Tag Archives: Social network

“Sorry, I’m Not on Facebook”

21 Feb

‘Sorry, I’m Not on Facebook: The Reality Show’

Scene: A busy New York City street during the evening rush hour

Cast of Characters: JustAllie and her co-worker C; millions of busy New Yorkers rushing from here to there; an old friend

‘Sorry, I’m Not on Facebook’:

C and JustAllie, engrossed in conversation, are walking down a busy Manhattan street when C suddenly looks up and starts shouting ‘Hey! Hey Man!’ to one of the countless New York commuters passing by on the street.  C stops mid stride and turns to walk towards one of the passerbys as he  continues to enthusiastically shout ‘hello!’ to him.  {JustAllie stands awkwardly to the side, paused in confusion}.  The man slowly turns around, a look of annoyance and confusion clearly written across his face.  As he turns towards C, his unpleasant look turns to one of recognition and  pleasant surprise, and his face breaks into a wide grin as he recognizes C.

The random commuter C has decided to shout at is not in fact, a random stranger, but an old colleague and friend of C.  The two exchange pleasantries and catch up on each other’s lives since they last saw each other- was it the concert two years ago or that mutual friend’s wedding three years ago?  The chit chat continues for a few minutes until the old friend glances at his watch and exclaims that he is going to miss his train if he doesn’t get going.  He says he’s loved running into C and suggests they grab a beer sometime, and asks C for his information.  C checks his briefcase and wallet for a business card, as does the friend.  Neither can find one, so C says- don’t worry I’ll find you on Facebook.  The friend looks at him and says, Sorry, I’m not on Facebook- what’s your number?’

They shake hands and C and JustAllie continue walking one way while the friend heads the other way, both parties rejoining the countless other New York commuters eager to arrive at their evening destinations.  C and JustAllie pick up their conversation from pre-friend run-in, but JustAllie is distracted… she’s ruminating on the idea that C’s friend- who, by any outworldly observation, is a successful New York businessman with basic social skills (and not some guy living under a technology rock)…  still isn’t on Facebook.

End Scene: C and JustAllie go their separate ways, and we’re left with JustAllie standing at an intersection with a dumbfounded look on her face.  Cabs and pedestrians whiz by as if in super-sonic speed while JustAllie seems to be stuck in slow motion.  The camera comes in for a close up, and we see JustAllie mouthing the words, Sorry, I’m not on Facebook?’ while slowing shaking her head in disbelief and confusion.

To Be Continued…

Get MTV on the phone, stat! This reality show is sure to be an instant hit (and so much better than Skins).  The intrigue, the drama, the suspense! How can this man socialize without social networks? Will he ever join Facebook? Can C and JustAllie reconnect with other friends outside of using their social networks, or was this just one random occurrence?   If this man isn’t on Facebook, is he on Twitter?  How does he survive not knowing his Klout score, and even more shocking- how could C and JustAllie even deem to talk to him not knowing his Klout score?

<now go back and read that last paragraph again- but this time, make sure it’s with lots and lots of sarcasm>

It’s hard not to get caught up in theI love social media- and everybody’s doing it- bubble.’ The stats alone are staggering- in 2010, Facebook was the most visited website in 2010, (Hitwise) 1 out of every 8 minutes online were spent on Facebook, (Comscore) and  100 million new users signed up for Twitter (Twitter).  In 2010 in the US, 9 out of every 10 Internet users visited a social networking site each month, and time spent on social networking sites accounted for 14.4% of Americans’ (aged 15+) total online time. (Comscore)

While I think we’d be fools to say that social media sites don’t offer a valuable conversation platform (for both individuals and companies), I think it’s important every now and then to take a deep breath, step back ,and detach ourselves from the ‘I love social media bubble. <And I say this as a huge advocate of social networks>.

What about the 1 out of every 10 Internet users that don’t visit a social networking site each month?  Are they any less ‘social‘ because they don’t have 600 friends on Facebook, or any less ‘influential‘ because they don’t have a Klout score of 70+?  And what about that 85.6% of time that wasn’t spent on social networking sites– was this time any less ‘social‘?  Or what about the time that wasn’t spent online at all– was there any ‘social networking‘ happening then?

‘Social networking’ isn’t new, and the first social ‘network’ started long before the Internet was born.  But as the adoption of technology has changed how we live our lives (from play, to work, to education, to socializing…), the concept of ‘social networking’ has also evolved, making way for these online ‘social’ platforms to become a part of our ‘personal/business/political/advertising/etc. conversations.

