Tag Archives: Social network

Twitter Lists: We are informed by those we follow. We are defined by those who follow us.

“The power of Twitter is in the people you follow.”-@nytimes

You’ll find that quote at NYTimes.com/Twitter, where the New York Times has built a page of Twitter lists curated by its editors, its writers and, presumably, the help of its considerable audience.

As this feature has rolled out, I’ve read knee jerk criticism, thoughtful analysis, wild evangelizing and observed “lists of lists” be collected as sites like Listorious and Listatlas.com spring up to rank them.

Tech pundits and, rapidly, news organizations have all created lists that offer apply new taxonomies, imposed human-defined categories onto the roiling real-time tweetstream.

Readers are defined and informed by the diversity of the information sources that they consume. In a user-created Web, we are defined by those who choose to follow us, including any lists or tags that they associate with  our names.

It’s been exciting to watch. And if you’re a reader of David Weinberger, author of “Everything is Miscellaneous,” you might recognize this emergent behavior as a familiar phenomenon. Twitter users are using lists to organize one another into understandable taxonomies. Folksonomies, to use the term coined by Thomas Vander Wal.

Users have some control over which Twitter lists they appear upon. If you block a user, for instance, you can remove yourself from that user’s lists, if for some reason you don’t want to appear on it.

What we can’t control, once we make ourselves public there or elsewhere on the Web, is how others tag or list us.

This goes back to what Weinberger (along with Doc Searls, Rick Levine and Christopher Locke) wrote about in “The Cluetrain Manifesto” ten years ago. “Markets are conversations.”

I suspect that in the weeks ahead, both companies and individuals may find themselves on lists that they perhaps would not wish to define as part of their brand identities.

“I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member”

As I quote Groucho Marx, today, I feel fortunate, for two different reasons.

First, to date, I’ve been included on 176 lists, none of which I’m embarrassed or insulted to be on. You can see all of them at “memberships,” which is a friendly way of describing inclusion.

Thank you. I’m humbled.

Second, most of the lists are being used by an individual user to categorize others for providing particular sort of information.

Overall, I’m most closely associated with technology, journalism, security and media. That’s  a good sign, given my profession! I was glad to see that the account I maintain at work (@ITcompliance) has been added to 33 lists, primarily compliance, information security, cybersecurity and GRC.

I’m talking about the right things in the right places.

Certain lists, however, have meant that many more people reading me than would have otherwise because of the hundreds or thousands of people that have chosen to follow them, due to the influence of their creators.  I’m thinking about lists like these, some of which have gone on to become popular at Listorious.com.







Thank you, fellas.

Like any other tools, lists will no doubt be used for good and ill. An outstanding article by Megan Garber, “Fort Hood: A First Test for Twitter Lists” in the Columbia Journalism Review, shows how news organizations can leverage the feature to curate the real-time Web for the online audience.

The lists—which offer a running stream of information, updates, and commentary from the aggregated feeds—represent a vast improvement over the previous means of following breaking news in real time. In place of free-for-all Twitter hashtags—which, valuable as they are in creating an unfiltered channel for communication, are often cluttered with ephemera, re-tweets, and other noise—they give us editorial order. And in place of dubious sources—users who may or may not be who they say they are, and who may or may not be worthy of our trust—the lists instead return to one of the foundational aspects of traditional newsgathering: reliable sources. Lists locate authority in a Twitter feed’s identity—in, as it were, its brand: while authority in hashtagged coverage derives, largely but not entirely, from the twin factors of volume and noise—who tweets the most, who tweets the loudest—authority in list-ed coverage derives from a tweeter’s prior record. Making lists trustworthy in a way that hashtagged coverage simply is not.

Garber goes further in exploring what role lists may play in journalism’s future, as organizations collaborate with both their audience and one another in curating user-generated content. It’s a great piece. Pete Cashmore, of @mashable, has written more about this at CNN in “Twitter lists and real-time journalism.”

Individuals and news organizations alike can create lists as needed. For instance, as the House debates a historic health care bill here in Washington, you can follow the discussion at @Mlsif/healthdebatelive

As Cashmore points out, in the social, “people-centric Web,” we use our friends as a filter. As Paul Gillin observed,  everything that you’ve learned about SEO may be useless in a more social Web. Google’s new Social Search shows how, if we choose, our search results can be populated with content from our circle of friends.

On Twitter, we can now use the lists from trusted friends and news organizations to curate the real-time Web. That makes them useful, immediately.

And after a week full of public grief here in the U.S., that’s good news.


Filed under blogging, journalism, social bookmarking, social media, technology, Twitter

It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the connections.

Image by Amodiovalerio Verde via Flickr

Last night, I had a surprise:  my follower count on Twitter dropped by 148 in one fell swoop.

At first, I thought it was something I had tweeted – oversharing about the Forrester tweetup, or disinterest in sharing a clip of Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor. That didn’t jibe, however, with my gut.

What was inflammatory? What had I done that resulted in a huge loss of followers? As I drifted off to sleep, I thought: how important is this, really, in the grand scheme of things?

