A Few on Evolution – focus on Social …

The discussion has been long lived and still thrive… quite a bit of interesting stories floating around out there in the cloud. Thought I share some I find interesting and start an new series on the evolution of the internet, split into different focus… I’ll start with the social side (media, network etc.). If you have more, which I have no doubt, please share in the comments.

Some outtakes of Disruptive Media Conference 08 (nr 2). Thanks to Björn Falkevik blog for the videos.

Keynote: Neville Hobson on Achieving measurable business results with social media

“Against a backdrop of changing behaviors in society and shifting climates of trust in the workplace, Neville Hobson illustrates what some organizations are doing with social media and how they are achieving measurable business results.”
Some interesting stuff in there with references to “the other” big social networks.

Presentation on SlideShare

Nr1

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Nr2

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“Mediebyråns roll när medielandskapet förändras”
Fredrik Svensson, Creative Director at Starcom, speakes about the changing landscape for media companies and where social media plays a big part. It is all about a good idea, good collaboration between agencies/disciples, to involve the consumer and to see social media as a partner. Some good cases form Svenskafans.com, Guitar Hero and Wesec.com among other…  and its in Swedish…

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Trendspaning: Det är inte framtid. Det händer nu.

Det händer otroligt mycket i de digitala medierna just nu och 2008 kommer sannolikt bli ett år som kommer att kommas ihåg. Annika Lidne från Lidne Inc. guidar genom några av de större trenderna och mer populära tjänsterna och företeelserna.

Presentation on SlideShare

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Interessting small cut on contact points in the digital/socail space. Form the blog of Björn Falkevik.

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Social Media in Plain English

A Nice Conversation

This morning I spent two hours on the subject of IR (Investor Relation) and how it is impacted by the social shift online  (a breakfast seminar by Intellecta Corporate och SpareBank 1 Gruppen). IR is a new angel for me so I decided to check out what some experts had to say.

Must say that it was quite interesting listening with a great finish act by SB1. One thing that is similar to most corps, not surprising but non the less, is how this strict, controlled and number driven area of communication react when the social aspect is entered in to the equation. We have a scenario where traditional set ways meet conversation in a not so set way. And we get the now traditional “shit, they are talking to and about us.. shit, shit… what to do now” scenario. This is where one of the speakers form Intellecta (Elias Betinakis) ended his presentation of “what is web 2.0/sm and a lot of Twitter” with an excellent point – for the first time ever companies can actually be personal in their response. This was further discussed by the enthusiastic “Direktør Informasjon og samfunnskontakt” at SB1 – Christian Brosstad – where he encouraged to use common sens, your gut feeling and most importantly be nice and tell the truth. (find the presentation here)

See, it seems that this social thing turns out not to be so bad after all, it is just a conversation with people that actually care about your brand. And if you look at is closely, it is actually a great opportunity! a great opportunity to tell your story, be personal hens building real loyalty for your brand.

All in all a good start to a Thursday morning. Now lets see if I can make our (read: the company I work for) IR preform as well.

Fort the love of #*&%¤”!

I stress because I don’t blog, I get stressed if I blog because I don’t really have the time, I am stressed (well maybe more annoyed) because I have 20+ post almost ready but don’t get to finish them… and I really want to blog and twitter and … seriously! Time management is a b*¤#” isn’t it. Matt’s (techno//marketer) two hour minimum puts some light on the subject of how much time this social thing takes, must take, to work/be relevant/effective/be social. Talk to you all hopefully sooner then later 😉

Obama on CNN RSVP Facebook

Just RSVP:d to Barack Obama Inauguration on January the 20th via Facebook along with 500 000+ confirmed guests. This historic event will be streamed live at CNN.com Live. Another brilliant move on the part of Obama “marketing”, Facebook (use of Facebook Connect) and CNN.
See you all there…

Btw. check out the +54K comments, sorry, wall posts, they are both very entertaining and very scary…
– thanks to Johan for the heads up.

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Social and media

After contemplating on the use of a very popular social network for “my” new company and trying to find an ROI friendly and or a search friendly (I am the recruitment business…) and or a communication friendly angel, I found these two posts on the subject of the social media term.

