micro networks. Are diverse communities possible? Tha answer's grim: no. But there is a bright side...

He's been thinking about community policy in the US; it's fragmented and piecemeal. It's more clearly articulated in the UK. In 2001 the Home Office came out with a report on community cohesion, which lead to the Commission on Integration & Cohesion. In 2010, the Cabinet Office made it clear it was important as part of the Big Society rubric. 

This is the right direction - but there's a hidden problem, a policy paradox. It's not clear how integration and cohesion interlock. Are more integrated communities more cohesive? Or are more integrated communities less cohesive?


In segregated communities, similar people live near one another.  In integrated communities, different sorts of people are more evenly mixed through the neighbourhood. 

Social networks

In fragmented communities, people have disconnected social networks. In cohesive communities, people have dense special networks. 

Livia at #B2BHuddle.jpg

Livia Giulia Zuppardo, Google+ product specialist, Google

Why could Google+ be useful in the future?

Google+ is the next generation of Google - they're using it to add more features to Google to make it a more personalised experience. The personal element should make it easier to find exactly what you're looking for.

Elephant in the room: users. There are lot of communities that have established themselves on Google+.

The latest numbers suggest that they have 500m users who have created Google+ accounts and started using the product. Active users? 135m users visit the Google+ site. But 235m are using any of the social features of Google+. That's in 18 months - they see this as remarkable group.

They want to add sharing and social ability sot all of their products. They're integrating it into all of the products - and this will continue. 

What about businesses? There are four things:

Better discovery - things are relevant only when people are interested. A recommendation from a  colleague can be forgotten about, but if that shows up in search, that makes a difference. This is about socially inspired brand awareness. Search + your world aims to bring social recommendation to search pages. The left hand column is based on personalised results, the right hand side on brand-submitted material. KLM used this to respond to a website hack. It's not about dragging people to a destination social network.

Deeper engagement: what tools could we give to give better user engagement? Topshop and Google+ worked together to create a whole different launch experience. It wasn't just about the marketing, but allowing a more social buying experience. Circles allow for more targeted marketing messages. divided their users into circles based on language, and only share with the relevant language groups. Hangouts - video chats - allow 10 people to interact. You can use screenshare and Google docs collaboration. You can event build apps around it. Dell does this really well - they do regular customer support and unboxing work, using Hangouts on Air - a live streaming version of Hangouts. You can add anything you can add to a webpage to a Hangout. 

(Can it be used internally? Yes, just schedule it as a meeting with just the people involved. That's how Google uses it.)

Communities reflect the fact that they see Google+ as a place where like-minded people come together. She found a 19,000 member fibre broadband community. 

Marketing Performance across the web: Ocado uses videos from hangouts as ads - and they perform better than their conventional ads. Social annotations are the personal recommendations they show on search - and which can be added to ads, for a 5 to 10% uplift in click through rates. In automative, it has reduced the cost of conversions by 91%.  

Measure the impact: Ripples are a great way of identifying advocates and influencers. They track comments and reshares. If you identify the people who triggers shares, you can put them in a special circle, and share special material with them. Integrates with Analytics to show how conversions are helped by social interactions. You can prove both direct social conversions - and assisted conversions. 

Questions & Answers

How could we measure success of our Hangout? Follower increases, Ripples around shares...

If we invested a lot of time and money - what assurances do we have you won't kill it like Reader? Google+ is not going to be like Reader - it's the next generation of Google. There's no end date. It's something we're strong invested in. It's about adding to the user experience, and we nurture this. 

Can you talk about the demographics of the Google+ users? In vague terms - otherwise I get fired. In the first few months it was skewed towards male and technical. In the year since, that has normalised. I wouldn't be too worked about that. Male technical people tend to be quite vocal (no offence) - they start a lot of the conversations, but they are not the only ones out there.

How do we best connect personal pages with brand pages? You need a personal profile to create a brand page - which you can use as a brand. The best interactions we've seen are around those who show who the people are working on the page. Dell and Virgin America are using their CEOs to interact on the brand page. 


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... 

 Peter X. Deng

David Kirkpatrick's chat with Peter Deng about Facebook at Le Web last week looked, at first, like a ho-hum product announcement, but the more I think about it the more I'm convinced that it gave us an insight into what the Facebook of the future might look like. It'll be on your mobile - and it'll be the hub of your communications. Yes, Facebook is looking to reduce e-mail and SMS to irrelevance, and claim that online communication space for its own.