I’ve long since learned one hallmark of netiquette on Twitter (Twittiquette, if you will) was not to talk about one’s follower numbers. (If only I could retrieve some of the replies I received back in 2007 after doing so, I’d be thrilled. No good.)

A paraphrase of most of them essentially boiled down to this: are you here to get followers or here to connect?

It didn’t take long to see where the real value was. And, more than two years later, I’m elated to look back and see how many marvelous connections I’ve made, many of which have led to friendships offline. Why is that important?

For me, that’s a a simple answer: we live in a number-obsessed culture. Thinks about how many metrics we track, filter and can recall: poll numbers, net worth, MPG, CTR, Web uniques, 0-60 in __, GPA, APR, circulation, P/E ratios, DJIA, TCO, Mbps, R/W speed…on and on.

And, naturally, for those in the social networking world,we count subscribers,  friends and followers. I’ve received far too many messages and spam promising me thousands of followers if I use this software or that service.

Honestly, they all leave me with the taste of fermented cough syrup in my mouth, with a healthy side of cod liver oil.

It’s not about the numbers: it’s about the connections.

Every follower or friend I’ve made has been through a conscious choice or organic growth. I’m proud of that. I’ve done it in what I might term the “new-fashioned way,” using much the same approach that Chris Brogan describes in his Twitter FAQ: “be helpful, share, communicate, use @replies a lot.” I tend to attribute “by @username” or “via @” nearly as much as directly @reply these days but the sense is the same.

Yesterday, I met Josh Bernoff, co-author of Groundswell. I had dinner with Shava Nerad and her beau, “Fish Fishman,” with Laurel Ruma joining in a bit later. I saw dozens of other friends from the local social media scene at two different tweetups.

I shared some groundbreaking journalism tools and advice, like best practices for journalists curating the Web. I shared messages and stories with newsies at the New York Times, Guardian, Wired, Gizmodo, Slate, The Register,The Center for Democracy & Technology and many others.

I read Stephen Baker on what may become of BusinessWeek and Bernard Lunn on creative destruction in publishing

I shared a lovely bit of science fiction made real, via the irrepressible Steve Garfield, watching the latest in augmented reality:

I reviewed my sources, notes and interviews from a conference earlier this week and wrote an article. I enjoyed a two hour workshop with my colleagues, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of our journalism. I even enjoyed a late night cocktail with someone I love deeply.

In all of that, what does a dip in follower numbers mean? Not a helluva lot.

And, as it turns out, the scuttlebutt that Twitter is doing another purge of spammers and bots, a process that I recall from last year as well. My existential angst was unwarranted, my concern without merit – but the thought process and recounting it led me to was worth it.

I’m proud of my connections and my friends, of the social news network we’re all collaborating upon, and up the quality of the communication within it. I’m glad to bring it with me to Washington in a few short weeks.

The spammers can go live on whatever lower circle of digital Hades is reserved for ’em.

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Top 50 Twitter Acronyms, Abbreviations and Initialisms

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

This past January,  I wrote up the “Top 15 Twitter acronyms” for @pistachio‘s Touchbase blog. As readers rightly pointed out, many were abbreviations or initialisms – hence the title for this post. I followed that up with a “Top 10 NSFW Twitter Abbreviations.” This list combines the two, and includes key additions like HT, RE and FML. If you have others you think I missed, please add ’em in the comments – and follow me on Twitter!

Reply to [username]

As Far as I Know


Bye For now

Best Regards

By the Way

Direct Message. d username sends one.



Usually #FF for Follow Friday. #FollowFriday is supposed to work better than it does. If you #FF someone, take the characters to explain why.

For F–k’s Sake

F–k My Life

Face To Face. Also, F2F. Or the Fair Trade Federation. Many other options.

For The Loss

For The Win


For What It’s Worth

Hat tip

Hope That Helps

In My Humble Opinion

In My Opinion

In Real Life

Joint Venture

Just Kidding


Laughing My Ass Off

Let Me Know

Laughing Out Loud

Modified Tweet

Not Safe For Work


Oh My F–king God

Oh My God

Partial Retweet (at the start of a tweet). Sometimes “Please Retweet” Old School: Party

In reply to. As in, use RE for @replies on Twitter. Used in front of the @ to ensure all followers can see the conversation. Further ontext: “Community, @replies, #fixreplies and Change



Read The FAQ. RTFF shows up too. RTF also stands for Rich Text File.

Read The F-ing Manual

Thanks For The ReTweet

Situation Normal All F–ked Up

Son Of a Bitch

Shut The F–k Up

Tweet Me Back

Too Much Information

My one cheat: “via” is not an abbreviation or acronym. It simply means that a tweet is from @username, though in some cases it may mean that it’s also an exact retweet. Tricky, this online user-defined lingo and twitribution is.

What The F–k

What The Hell

Your Mileage May Vary

You’re Welcome


Since this list was first published, some of these have become more popular and others have emerged. RT is still – by far – the most frequent acronym. New additions are added below, along with many suggestions in the comments.

Today I learned.

Nota Bene. Make sure to read the comments, where there are many great additions.

In Case You Missed IT [HT @BrianStelter]

Update: Justin Kownacki thinks we should stop saying “in case you missed it” on Twitter. (That includes ICYMI, too.) I agree.