The biggest problem I have with the term “social media” is that it isn’t media in the traditional sense. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all the others I don’t have the word count to mention aren’t media; they are platforms for interaction and networking. All the traditional media — print, broadcast, search, and so on — provide platforms for delivery of ads near and around relevant content. Social media are platforms for interaction and relationships, not content and ads. (Understanding and Aligning the Value of Social Media)

‘Who said this is media?’
He went on to apply a similar standard to the broader world of consumer-generated media. “I think when we call it ‘consumer-generated media,’ we’re being predatory,” he said. “Who said this is media? Media is something you can buy and sell. Media contains inventory. Media contains blank spaces. Consumers weren’t trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. … We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it.” (P&G Digital Guru Not Sure Marketers Belong on Facebook)

Think this a great way to approach the social online phenomenon, It is not a media it is a conversation. It can only be monetized if you allow for and join the conversation.

Unfortunately this did not help my contemplation, even added a few dimensions, but it is something to keep in mind. back to the drawing board.  

Still Unsocial

Illustration by Andre Metzger
Illustration by Andre Metzger

The internet “the old Web 2.0” is all about communication and openness, right? Hrm, I wonder why it is so hard to communicate and be open using it’s tools? Another great post on FC form Robert Scoble sighting Kevin Lynch, Adobe‘s CTO, form the company’s annual developers event. I will just regurgitate it here:

“Please say who you are, what you do, and how the Web is screwed up.” How’s that for an icebreaker? That was the way Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s CTO, grabbed his audience at the company’s annual developers event this year, throwing open a discussion about what we don’t like about the Web and what we’d like to see fixed.

My biggest problem with the Web? For all the cool things we can do, Internet breakthroughs don’t play well together — or even talk to one another. Ironic, no? The Internet, which is shorthand for “interconnected network” and is one of the most significant achievements in the history of communication, is often broken because applications don’t interact. We spend all our time hopping from one island of information to another, repeating the same tasks, costing ourselves and our businesses time and money. The good news is that, even as I complain, there are efforts under way to make things better.

Think about passwords — for your bank and your blog, Facebook and photo sharing, and on and on. We all know they are a pain to keep track of. Microsoft tried to fix this problem years ago — remember Passport? (shudder) — but people freaked because it was big, bad Bill Gates trying to take your Web data.

What’s going to save us from user name and password fatigue? OpenID. An open-source technology that gives users a portable, secure account, OpenID is accepted so far by almost 10,000 sites, and a grassroots effort has bubbled up such that Google and, yes, Microsoft are among its supporters. Site operators who add OpenID will save users frustration — and save themselves money, because they won’t lose customers for no good reason.

Let’s go beyond passwords. Imagine having to create basic information — such as your contact particulars, calendar items, and so forth — only once, and then reusing these bits as needed around the Web. That’s the formatting promise behind the so-called semantic Web. It’s great to see this initiative being embraced by the likes of Amazon and Yahoo!. But it’s hardly ubiquitous — yet.

None of that will cure my headache with the Web 2.0 community. If you use more than one social tool and want to change some universal bit of personal data, you have to update over and over at each service. Want to change your email address or photo and then notify your friends about the update? Put on a pot of coffee and set aside an afternoon.

I get why fierce rivals like MySpace and Facebook don’t want to cooperate. But a number of the social tools Yahoo has under its own umbrella — Flickr‘s photo sharing, Upcoming’s events calendar, Del.icio.us‘s bookmarks, Bix‘s contests — don’t even communicate with one another.

Thankfully, the folks over at DataPortability.org are working with social-networking outfits to get them to adopt the existing technologies that will let users share data between sites. But it’s not going to be easy. I got into a bit of trouble with Facebook not too long ago when I experimented with an unreleased tool from Plaxo, a popular online address book and calendar. The app pulled names, email addresses, and birthdays from the profiles of my Facebook friends to see if they’re also Plaxo members. Facebook kicked me off (but later reactivated my account).

That kind of nonsense is wearying and expensive. The Internet has already exploded many notions about business. It’s time that we stop hoarding customers and their information in silos for fear of them straying. If you love them, set them free.