We’ve seen how social networks can be a powerful tool in our personal/business/political/etc conversations- one example that immediately comes to mind: the recent Egyptian revolt.  Did the use of social networks start the uprising in Egypt? No.  Did social media play a role in mobilizing and  accelerating cohesive action? Yes, I believe so.

But the protesters in Egypt- were they sitting at home, on the computer, posting status updates or tweeting about the revolution? Were they worried about how many ‘fans’ they had on their ‘Down with Mubarak’ Facebook group page? Did they care how the revolution was affecting their Klout score on Twitter? Or were they out being social, and being part of a network: protesting in the streets?

Yes, online social networking platforms can be very powerful tools- but stepping outside of the ‘I love social media bubble’, we can’t forget that relationships exist offline, and it’s what happens both on and offline that create the entire social/political/business/advertising/etc conversation.  ‘Social media’ is just one piece of the pie, as is bumping into someone on the street– and every interaction that we have, both on and offline, defines the complete conversation.

While the stats behind social networking sites are staggering, and there is no denying that social media is and will continue to be a part of the <social/business/political/advertising/etc.> conversation, I think we need to remember two things about social media: 1) in the long run, the basic premise behind social media is to provide a platform for people to interact and connect with each other, and these connections should be enhancing the overall conversation, not distracting from it and 2) there’s a large portion of the population that mostly or only socialize outside of social media networks.

So take a deep breath and step away from the ‘social media’ bubble for a minute- are you really connecting with others online? Are your interactions/connections on social networks enhancing the overall conversation or detracting from it?  Does it really matter what your Klout score on Twitter is, or what your ‘friend count’ is on Facebook?  In the end, I think it all boils down to the act of being social- being part of the conversation— and you can be social and be a part of the conversation without participating in ‘social networks.’ And remembering that participating in social networks could actually hurt your conversations if you live only inside of the bubble– for example, if Egyptians had only tweeted about the government, nothing would have happened.  It was the action outside of the social media network that really mattered.  It’s a balancing act- online social networking platforms can only work in tandem with offline social networking platforms.  Don’t become so ‘social’ in the social media bubble that you forget the importance of being ‘social’ offline!

And don’t forget to look up from time to time while you’re walking down a busy street- you don’t want to miss the social networking opportunities!

(I was going to make an awful joke about social networking platforms and the subway platform being one of these social platforms, but I refrained so you’d revisit JustAllie :))

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A New Type of Street Team

1 Feb

Can we use social media to redefine a b(r)and’s ‘street team?’

Street Team: A dedicated fan of a band (or brand) who decides, by simple virtue of liking a band (or brand), that they will take it upon themselves to help promote their favorite band (or brand)… for free or minimal return.  A member of a street team could promote a band (or brand)by distributing promotional materials , tacking up fliers to promote an upcoming show, call radio stations to request songs by their favorite band, post to online message boards, etc… and in return? Eh, maybe some free swag or early access to ticket sales…basically nothing compared to the virtually free promotion/advertising (and largely in the trusted word-of-mouth advertising form at that!)  by your biggest band (or brand) advocates.

Sweet deal for the band (or brand), right?

And why would a fan want to be a member of a ‘street team?’   Because they want to feel like they’re a part of something.  Because the (minimal) return- say, a sweatshirt exclusively available to members of the street team- is an exciting and rewarding incentive.  Because they just love the band (or brand).

What if we tweaked the idea of a ‘street team’ by asking our tried and true, loyal brand advocates to be our ‘street team’… instead of waiting for these fans to come to us?

Social media makes it extremely easy for a brand to identify their most loyal and dedicated fans- so why not ask these fans, who are already talking about your brand just because they love it , to help you out with promotions/advertising? Here’s a golden opportunity for a brand to connect with fans and  show them they’re appreciated…. and here’s the opportunity to create a new kind of street team.

So what do we need to create this new street team from social media fans?

DATA! Don’t run away yet- you’ll be shocked at just how simple (and inexpensive) it is to get information about a brand’s fans on social media sites.  Two examples of extremely easy tools:

1. Rowfeeder: lets you  ‘track Tweets and Facebook posts in a spreadsheet… We provide raw data, with no bells and whistles, in a format that fits existing workflows – spreadsheets’ (via crunchbase)

Ok, thanks for the data, but how is it useful? A company can look at trending of posts/tweets–> are there a few fans/twitterers who mention the brand over and over in a positive manner?  Also included in the data- information the fan/twitterer has already provided about themselves (twitter bio, etc)- a brand can see if these loyal fans/twitterers have personal blogs, how many followers they have… IE how large of a network they’re reaching with every Facebook post or tweet.