Read The Question or Retweet Question

Search The F —ing Web


Too long; Didn’t Read.

Translated Tweet.

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RLRT: Real Life Retweet. To repeat on Twitter what someone said in person.


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A better definition for cloud computing?

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Image via Wikipedia

I know a thing or two about defining IT terms. Some concepts, however, are so nebulous or fraught with marketing hype that they beggar most attempts.

I was assigned “cloud computing” for WhatIs.com eons ago. (Actually, in 2007).

The definition has been revised since that first attempt — as one might expect — but the one liner that remains is apt:

“Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet.”

Much as I hate to admit it, I prefer a distilled version of Wikipedia‘s current definition for cloud computing (as of May 20, anyway):

“Cloud computing is a computing paradigm where dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet.”

After I posed the question of a definition on Twitter, Chris Hoff passed me a note with the following elements that he would suggest for a cloud computing definition:

1.    Abstraction of infrastructure
2.    Democratization of resources
3.    Service oriented
4.    Elasticity/dynamism w/self-service
5.    Utility mode of allocation and consumption

Hoff called out a quote from Interop today as well: “Cloud computing is not a technology, it’s an operational model.” (Forgive me — lost the attribution.) The point the speaker was making — and it’s not a new one — is that cloud computing is itself made up of hundreds of other technologies and subsets, including storage-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, etc.

For more on those elements,  go read Hoff (aka @Beaker) at his blog, “Rational Survivability,” where his “Update on the Cloud (Ontology/Taxonomy) Model” provides considerable insight into the bits, bytes, models and pieces.

There’s a good discussion of a definition for cloud computing over at “Cloud Talk,” too.

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Use RE for @replies on Twitter

Biz Stone
Image by DNSF David Newman via Flickr

There’s a bonafide Twitterstorm on today after a post from Twitter co-founder @Biz Stone indicated that the service would be changing the way it handled @replies. Just check out #fixreplies.

Here’s what @Biz posted to the Twitter blog yesterday:

Small Settings Update

We’ve updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it’s a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today’s update removes this undesirable and confusing option.

The Importance of Discovery

Spotting new folks in tweets is an interesting way to check out new profiles and find new people to follow. Despite this update, you’ll still see mentions or references linking to people you don’t follow. For example, you’ll continue to see, “Ev meeting with @biz about work stuff” even if you don’t follow @biz. We’ll be introducing better ways to discover and follow interesting accounts as we release more features in this space.

And here’s what he followed up with after today’s tweetstorm

Whoa, Feedback!

We’re getting a ton of extremely useful feedback about yesterday’s update to Settings. The engineering team reminded me that there were serious technical reasons why that setting had to go or be entirely rebuilt—it wouldn’t have lasted long even if we thought it was the best thing ever. Nevertheless, it’s amazing to wake up and see all the tweets about this change.

We’re hearing your feedback and reading through it all. One of the strongest signals is that folks were using this setting to discover and follow new and interesting accounts—this is something we absolutely want to support. Our product, design, user experience, and technical teams have started brainstorming a way to surface a new, scalable way to address this need.

Please stay tuned and thank you again for all the feedback.

Talk about real-time feedback and response! I’d like to hear more about the technical reasons behind the change.

In the meantime, however, I’d like to propose a simple fix to the Twitter community to preserve the “cocktail party effect” whereby you can catch snippets of interesting conversations and then tune into them and their participants:

Add RE to the beginning of your tweets in front of a given username.

Since, as Laura “@pistachio” Fitton pointed out this morning, @replies were a community generated convention, it’s quite straightforward to continue that practice and introduce a way of indicating to everyone that you are are @replying to someone.

RE = reply to.

At some point, stats wizards can pull out who gets the most RE @ them, just like they have analyzed the RT (retweet). In the meantime, this will “surface” a person for everyone. And, since Twitter and other clients automatically now default to “@mentions” instead of direct replies, we can keep on chatting.

RE is all of two characters to add, plus a space. Yes, 3 spaces out of 140 is a bit dear, but in this writer’s opinion they are worth adding to buck the filter.  I’ve posted a comment on the Top 15 Twitter Acronyms to add RE to the list. I hope that RE catches on, as I’d really miss those snippets of conversation.

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What is the ROI in Social Media? Humana, EMC, MarketSpace, Communispace at MassTLC

Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua...
Image via Wikipedia

A forum organized by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council addresses one of the hottest questions in social media: how do you measure the return on investment (ROI) for these platform? The panel, part of a “Social Media Summit” hosted in Microsoft’s Cambridge offices, was moderated by Dave Vellante, co-founder of the Wikibon Project and featured Fred Cremo of Humana, Leslie Forde of Communispace, Chuck Hollis of EMC and Katrina Lowes of Market Bridge. The panel followed danah boyd’s keynote on “social media evolution and digital ethnography.”

Chuck Hollis kicked off the panel by defining the challenge of measuring this kind of interaction and usage. “How do you measure a good conversation? A good idea? You guys are measuring the wrong thing.”