Deng was clear that Facebook is now a mobile-first company. Everything they build has to be focused on mobile, with a great mobile experience. They're still investing heavily in the website, but they're serious on mobile. 

Mobile is fundamentally different, he suggested. These devices are always with you, they're interruptive and they're logged in as you. They buzz in your pants. They demand you attention. 

Deng's product announcement that Facebook Messenger - what used to be its chat function, but which is steadily becoming an all-purpose SMS and e-mail replacement, with a touch of Twitter's direct messaging - can now be used without a Facebook account is another step on the service spreading beyond its core site. You can now use a Facebook product by shooting photos in Instagram or communicating on Messenger, without ever logging into the core site.

The implication? That Facebook is seeking to be a central point of communication for us. All three of its core services - Facebook, Messenger and Instagram - communicating. It's already providing all its user with e-mail addresses that can aggregate their e-mail communication into Facebook Messenger (mine's, should you wish to contact me that way) - and pushing those e-mail addresses into people's iOS address books. For people who sink into that ecosystem, they can exchange information visually, in words and on mobile without ever having to touch e-mail, or SMS or traditional communication methods. 

When Kirkpatrick asked Deng why they were doing this, he replied: "Because Facebook is about communication, and this is a really cool idea."

If I were a mobile network operator, I'd be sweating right now. Sure, Apple has had a go at the internet-based SMS killer with iMessage, but that's limited to iOS devices, just as its spiritual predecessor BBM was limited to BlackBerry devices. Facebook is building something that is on every mobile phone, but which is potential completely independent of them. You can swap device and operators without ever impacting your friends and contacts' experience of trying to reach you. It switches communication from being device-centric to being person centric, and your network - your social graph - is already locked away in the cloud, ready to spring into life on any device you choose.

Facebook is making a stealth pivot into a new part of our lives, just as its competitors are struggling to catch up to where it is now. Zuckerberg's baby is going to be a hard one to catch...

Niching the social network

SAY Media declares that this has been the year of the niche social network:

There was a time when the conventional wisdom said that there was no need for any social network other than Facebook; those days are long gone. Now that Facebook has become a wasteland of app invites, political shouting, and re-shared pictures of kittens for literally everyone and their mothers, it has come to pass that people want social networks centered around a shared interest or community.

This was inevitable. Just as we saw with blogs and forums back in the day, the tendency is for these things to fragment into smaller groups around inch interests over time. The internet still remains the place where a million niches bloom, rather than a land of giants.

SAY has a list of nine small networks that prove its point

Meaning - the man without e-mail

Luis Suarez

Nearly four years ago I liveblogged Luis Suarez talking about his nine-month old project to abandon e-mail. How's it going, after nearly five years? Well, he's still not using e-mail, and he hasn't been sacked yet, and he's lost a load of weight, based on photos from the two events...

His talk was as much an interaction with the audience as a talk, and not really a great opportunity to liveblog - but here are my notes:

  • 71% of the employee workforce is totally disengaged. 7/10 don't give a shit about you. Employees are not their to do your work, but their work. This is your problem
  • We're going to stop using e-mail to bully, to build power, to cover our arses. Half of some employees' workday goes to e-mail. What a waste.
  • By dropping e-mail, he's both challenged the status quo, and shown people a better way of working through being open on the network. Four years ago, everyone thought he would be fired. Now, he's featured in their video adverts for their social business offerings.
  • He believes in what he's doing, he owns his work. He lives in his networks.
  • He gives a shit about what he does.
  • Define how addicted you are to e-mail. Resist the urge to respond to e-mail. Inbox zero is bullshit. It doesn't exist. Break the fucking chain.

And that was that. Now I suppose I ought to write something about what I took away from the day...

MySpace is rebooting

It's always worth bearing in mind that new developments in the social web rarely completely erase those that went before. MySpace is planning a revamp that looks like a tablet-ready Pinterest for music. 

Vapourware for now, but a promising rethink if it works...