Spot on… All these social tools that supposedly are for communication fighting to be closed. Is there something wrong with this picture? Need to find a happy medium here, where the person (user) can move seamlessly between different niche social networks/apps. It will benefit all in the end. Will lead to more use and open for more communication. Seriously don’t hold on to a old business model while trying to push the envelope with new innovation. Don’t forget to support technology you feel will help solve this closed world. Talking will make a difference…

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Understand. Act. in that order

Collaboration

AdAge on Separating Brilliance From Blabber. A round the table discussion with some heavy weight bloggers/marketers (Power 150 network) on the subject of making sense of the shift in relationships between the consumers, brands, marketers and media. Brilliant conversation on the subject with maybe a not so surprising outcome which I have tried to capture below.

So the game is changing (yes yes we all know this…), but the large media/ad shops are still ignoring (yes they now have digital departments, but come on)… How do we educate to change the mid set…

“You’ve got to be ahead of what we’re doing. You’ve got to educate the agencies, because they’re the ones who for now are buying a lot of your advertising. So how do you help them see the next best thing? Blogging is going to be superseded by something bigger and better, and people like you, editors, need to know what that is. Because it’s going to bubble up from the people” – Lewis Green of Biz Solutions Plus.

Yep, got to be at least on game, well preferably ahead and know your stuff. The web thing is not that new anymore, so one should know this. The social aspect maybe new, but anyone with a little vision can see the potential in this for both brands and media… why then are we struggling here? It is all about the education, correction, all about the right persuasion tactics… One need to sell this in the right way… for the VP’s there is one way, for the media companies there is another and so on (hey sounds like advertising to me). Like Green and Howard points out.

“I came out of the corporate world as VP of marketing, and I’m not going to do any of the things you guys are suggesting, as a VP of marketing, because you haven’t told me how that gives me more customers. I only care about social media if it helps me to create more loyal customers. As a VP of marketing for a major brand, I don’t care about filtering and aggregating, and I don’t care whether you give me a link or not.”Lewis Green.

“The conversation that needs to be had with big brands is this: They are looking at how media is changing, they are talking about fragmentation, about spend, about all these things. That’s not the game. The game is that behaviors are changing. So the discussion we generally get into is to focus on understanding the shift in behavior. Once we start to understand the shift in behavior, then we can start talking about things like context and relevance, which is really what we’re talking about.” Sean Howard of Livingston Buzz

Only when one has understanding one can reap the benefits (that sounds very zen, but not a quote:). There are lots of great people out there that has full understanding of this, so  persuade without steeping on peoples feet. Aha, there lies another dilemma, the egos. As pointed out by Dickman:

“The other conversation inside the agencies that I’m seeing now is there’s so much confusion. Really, because the PR shops, Fleishman, Ogilvy and all those guys are doing the digital stuff, but the client may have a digital agency, and then they have an ad agency that also has a digital group, and there’s all this confusion on who has control of that space. And it’s worse for the client, the marketer. Trying to educate them on how to deal with that situation to get the most out of their money — it’s very confusing.”  Matt Dickman of Technomarketer.

Adaption without full knowledge. Noted that many of the larger shops get good people joining but many of the clients don’t, to many players syndrome. Hard pressed to find a solution here, but believe that it is good with separated disciplines, have specialists on each subject. This is especially true for fields that are constantly evolving. Important is that these specialist have a 360 view on what they do, so opportunities do not get lost in narrowness. Integrated com, optimal use of all channels – done by specialist in respective fields. So let’s put egos aside. Less confusion and better communication…
Good point also by Green on where this will happen (quickest).

“The Fortune 500 is never going to lead anything. The Fortune 500 [are] going to be the last adapters. I work with what I would call midsize companies ($100 million companies). It’s uphill with their marketing people, but they are willing to listen because their margins are thinner, and some are public and some aren’t. And that’s where I think we have to do a better job. Because it’s not going to come down from above. It isn’t. The Apples and IBMs and Microsofts — when the time comes, they are going to do the mergers and acquisitions to get what we’re all talking about.” Lewis Green.

Warping this up – educated persuasion with friendly collaboration between specialist from the ground up… I love to here your thoughts on this subject.

Monetize and Provide

An interesting post form Tom Hespos (Underscore Marketing) iMedia – on how to provide relevant ads to users of aggregated feed services such as FriendFeed.