Lowes, whose focus on results and specific case studies throughout, put ROI in the context of creating relationships with Medicare recipients. The campaigns she has been involved with have been razor-focused on measuring all of the interactions, including what people are interested in. She described a partnership with Eons to host and provide discussion groups. Using them, they watch what people are talking about. As people move towards trigger point for Medicare, they watch more closely. As Lowes noted, “you get one chance to get a 65 year old into Medicare. If you can get people interacting with you three times before 64, you become relevant. That will have an impact on conversion rates.” At present, they’re taking a research-based approach to measuring impact utilizing a control group for direct mail and comparing it to the conversion rates of different groups based on a mix of social media presentations.

After a while, the audience grew restive, looking for a measure of hard ROI that could be used to justify social media use. The panelists understand the issues, especially at a large enterprise:

“When executives ask about social media ROI, they’re asking about risk. Why should I change decades of experience?”-@ChuckHollis

Hollis noted, in following, that managing risk in social media is challenging but possible: “negativity is passion that needs to be channeled to constructive conversations,”

Forde also sees the challenges for engagement marketing. With consumers (and users in general on the public Internet, you simply don’t know what you’re going to hear. (Note the Skittles experience). As she noted “in opening dialogue, you get serendipity & surprises.” For instance, Forde cited a case study provided by Kraft. People on their discussion boards were talking about weight loss through portion control. “Why can’t you make a tiny bag?” Kraft listened — and in the first six month, Kraft’s “Calorie Pack” earned more than $100 million dollars of revenue. Forde noted that the marketing campaign and manufacturing cycle in a one third of the time.

Forde noted as well that “It’s amazing how self-policing communities can be.” In her experience, community managers rarely have to step in and intervene. It is necessary, on occasion, to send private emails or direct messages and pull aside members to assert norms. How do you manage risk? Hollis noted that “EMC had a governance board for each project. They met once — and never met again. We never had a problem – but the structure was there to address it if necessary.”

When queried about adoption of social media by enterprises, Lowes voiced a key concern: “Everyone is in love with the technology. They haven’t thought about maintaining the conversations.” In her view, a company needs to have someone passionate to engage people and answer questions. The issue that many organizations are having with community management and conversation curation lies in a widespread tendency to put lower-paid people customer service reps. It’s not about technology or governance. It’s about skills, behaviors and attitudes. In Forde’s view, it’s about “trust, transparency and demonstration of listening.” That means that organization need to allow customers to be heard, with the understanding that it’s crucial to nurturing a long term relationship. That means “building websites around their interests and preferences, raising awareness of a company as a trusted partner,” according to Cremo — not through pushing sales directly.

When I stepped out, however, I returned to a groundswell of pushback for the panel. Where are quantitative social media metrics? Hard ROI? “The problem with social media is that we’re all talking to each other,” as one audience member put it. He stated that the total social media spend is “0.4% of the total annnual advertising budget in Fortune 500.” (That number was cited as $250B). Where’s the real return?

In response, Katrina Lowes offered the most substantive response of the day. “Consider: I’ve got a video to put online or on broadcast. You need to calculate the advertising comparison impact between the two mediums… How much would I have had to pay to get this exposure in traditional media?” She suggest looking at click through rates (CTR) of a cluster demographic from a social media platform or campaign back to the launch page of your website. Measure “Media equivalent purchase value” and conversion traffic, in other words, when it comes to ROI.

Forde noted that it’s also key to consider cultural differences, especially overseas, particularly with respect to hierarchical processes. If decisions are made once a month by a small group, observe how that can be improved. For instance, asynchronous tools can help – a lot – with time to market for products or campaigns. She cited one client where a 52-week time to market was cut to 14 weeks.

Considerable concern still remained in the audience with regard to unleashing social media internally. “What about the sexting that’s going to happen in my company.” Executives are worried about risk.

They should be, as Lowes noted. By tracking & gathering people’s personally identifiable information (PII) at Humana, they’re liable under HIPAA. That’s a major responsibility. Given the longevity & permanency of data on these platforms, organizations must be mindful of measuring ROI in more than conversion; they need to consider the risks of the overall project.

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dana boyd on social media evolution and digital ethnography

facebook myspace orkut bebo linkedin
Image by .Andy Chang. via Flickr

dana boyd kicked off a discussion on the ROI of social media in Cambridge with a rapid-fire, necessarily abridged keynote on the history of social networks and their associated digital ethnographies in the United States. dana boyd presented on her research (available at zephoria.org/thoughts). A longer version of her presentation. “Living and Learning with Social Media,” is available online, though without the pretty pictures.

Her first point is that social media isn’t new, either as a concept or platform. It’s just part of a broader part of Web 2.0. She framed Web 2.0 for different audiences in the following ways:

  • For the tech crowd, Web 2.0 is “about a change in development and deployment; constant innovation; perpetual beta; open source/real time”
  • For the business crowd, “it’s about hope. Emerged from bust. Bubble 2.0 followed.”
  • For users: “It’s about organizing communication around friends, communities of interest. Boundaries became blurred.”

One clear distinction boyd made was between social network websites and social networking sites. The former are distinctly not about finding jobs; they’re about finding communities of interest. When rhetorically discussing how social network sites gained traction in the US, boyd cited the network effects created by these self-organizing communities of interest.