Facebook's own reasoning for dumping the HTML5 wrapper app on iOS and going native:

By allowing us to write once and ship across multiple platforms, HTML5 has historically allowed us to keep the Facebook mobile experience current and widely available, and has been instrumental in getting us to where we are today. We chose to use HTML5 because not only did it let us leverage much of the same code for iOS, Android, and the mobile web, but it also allowed us to iterate on experiences quickly by launching and testing new features without having to release new versions of our apps.

So while utilizing web technology has allowed us to support more than 500 million people using Facebook on more than 7000 supported devices, we realized that when it comes to platforms like iOS, people expect a fast, reliable experience and our iOS app was falling short. Now that our mobile services had breadth, we wanted depth. So, we rewrote Facebook for iOS from the ground up (I really did open up Xcode and click "New Project") with a focus on quality and leveraging the advances that have been made in iOS development.

The whole thing is an interesting read, even for the non-techie. 

Richard Stacy on predictions that social media is failing (woe! woe! woe!):

Is it a failure of social media, or is it a failure of marketing to adapt itself to work within social media.  In my view it is the later.  As I never tire of saying, social media is a completely different space with a new set of rules.  You cannot drag traditional one-to-many mass marketing approaches into social media and expect that they will work.  Cue favourite analogy: if tradition media / marketing is the land then social media is the sea.  It is perfectly possible to operate in both environments provided you understand the difference. You can make a car that floats, as Top Gear are fond of showing us, but it is never going to be as effective in the water as a boat.

Here's what always happens:

  1. Some cool new online thing is invented
  2. Hobbyists do great things with it
  3. Specialists do interesting things with it
  4. The mainstream piles in, grafting it on top of their existing processes
  5. Noise levels shoot out of control, stunts no longer get attention
  6. Mainstream declares it a failure, and moves on to next cool thing
  7. Specialists and hobbyists continue doing interesting new things

Remember all the "blogging is dead" stuff that came out 18 months ago? That's stage six at work. We're at stage five with Facebook/Twitter right now. 

Google's Matthew Leske:

We wanted to make these live hangout concerts sound more like the stage, so today we're rolling out Studio Mode. As a musician, all you need to do is start your Hangout On Air, click settings, and switch from Voice to Studio Mode.

Studio Mode optimizes your individual audio for music instead of conversation, and no else needs to change a thing!

Hangouts remain the stand out feature of Google+, and they're making them ever better - stereo music Hangouts? Yes, please. 

cory haik of the Washington Post

Cory Haik, executive producer, The Washington Post - @coryhaik

What does she do?

They're always in beta - iterating, prototyping, liveblogging, et al. They're trying to deliver strong, dynamic journalism to readers where they are - and that's why they need to keep experimenting and innovating. 

They have a local audience - and an international one. They're busy - but they're defiantly shipping.

They're focused on things like mobile, social, data, partnerships and community/engagement.

The @mentionmachine monitors Twitter for mentions of candidates. It appears at the bottom pf page, showing how many mentions of the US presidential candidates have appeared over the last 24 hours. You can click through to dig into the data - and it was an in-house build. They like to think its raising awareness of social as a critical part of reporting in both the newsroom and amongst the audience.

Social Reader - frictionless sharing! It invites you to discover what your friends are reading, and personalises based on your interests. When you opt into the app, you agree to share with Facebook, and the stories you read show up to your friends there. 

Data and open apis - White House Visitors Log: The Obama administration is the first to release this data, and they do it every month, with a three month delay. The WP built a tool on the API sharing the data allowing users to drill down by names or interests, and click through to the details. Their developers built a service that continually calls the government web service until they're up to date, which stores the data, and which only uses open source software. They intend to publish that service so others can use it.

"All the web will be the mobile web" An app they're proud of - the iPad Politics app. Polls, maps of where the latest adverts are appearing, and all the best expert commentary. Summaries of the stances of the candidates of major issues. They graphically display how candidate's position shift. Oh, and a historical record of who won ever state through every presidential election in US history.

Investigative journalism - capitol assets. Mapping earmarks for public money into particular schemes. You can drill down even to street level. It was "quite viral" when launched. 

Embracing and engaging in the conversation: Back in November, when the Republican nominations started, they asked users and reported to use instagram to take photos for the elections, using a particular hashtag. That led to hundreds of photos with date, time and geo-data. Socialcam - will be used by Washington Post reporters and readers to cover the Olympics - and will be displayed on the WP site through an API that SocialCam built from them. 