And the cost? Free for tracking one term, $35 a month for tracking up to 3 terms and 5,000 comments/tweets.  And the most premium package listed on Rowfeeder‘s site? $255 a month for up to 10 terms and 50,000 comments/tweets. Wowzers.  That’s a lot of valuable data for not a lot of cash.

2.  Topsy: ‘indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain queried…Topsy displays realtime results for related terms & articles, trending topics, identifies experts (influencers) for any queried term and shows you trackback pages for everything in its index, displaying what everyone is saying about that query. (via Topsy about us page) a

Ok, there’s the data. Tell me why I should care. The results are in realtime, and Topsy not only lists tweets about the search term, the site also lists results from all over the web.  The most useful information (for my current purposes) is the ‘expert’ information, a listing of everyone who has tweeted the search term, with a count of how many times they’ve tweeted that search term.

And the cost? Free as far as I can tell.

(And that’s just two of the simple, inexpensive social media analytic tools available for anyone to use)

So now that we know how to get information about who mentions a brand/tweets about a brand, etc, what do we do with it?  How can we create a new ‘street team’ from this information set?

Let’s say a cable channel wanted to amp up promotion for the return of a popular series. The channel thinks that by reaching out to fans and by asking them to tweet about the show, post comments to their facebook page, or even blog about the show, they can increase the reach of their promotion efforts.  And by employing the fans who are already mentioning/tweeting about their love of the show/channel- the cable channel can simultaneously say ‘thank you’ to these loyal fans and ’employ’ them to continue to keep spreading positive sentiment about the show/channel.

To start, the cable channel used one of the tools listed above (or both, or multiple other ones) to identify their loyal fans. All they did was type in a key search phrase- the name of the show, or a popular character on the show, or even just the name of the cable channel itself, and track the data for a few days.  Once the cable channel had an adequate sample size, they analyzed the data to see which fans/twitterers had been the most active around the search term.

After taking out comments from ‘verified’ accounts, (for example, FOX wouldn’t want to count the @gleeonfox twitter account as a brand advocate as the account is a corporate, and not personal account) the cable channel identified a handle of users who were frequent (and positive!) mentioners of the search term.

Now that the cable channel has identified a collection of loyal fans, let’s turn these fans into our new ‘street team:’

First, the channel should immediately thank these fans for being such loyal devotees of the channel/show!  The channel could send these fans a message/send them schwag from their favorite show/anything to show these fans they care!  And to get these fans to become the new ‘street team’ and get them to help promote the returning series? The cable channel could send the fans an advance preview tape of the premiere episode and ask them to tweet about it, ask the fans to attend a press screening and tweet/blog about the experience, have a few fans do an interview with the stars of the show and post the interview to the web…

Are you noticing a trend with the possibilities for the new street team? Advance preview tapes, special screenings, exclusive interviews… hmm… all activities traditionally reserved for the ‘press.’  And the point of these efforts?  To get the show featured on the ‘what to watch this week section’ of the newspaper, for Matt & Meredith to talk about the show on the Today show, to have pictures of the  show’s stars in the next issue of People magazine.  And while these (and other) traditional outlets are still very important in a show’s promotion, why not give loyal fans the same opportunity?

What do you think- can companies/brands ’employ’ these already loyal fans on social media sites as a new type of ‘street team? ‘

Twitterific

7 Dec

: a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. (thanks Twitter about us page!)

I have a bit of an odd relationship with technology.  On one hand, I’m quite the laggard.  Oh I’m geeked out by the latest and greatest, but I’ll never own the newest and greatest gadget (my current computer is going on it’s 5th year).  And on the other hand, I’m completely fascinated by technology, and couldn’t be a bigger tech-evangelist WHEN it comes to seeing how the intersection of the traditional/’old school’ and technology helps to move various industries forward.  (Recent examples I’m just blown away by: Art more readily available to everyone via the iPad, professors using twitter in classroom discussion to enhance the learning experience, and Animal Planet’s charity drive with donations directly linked to program viewership).  I guess you could say I’m not going to be impressed by technology just for technology’s sake– it’s gotta be cool and beneficial for me to be really interested.