When she looked back at the history of these communities, she started with Friendster. (Paul Gillin noted Classmates.com as the first in “Why people love social networks“earlier this week). Friendster, as boyd noted, was designed to be online dating. The three original demographics that populated it were gay men, the “digerati,” and 20-something hipsters that cycle around the playa — aka “burners” at Burning Man.

The trouble Friendster’s leadership found is that “Fakesters started popping up.” These fake profiles, of bands, places or really anything that wasn’t an authentic person with a personal profile, were seen as polluting the community — at least by Friendster’s leadership. They tried to stop it and were faced by a  rebellion. The infusion of Fakesters was followed by another wave: indie rock bands that wanted to connect with fan. Both, in boyd’s words,’ fueled the ire of Friendster and were encouraged to leave. And, in quick order, the early adopters left, moving to Tribe.net or, in the case of those musicians, to Myspace.

Facebook’s introduction followed soon there after, growing meteorically since then, alongside of MySpace. As Boyd noted, however, along with that growth came a series of “digital panics” over culture and risk as embodied in these social networks.

The assumption tended to be that MySpace was about social deviance and sexual meetups, an image that was fueled by sensational reports of sexual predators and exploited teends in the media. Part of this was a division of between Facebook and MySpace in the US that boyd had famously written about in “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace” and her subsequent response. Boyd’s dissertation, “Taken out of context,” deals with precisely this issue.

The castes and tribes called out aesthetic differences between the two massive social networks but, as boyd pointed out this was about class. As played out in media, this lens shaped how we understood them, though the websites were functionally and practically quite similar.

For those look for ways looking for ways, to measure the utility or effectives of social networks, Zephoria suggests measuring network density. Look at the activity of clusters. Look at stickiness. If someone is using it but none of his or her friends are, they aren’t likely to stick around. Look for way to measure the health of the community – not just individuals.

When discussing the differences betwen adults and teens, boyd sees fundamentally different cultural, socioeconomic and power structures in play. Teen conversations can look inane from the outside — at best. boyd suggests thinking of them as hallway conversations, part of the process of “digital social grooming.” As she notes, you can have isolated kids in the corner offline too. Wall posts on Facebook are, in her eyes, simply forms of ritualistic hallway talk.

As knowledge workers joined Facebook, they started hanging out with friends — but what they did there was fundamentally different than the teens. Adult are much more likely to create status messages that broadcast outwards, while their “About me” sections are basically resumes, rarely offering up to date bits. Teens are more likely to include what they want friends to know about now.

boyd also noted they way that social media is shifting, including the relevant demographic. The median age of Twitter, for instance, is 31 and shifting higher. Teens aren’t engaging with the site at all. As boyd wryly noted, “for some reason, it’s more the Demi Moore” crowd.

Why? It may be an issue of power, which teens generally don’t have with respect to US society, especially with respect to building digital tools themselves. All of us care about how searchable we are, particularly with respect to the about people who have power searching for data, like law enforcement, potential bosses or academic institutions. We haven’t always been searchable, a reality that boyd put a geeky spin on when she noted that “Mom would have loved to be able to write “grep” or “find” to track me down as a kid.”

Virtual worlds didn’t escape notice. When asked about how social network mixed, boyd first refined the question: “anything that allows us to create social space w/avatars” vs 3D immersive online environments. She noted that teenagers aren’t using Second Life but are using console or online gaming environments to escape and have fun. Such world necessarily require real-time synchronous interaction, which is quite powerful for those who can get online at the same time to play, say, World of Warcraft.

Given that mobile phones are still the number one way to get online, however, there are inherent limits. (That could change if WoW really does work well on the iPhone). Virtual worlds therefore require “dumbing down” or different access patterns. And, in fact, boyd said that “70% of teenagers share the password for their social networking sites with their friends” so that their virtual identities could be curated by others. For the security-minded, this is of course anathema, but for a teenage member of a digital tribe, this is apparently close to the norm.

boyd talked about other cultural differences that vary by country and platform.  Cyworld, for instance, a social network in Asia, is shared family experience. She notes that micropayments are working in Cyworld, sometimes in unexpected ways. “You can buy poop on a friend’s profile, which they then have to pay to clean up.” When she noted that she would “like to see that on LinkedIn,” the audience enjoyed a chuckle. More seriously, however, she observed that as long as teenagers are part of an “oppressed demographic” in the US, our social networks won’t be like Asia. The US market is just beginning to get “all you can eat text messaging plans.” She suggested that the audience “consider the weirdness of someone else having to PAY to receive your message” and the worst cases where cyberbullies blasts someone w/txts, incurring costs.

In closing, boyd noted that social networks and social media in general are here to stay.

As we all create our digital identities, teens and adults alike are aware of the reality of “invisible audiences” that require us to adjust our projections to those who might see us. Once of the central challenges of social media use is how we adjust in the absence of social cues when the rules are still a moving target. The numerous firings that have now occurred after poorly-considered status updates bear witness to this reality. Firing is relatively minor compared to consequences elsewhere, as boyd noted in the the example of journalists in China. They write at two different levels to escape the censors to convey information.