She was challenged by Marc from the BBC College of Journalism about "iFanism" - designing for the iPad and nothing else. "Responsive design is the answer to most of that, and that's where we're moving". They have a pretty good chance of being there in 2013. They aim to build for mobile first and allow the site to adapt upwards to larger screen sizes from there. 

She likes to think that she works with a "disruption layer" across the site. The kind of people that work in that need a varied skill set. Journalism first, an idea of how technology works on a conceptual level. They need people in the newsroom who can speak the language of developers. They're trying to integrate agile into the newsroom. They have a new mobile project coming that they've done in an agile way, and will launch in an iterative beta. The Post wants to talk to people interested in that. 

Google's Bradley Horowitz

Bradley Horowitz, Vice President, Product Management at Google is here to talk about Google+. Not very revealing, but some points emerged, 

  • Growth is good, but they didn't give details
  • They haven't reached the inflection point yet - but that takes years with social networks, he suggests
  • APIs are coming... But they're very cautious about pushing too much into Google+ and diminishing the experience.
  • Flipboard is a new partner, allowing you to access Google+ in Flipboard.
  • They're very happy with hangouts. They LOVE hangouts. They keep talking about them...
  • Kraft have been active on Google+ through the Cadbury's brand. They're one of the biggest conumser brands on there with 1.6m people putting Cadbury's in circles. They've passed Barak Obama.

Neville Hobson is on stage in a Google+ hangout - he asks about Google+ and its potential use in enterprise. Horowitz thinks the enterprise use case is a fantastic opportunity for Google+ - a perfect complement for Google+ "the virtual water cooler, to Hangouts for small team collaboration". People are using it this way already, but it's too hard right now. They're focusing on it. 

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver and Kevin Systrom have got to know each other through photos - Instagram photos, specifically. They've got to know about each other's families, about tastes in beer...

Twitter is great for getting messages out there and stirring the post, suggests Oliver. It's also good for engaging local communities. Facebook is like a websites, and people scratch deeper there. Instagram is an "amazing was of democratising being creative". There's something about weds that scan be quite poisonous - it's very bitchy. Jamie has so many followers, he gets worried if he doesn't get thousands of likes quickly. And he finds the press don't steal Instagram images as much as they do TwitPics. 

Kevin finds that brands who are most "true" on Instagram get the most engagement. He recommends that you follow Burberry on INstagram to see how to do it well. 

Jamie thinks Pinterest "makes crap look good". He uses it, but it bores him. He spends about 15 minutes a day scanning through social media stuff - but he has a digital team.  The stuff that works is emotion and recipes. "The internet is about being generous" he suggests - the make-up girl at Le Web has bought none of his books - she gets the recipes from the internet. But he think it all contributes to the sales. 

Kevin Systrom and Jamie Oliver at Le web

Jamie likes being able to delete "junk" comments on Instagram, but dislikes the "trail of shite" that idiots leave behind on Twitter. He praises Instagram for leaving an open API to allow other people to build businesses on top of the services, particularly around printing and making of physical goods. Jamie Describes this as a "generous spirit". Neither of them are convinced that video has been done right yet, but they think there's a possibility there. Kevin suggests the value of Jamie teaching you how cook an omelette, but Jamie thinks it would have to be very short. 

Never Seconds - a blog written by a nine year old girl about school dinners - was a good trigger point for restarting a discussion about nutrition in schools, that Jamie's team were able to take advantage of. Pink slime was another campaign they for behind and got trending quickly. 

"The food industry is as corrupt and filthy as the arms industry," says Jamie. He thinks the only hope is digital, because it allows communities to come together. The media can be fantastic he suggests - if they want to be. But the campaigning they do allow them to aggregate communities. The problem with measurement is that  "nobody does anything with it". He'll leave that to others. 

"Boobs, pretty girls and dogs" is what's popular on Instagram suggests Jamie. Kevin shifts the conversation swiftly to the idea that "honest" photos work, but they need to find better ways of creating channels of related content. Jamie points out that budgets for broadcast TV are massively down - 40 to 45% down, but new sources of money are emerging from places like YouTube. 

More details of the session from Arne