Think of technology as cool vs. beneficial as a traditional cost/benefit analysis (remember, I’m a total research nerd).  And technology for technology’s sake just isn’t cut it in a cost/benefit analysis.   Sure, I’d love a new computer or iPad (or just a new powercord at this point), but I can’t justify the purchase.  Why?  The expense far outweighs the practical benefits.  The functions I need a computer for- Excel, Powerpoint, Internet Browsing- can all be done relatively well on my old clunker.  I just don’t need a better one.  Besides looking great and perhaps not catching on fire (true story, my current computer has caught on fire and is somehow still fully functional), the cost would far outweigh the practical benefits for me at this point in my life.  A new computer wouldn’t move me forward in any way other than ‘cool’ factor.  Of course, if I decide to become, say, a graphic designer, the cost/benefit ratio will change and I will need more functionality.  That shiny new computer and new technology capabilities changes from just being ‘cool’ to ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial’— the technology jackpot in my opinion.

So what technology is topping my list as ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial?’  TWITTER.  And in the larger scheme of things, SOCIAL MEDIA.

Why I think Twitter is ‘cool:’

1.  It’s Easy and Convenient. Say something in 140 characters? Done in the blink of an eye.  Create lists so I can follow all the headlines I want in one place? Done in an instant.  Want to tweet from your computer? Your phone? Your iPad? Shoot, you could even tweet from the bathroom! Twitter is just so easy to use, it’s hard not to be impressed.

2.  It’s Free. Yep, in the world of overpriced gadgets and gizmos, Twitter is 100% free.  Even if you don’t own a computer or a cell phone, there’s always a public library/work computer to use.  I have access to all this great information for absolutely nothing.

3.  It Allows for Tremendous Access and for Network Expansion. On what other platform can I communicate directly and as easily with a top marketing exec or with someone from a different country? And for free? And in real time? And here’s the shocker– the response rate is great and Twitter actually allows for a true two-way real time conversation.  There’s no way that I would meet even half of the people I follow in mere months if I was trying to track them down in person or by phone, email, etc.  And going back to the ease point– it’s easy for someone to shoot off a quick 140 character response.  It’s harder to find an extra 15 min in the day to talk to someone.

So there’s the ‘cool’ factor recapped.  But how can this ‘coolness’ benefit the advertising industry (personally I think Twitter has huge potential for almost every industry, but just for modeling purposes lets stick to advertising)?  Let’s wrap all the ‘coolness‘ factors together–Twitter is easy, convenient, free, and a ‘networking’ tool… hmm networking you say?

Why I think Twitter/social media can be beneficial to the advertising industry:

Networking is the key to why I think Twitter/social media is beneficial to the advertising industry.  Twitter’s networking capability is an example of how the intersection of the traditional (networking, ie people connecting with people) with technology (Internet) can move the advertising industry forward.  We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly busier/faster/more cluttered, which in turn is making it harder and harder for advertisers to really connect with consumers– and for consumers to feel like a part of the conversation.  But Twitter is a ‘cool‘ and ‘beneficial‘ technology that provides advertisers with an easy, convenient, and real time network to (re)connect with consumers–

–So why are advertisers so resistant to including Twitter and social media as a viable and valuable advertising tool?  Isn’t the idea of advertising to engage and connect with consumers?  Here’s a great platform that gives advertisers the opportunity to have a one-on-one, two way conversation with their consumers, coupled with the fact that Twitter is easy to use, convenient, and free.  And the ironic part of it all? Twitter (and modeled to social media) broken down to the basics, taken from the about us section of Twitter: a real-time information network that connects you (whether it be on the advertiser end or the consumer end) to [information/people/the world around you]. That’s actually a really old, traditional concept- people connecting with other people.  So really, the joke’s on the advertiser if they continue to resist the change- since Twitter and social media is just the intersection of the traditional with technology.  The benefits of Twitter/social media far outweigh the costs- why not??

Your thoughts- what else can advertisers do with the intersection of the traditional with technology?  What other technologies are ”cool’ and ‘beneficial’ that could move the advertising industry forward?

Update: This nerd just can’t get enough– an example of an advertiser that GETS IT: Gatorade –> ‘The company recently created the Gatorade Mission Control Center inside of its Chicago headquarters, a room that sits in the middle of the marketing department and could best be thought of as a war room for monitoring the brand in real-time across social media.’ (from mashable, full article here)

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