There is now a massive blurring of public and private spheres. boyd doesn’t see privacy as dead — “it’s just very, very, very confused right now.”

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Notes and Tweets from the TechTarget ROI Summit at #TTGTSummit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

The week before last, before I went off to San Francisco to be immersed in security, compliance and cloud computing at the RSA Conference, I was lucky to be present at TechTarget‘s annual ROI Summit. The event, held in Newton, Mass., showcases the best research, advice and case studies from TechTarget’s online marketing efforts. I attended at the invitation of Dave Bailey, an estimable director of corporate marketing at TechTarget, sitting in on his panel with Sean Brooks on the ROI of Social Media.

Before that session, however, I was privy to a full slate of presentations and findings in the main ballroom. The following post is a reflection of the “best of the back channel,” as represented by posts (so-called “tweets”) to Twitter from attendees and TechTarget staff on site. The hashtag for the event was #TTGTSummit, as you can see if you visit search.twitter.com and search for it. Tweets are presented in chronological format here, as opposed to the most recent additions you’ll find in the links above.

Given the 140 character limit to each post, there is naturally a need to condense the insight and add context and resources with hyperlinks or other usernames. In aggregate, however, this conversation provides some useful insight into the state of online marketing, as practiced by one of the leaders in the space. I enjoyed the opportunity to “micro-report” on it using my personal account @digiphile.

You can read Marilou Barsam’s “Takeaways from the TechTarget 2009 East Online ROI Summit” at “My Educated Guess.’

Introductions & Keynote from Greg Strakosch

digiphile: The TechTarget Online #ROI Summit is getting rolling here. Follow the #TTGTSummit hashtag. More info: http://TechTargetSummit.TechTarget.com

digiphile: Glad to find @RandyKahle @GSasha @AqaMarketing @Cathie_Briggett @rsk1060 @ESalerno here. Consider using #TTGTSummit & following @ITAgenda

digiphile: My CEO is up at the #TTGTSummit. Enterprise IT pros researching at the same activity level during this #recession, despite budget tightening

digiphile: Over 60 websites in the TechTarget network as of April 2009. In aggregate, that’s the largest audience of IT pros on the Web. 

digiphile: Barsam introduced the concept of the “hyperactive lead” at the #TTGTSummit | My take: IT pros consume media like bears eat blueberries.

digiphile: An IT pro here at the #TTGTSummit describes himself as an “informavore” – always foraging for information. I share that hyperactivity.

Online Marketing Case Studies

InboundMarketer: At TechTget Online ROI Summit (#TTGTSummit) talking abt nurturing in 2 ways-inside ur environment & outside of it, both need 2 b synergistic

digiphile: Panel on #OnlineMarketing drives home importance of integrated media & customized, thoughtful messages. Many touchpoints. 

digiphile: The # of tools #OnlineMarketers have now is unprecedented. Virtual trade shows, videocasts, social media, data/Web analytics 

digiphile: Detailed case studies of how #OnlineMarketers use automated CRM tools/dashboards to gather & track leads at the #TTGTSummit | Analytics key.

digiphile: PRT @InboundMarketer Tableau software uses Eloqua; “great 4 a small co,” uses CRM (Salesforce.com) 4 visual scoring w/dashboards 

Andy Briney’s Presentation on trends for CIO spending

cappypopp: IT in ’00s: ‘webify’ servers, apps, infrastructure. Bandwidth leasing, compliance. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Online ROI Summit #ttgtsummit http://twitpic.com/3b4jg

cappypopp: To succeed IT is going to need to rejustify its role in the business #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Only 29% of companies to grow their IT budgets in ’09 | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Andy outlining major IT trends for 2009 : Consolidation (virtualization, outsourcing w/cloud/SaaS) & compliance. >regs coming |

cappypopp: 96% of co.’s (of 500) believe that IT’s role in compliance hugely important; 70% of IT pros surveyed will focus on it in ’09 

digiphile: What’s the #1 IT spend area in 2009? According to Briney @ #TTGTSummit, it’s disaster recovery. Hurricanes had an impact on banks/insurance.

cappypopp: What is ‘business intelligence?’ Getting more and better data faster. | #ttgtsummit

ITCompliance: PRT @cappypopp 96% of Fortune500 co’s believe IT’s role in compliance hugely imptnt; 70% IT pros surveyed will focus on it in 09 

ITCompliance: RT @ITAgenda Major recession-proof areas of IT spending: Business Intelligence/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation

digiphile: RT @CappyPopp “Consolidation, compliance, DR, & BI are not “opportunities” for IT: they are imperatives” -Andy Briney 

InboundMarketer: http://twitpic.com/3b6cv – Techtarget Online ROI Summit #TTGTSummit main session room

ITCompliance: Andy Briney gave http://SearchCompliance.com special note at the #TTGTSummit. USGov/EU regs have made “IT” a crucial issue for #2009.

cappypopp: IT marketers: target proj. teams, not all stakeholders, and audience closest to your product or pain. Use independent content | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Good advice for #OnlineMarketers: Focus on unique value prop, stick to the truth, get specific, speak prospect’s lingo -Briney 