Now here’s my assessment of the company’s opportunity.

FriendFeed aggregates many important data points about lifestyle and interest. Thus, it could become a very powerful behavioral marketing play. This wouldn’t be the place for demographically targeted brand advertising, or for FreeCreditReport.com to whack prospects over the head with direct response ads.

It would, however, be a good place for ads targeted by interest. Perhaps when someone reads that a friend posted a link to a product, or commented on a story about said product, or otherwise interacted with it, there would be an opportunity for a targeted online ad, once FriendFeed observed an interest in it.

For instance, if Jim Meskauskas twittered a link to a blurb about the new season of “Battlestar Galactica,” and I followed that link, I might start seeing ads for tune-in in my feed. In this way, targeted advertising would not only be able to inform, but it also could amplify viral effects, and we could avoid much of the criticism of online ads by steering clear of the shotgun approach. 

I see an interesting ad play here, provided it’s managed such that the ads are kept relevant.

Agree in general – a good way of delivering ads here is to react on behavior and provide relevant ads/links. I would find it very annoying though to find ads floating around my feeds, even if relevant. These services are meant to be an overview of what is going on in your social sphere, clutter free… not filled with relevant ads…
Now, there is a big opportunity here – a endless sea of user behavioral data, both social and private – which can’t be ignored and must make money at some point (sorry to say, but that is the reality).  In my opinion, we now have a chance to do something more and move along relevant ad serving.
A thought: we have the data and can attach this to some sort of promotion or brand, the questions is then how? Without being intrusive and add to the clutter. Thinking of in post linking – once an interests is identified one get links (ad served) added to relevant key words in the post and / or at the bottom, this is for both own and friends posts. As in the example above,  Battlestar Galactica and a new season, when a key word relating to BG in your next posts appears, they are now linked to the new season site. You might also find links at the bottom of the post that links to complete previous season available for download on… or DVD. Should also add an link preview to this, you know rollover bubble of info on link (nice place for graphic as well). This I feel would eliminate the ads floating around (- clutter) and give relevant links to the specific interesting content right where you read… Thoughts? 

The Social Reach Game

The question on the table is – how to communicate to the social crowd in a ROI friendly way? Answer as always, meet them at the right frame of mind with the right information… Easy? not really, there’s a lot of metrics involved here. But now when companies are starting to specialized in targeting the social internet, collecting and evaluating all this valuable social behavioral data, this country road is quickly turning into a highway for advertisers/publishers/etc. It is all about user behavior, what are you doing and how much are you contributing.
Found this article form AdAge on the subject, well more like pr gig for a new startup, either way some interesting cases in there.
Side note – checking out the Lotame site I noticed something very interesting – their use of video. Video is good and it ads to the conversation, agreed… but when used just because… for example check out the company section and look at the video about user interaction, 22 sec of what? and you have to click to get more info… this is a royal pain. You are there to get a quick overview of the company and get videos that say nada and have to click for more… feel very much like a case of video for the sake of video. A quick text overview and some video that give more insight might would work here, thank you.

Where to converse?

On the topic of social media or conversational media and advertising… Slowly but surely the conversation on-line is changing form a one way to two way thought the adaption of social media and blogs. People or the consumer are encouraged to give feedback and start a dialog with their favorite brands. After reading a article form Steve Rubel (Ad-adge) – where he talks about the feedback trend that catching on and then questions why this conversation has not made it to advertising – it struck me, should a conversation relay be in the advertising? Should advertising really be two way? There has been some attempts trying to get the consumer involved in the advertising by asking for their help or adding questionnaires to the banners etc… but I can not remember one being a home run (am I wrong?). It is great to have the consumer interact with the brand but is its place in the advertising. I do not think this approach is the right. Believe the purpose of the add should be to make the consumer curious about a brand, service or product. Once the attention is give, by the consumer, the opportunity for a beneficial (for both) and more relevant two way conversation is open. And the place for this is more likely the brand site, in the social networks or thought blogs (all versions). As the line between advertising and social conversation begins to blur even more there might be room for a slightly different approach but to make user to have a good conversation one need to make sure that the “right” consumer is involved and open to a conversation.