Tedesign: RT @ITAgenda: There are 4 major recession-proof areas of IT spending – BI/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation #TTGTSummit

CIO Panel

Note: Linda Tucci wrote about this panel at SearchCIO.com, publishing “In Great Recession of 2009, three CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” the next day.

digiphile: At a #TTGTSummit #CIO panel. Jay Leader, iRobot’s CIO here. Noted Roomba & IED detection. Also: a gutter cleaning robot http://bit.ly/1ikd

digiphile: CIOs for TAC Worldwide (http://tacworldwide.com) & PlumChoice (http://plumchoice.com) also presenting on #TTGTSummit #CIO breakout panel.

cappypopp:#CIO panel #ttgtsummit: focus on speed and resilience. Keep up w/ speed of business.

digiphile: @cappypopp iRobot #CIO kept IT budget flat in 2009? Focus on managing IT as a business is key for all orgs, profitable or not.

ITCompliance: “SOX is the magic word that gets it past the CFO.” #CIOs on #TTGTSummit panel note poetic license in GRC software purchasing.

ITCompliance: A #CIO at the #TTGTSummit noted necessity of “J-SOX” #compliance at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Wikipedia def: http://bit.ly/2p0gu

digiphile: iRobot #CIO places 2009 focus not on tools (has BI & ERP) but on getting better use from them & optimizing data/biz processes | #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Top drivers for #virtualization for these CIOs are consolidation & DR. Reduce # of servers, contain costs, provision faster. 

digiphile: Watching @ltucci take notes on today’s #CIO panel. Her last post shed light on CISO risk mngmt mind-set: http://bit.ly/10dul

digiphile: Key Q for a #CIO: What can we *do* with it? What business problem does it solve? Applies to SOA, Twitter, UC, you name it. 

digiphile: “It’s not the solution, it’s the box that goes with it. Support, implementation costs, configuration, etc.”-Jay Leader, #CIO

cappypopp: iRobot #CIO Jay Leader: never vets technical products, done lower in hierarchy. He does business eval: does it solve a problem? #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Very hard to access #CIO s to sell to them. Panelists almost never talk to vendors. If they do you better KNOW your product. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: ‘Sell your product in a way that tells me how it solves MY problem. Understand my business. No webinars!’ #CIO panel #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “A ‘#green data center’ only matters to a #CIO consuming megawatts of energy or dealing w/colocation. I’m a capitalist.” 

JeanSFleming: RT @digiphile: “Understand who I am & express your solution to me in a way that shows me how to address a problem.” 

cappypopp: #CIO Jay Leader (iRobot): DONT CARE a/b green tech. I’m a captalist. Green tech == no $ for us. Solves no problem in my space. #ttgtsummit

rotkapchen: @digiphile Or “don’t waste my time” Problem: High cost to ALL of that — figuring it out. Must be mutual discovery. #CIO

digiphile: @rotkapchen I agree. There IS a high cost to figuring out how to market to an enterprise #CIO. First step: Understanding IT.

Social Media ROI Session

cappypopp: #ttgtsummit Measuring #ROI of social media panel with @seanbrooks @digiphile David Bailey. Waiting for the @radian6 mention. :)

digiphile: Panel on #SocialMedia ROI starting at #TTGTSummit. @SeanMBrooks up. Nearly every hand went up when asked who uses SM. ~75% on Twitter now.

digiphile: Case study in #socialmedia success from the audience. #Intuit promoted a webinar w/Twitter, blogged it, engaged influencers.

cappypopp: Amazing difference in one year of audience survey of %age that use social media. Easily 75% of hands up. Last year: maybe 20%. #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Uses of #socialmedia from @SeanRBrooks: Focus groups, new distribution channels, feedback, real-time product/company tracking 

digiphile: Quick hits on corporate #socialmedia case studies getting ROI on Twitter from @SeanRBrooks: @CAInfraMan @NetBackup

cappypopp: ‘take a breath, learn how to respond.’-@SeanRBrooks Re: #Twitter | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “Instant feedback using Twitter or other #socialmedia platforms is easy & quite powerful.”-@SeanRBrooks. Example: Try @TwtPoll | #TTGTSummidigiphile: “Empower your employees to participate in #socialmedia. They’re already doing it.”-@SeanRBrooks on suggesting best practices. | 
digiphile: Other #socialmedia best practices: Strategy 1st, don’t sell, offer help, make it P2P, allow criticism, accept feedback, have fun 

cappypopp: ‘sitting quietly and letting comments sit’ not a great idea. #Socialmedia is 2-way – @seanrbrooks | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Measuring success? @SeanRBrooks suggests #socialmedia metrics like ROMO (return on marketing objective) vs ROI. RTs/links. 

digiphile: Suggested #socialmedia tracking tools from @CappyPopp: http://twitalyzer.com | http://tweetgrid | http://tweetstats.com

digiphile: Effects of #socialmedia? @SeanRBrooks asks: “How big is your reach? Traffic benefits? Happier customers? ‘Influencers’ linking?” 

cappypopp: Serena Software #socialmedia campaign case study – generated 14x avg CTR on #Facebook. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: #Norton brand advocates: #Symantec built 15k customer advocates using #socialmedia and raised their Amazon ratings accordingly #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Dave Bailey presenting on thought leadership in #SocialMedia. Start w/strategy, objective & audience. Then choose tools. 

digiphile: Bailey showed a detailed media plan summarizing a Dell campaign at @ITKE that integrated multiple #socialmedia components. 

digiphile: Next #socialmedia case study @ #TTGTSummit: #IBM‘s B2B play across multiple platforms: @MrFong | http://ConnectMrFong.com

digiphile: Remember blogs? Dell does. Ideastorm blog went from “worst to first” (-@JeffJarvis). -27% negative blog posts. =$100M in ads? 

digiphile: More on measuring #socialmedia: Reach, Traffic, Leads, Interaction. Watch subscription #s, CTR, PVs, RTs/@replies & comments.

Google/TechTarget Research

digiphile: Final session at #TTGTSummit features research from the @Google/@TechTarget Roadshow: http://bit.ly/aTzZ | #Search behaviors of IT buyers.

digiphile: Next from @Google #search? Perhaps: concept clustering, filtering w/in results, categorization by page type, on-hover preview 

IBM_ECM: RT @digiphile: This post from @ChrisBrogan is for those in #SocialMedia session wondering where to start: http://bit.ly/TOeN

Closing Notes

InboundMarketer: Create a separate remessaging strategy based on content consumption & velocity of consumption – good advice, #ttgtsummit

ITAgenda: Online media complexity creates opportunity – examine metrics carefully and see how media plan improves SEM/SEO strategy #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Closing notes at the #TTGTSummit from co-founder Don Hawk: “Complexity creates competitive advantage.” Execution matters — & it’s not easy.

cappypopp: Thanks to all at TechTarget Online ROI Summit. Great job. #ttgtsummit

rsk1060: @jhurwitz shared some great ideas about articulating new concepts to IT professionals at #TTGTSummit – thank you!

rsk1060: Peter Varhol’s session at #TTGTSummit provided interesting research information indicating the #SOA is, in fact, not dead.

LeahRosin: Article on #TTGTSummit #CIO Panel: “In the #Recession of 2009, 3 CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” http://bit.ly/2eYA9k (HT @digiphile)

digiphile: “Content is still king in IT marketing.” @BennettStrategy, on @TechTarget/@Google research: http://tr.im/j468 | #TTGTSummit | HT @MarkMartel

ITAgenda: Marilou Barsam’s key technology marketing takeaways and wrap-up from the #TTGTSummit on My Educated Guess blog http://bit.ly/XlLkG

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How do you measure social media ROI on Twitter? A ReTweetability Index?

A carpenters' ruler with centimetre divisions
Image via Wikipedia

I was asked a “quick question” about my Twitter use yesterday:

How many user responses do you get from your tweets?

It’s a fair question. As soon as I started thinking about how to answer it, I realized how many dimensions a proper answer should measure and compute that number.

What constitutes  a user response?

A @reply?


A FWD using a (via)?

A HT (hat tip)?

A @mention?

There’s “influencer marketing ” metrics to be considered in there too, like whether users can be driven to comment or watch something elsewhere.

If you accounted for each metric on a given tweet, what measurements for the ROI of Twitter use could you generate?

If you’re measuring click traffic, you can see the traffic for @digiphile at bit.ly. That includes links that have been shared on three different Twitter accounts: @digipile, @epicureanist & @ITCompliance. The reach of the first account is dramatically greater, so results vary widely.

In aggregate, my qualitative answer to the original questions has to be:

“It depends.”

There are so many other variables: when I tweet, what I tweet, whether there is a link, if it’s directed to another user or if it includes an identifying source for a link.

Dan Zarrella, a social media and marketing scientist, has been at the forefront of retweet research focused on offering other quantitative models for measuring ROI.

His newly published Retweetability Index ranks Twitterers by his own formula:

[ Retweets Per Day / In(Tweets Per Day) ] / In(Followers)

I’m ranked at 1919 today with an index in the 7000s. I think that means I get a modest amount of user response. For more information, check out what Jennifer Grove ‘s post on Zarrella’s  ReTweetability Index at Mashable.

I’ll ask “How do you measure social media ROI on Twitter?” today and see what other people think.

In the future, I hope Dan and other researchers will create and share formulas or indices that include @replies, FWD, (via),  HTs, @mentions & influencer variables.

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Unofficial Poll: Greatest rock guitarist ever?

I had some fun creating a Twitter poll tonight using Twtpoll.com.

After I asked who the “Greatest rock guitarist ever?” was on the way home and received 10 great replies, I used #alexasks and Twtpoll to try to turn those answers into a quick quiz.

I’ll wait for a bit and then ask on Facebook, where I expect more friends might contribute.

It’s an apologetic homage to #andyasks, where HBS professor Andy asks his followers a different interesting question every day. Mine was impromptu but satisfying.

Here’s the result.

My answer? Like Peter Townshend at Rolling Stone I gotta go with Hendrix.

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