— blending the mix

September, 2008 Monthly archive

I’ve been meaning to post something about David’s book for ages, but when Steve put up the Crowdsurfing video today, it kind of made sense to put it up today also.

David gives a pretty good summary to the Crowdsurfing by recounting the story of how Microsoft is allowing (and continues to allow) employees such as Steve and Rob to air their thoughts through blogs…and how the Blue Monster came about as a result.

Compare that to the way in which Apple manage their pr and suddenly Apple doesn’t look the cool company it thinks it is…

Enjoy. David…congratulations!

Book launch from David Brain on Vimeo.

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Socia Media Marketing

As some of you already know, we are putting on a seminar in London on Tuesday entitled Social Media Marketing – and there are some great speakers attending.

Dave Kinsella (aka @Tech0tic) will be kicking things off with an overview of Social Media, what to do, what not to do, and covering an area of much interest for me – social media metrics.

Next up is Neville Hobson who we are again, delighted to have to share his insight into how social media is/has/will affect PR.

Then, we have the guys behind the LG Blog, Dan and Chris from Outside Line will be shedding some light on the thinking and activity behind the LG blog…

…and yours truly will be talking about blogs and blogging as a business communication tool as well as looking at buzz monitoring.

I am really looking forward to this one – we have got a FULL HOUSE an surpassed all previous bookings which means that people are really waking up to the potential of social media!

If you are coming and you are on Twitter, DM me, @ me or just give me a call. In the meantime, my amended presentation is below:

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I spent a great evening on Wednesday meeting some very interesting start-ups as well as Government Minister Tom Watson (whose initiatives with the UK T&I enabled us to visit Web2Expo last week).

Manoj has kindly put together a video of the event:

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I’d like your help. Well, I actually think you need my help. What the hell, we need each other’s help.

My last big post prompted a previously unseen numbers of comments, all pretty much saying the same thing:

“uk business doesn’t get social media, but what can we do to help it get social media”

The one overriding problem was, and will remain for some time, the difficulty in measuring the effectiveness of a social media campaign. Metrics aside, I don’t think that you can in fact standardise social media measurement, but that is another post 😉

So, whilst the issue over metrics remains unanswered (at the moment anyway), the only solution is to prove that other brands are doing what our clients SHOULD be doing and that social media is here and now in the uk and that there is significant value in embracing a social media strategy.

As there are plenty of social media bods, online buddies, friends and other interested people in the same boat, I decided that it might be a good idea to create an online resource where we could all add our own war stories, case studies, relevant ebooks etc. to enable us to quickly and easily pull together some convincing ammunition to persuade our lovely clients that social media works (when done properly, which of course, is what we all do anyway….isn’t it?!)

UK Social Media Case Study Wiki

So, do please visit the wiki, contribute, send me an email paul (dot) fabretti at gmail (dot) com and let’s see of we can’t make something of value from which we can all benefit. Put whatever you like up, within reason, as long as you think that it helps us promote social media.

Link Love to the following people who I think could/should/might like to help:

Chris (aka The Don)
David H
David K
Steve D

I look forward to hearing from you!

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A work of genius from the same people behind bringtheloveback:

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Three things got me annoyed yesterday:

1) Not being at Web2expo – i’ll get over that, i’m trying to get to Berlin 😉
2) Preparing for a practical workshop on blogging only to realise that 75% of the time is going to be spent explaining what tags are and rss is rather than discussing how they can be of benefit to a business.
3) Control freaks – people who think that a little bit of knowledge think they know it all (won’t go into that one!)

In particular, number two got me thinking that as a country, we are woefully under-educated when it comes to social media. Why are we still having conversations about what these tools are rather than what they can do for you?

I’d like to throw a few thoughts into the hat and see what people like Neville, Stephen, Steve, Becky, Will, Dave, Robin, Hugh, Jas, Stuart and maybe even Chris, Brian, Geoff and Pete have to say:

Is online social interaction (the principle of people/customers meeting online to share things and meet each other) SO far beyond people’s grasp they just do not get what happens and what people do?

The idea that without your work hat on, “I don’t use the internet like that , so why would my customers?”

Does the rate of change/growth of new social media tools scare IT departments or marketing/pr teams that anything they may decide to adopt may be obsolete in a few months? What about the sheer number of tools they could use? Is it realistic to expect a marketeer to keep track of everything that goes on?


Are we  our own worst enemies? Do we like to talk XML, php, css and other jargon too much that we actually alienate the very people we are hoping to adopt the tools we talk about?


This relates nicely in fact, to point number three. People who have traditionally been in total control of their customers (when their customers didn’t know any better) are now petrified that they can’t control what their customers are saying. Burying their heads in the sand won’t work.

Previous tools such as websites, direct mail, press ads and email were great at telling customers what the brand wanted them to hear but now marketeers have to get their heads around the fact that those same recipients are talking back – just that they are telling other customers not them!

Tone of Voice

After decades of talking AT customers, brands are now having to talk TO WITH (thanks Gregory) customers. How do you talk to people you have spent years ignoring what they say? How should you speak to them? Learning THAT takes either a lot of listening, training or plenty of both.

Social Media Tools are “a phase” of internet growth

Several years ago (early 90’s), when working for a large mail order company, the whole business began gearing up for this "internet" thing that was coming.

HR were booking training sessions for people like there was no tomorrow , business-wide email was starting to roll-out and you could sense that people knew something big and important was going to happen. 15 years and 1 billion online users later – they were right.

The impression I get of what many of us might call the proverbial “sea-change” in the internet is that social media and its associated tools are nothing more than evolution rather than revolution.

I’ll end with some links to a couple of great posts, (from Suw who is organising the blogger outreach for the Berlin Web2 Expo and the legendary BL Ochman)all around exactly what I am talking about above as well as the Chris’s 12 reasons why he thinks the UK isn’t blogging or adopting social media tools:

1 – You don’t understand why you’d want a business blog. Neither does your CEO.

2 – You are the CEO. And you’re not going to allow your minions to blog.

3 – You think it is too risky to allow your colleagues to write blog posts.

4 – Your PR agency thinks blogging is a bad move.

5 – You mentioned something to the techies. It is in their development schedule.

6 – You haven’t figured out who will contribute to the blog, or what you will write about.

7 – You can’t see any benefits whatsoever. It would be a waste of time.

8 – You don’t see any return on investment. It would be a loss leader. We don’t do loss leaders.

9 – You have no clue about how to set up a blog.

10 – You think blogging is all hype / a passing fad / for kids.

11 – You are happy to ignore blog activity in the US. The US is a totally different environment for this sort of thing.

12 – You think blogging isn’t right for your business.

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David picked up on this gem from Lloyd a few weeks ago and I have been meaning to post about it ever since. It gets to the heart of what I think people like Will are trying to do, but at the same time gives validity to the argument that there is in fact nothing that can be done to standardise metrics into social media – a Google Page Rank of social media marketing effectiveness if you like.

To quote David/Lloyd:

1. There is no killer metric
2. Track anything possible to glean insight
3. Social media is not just about numbers
4. It’s all relative (focus on benchmarking and trends)
5. Measuring social media does not = ROI for social media
6. View monitoring social media as a social intelligence programme, involving the world’s biggest focus group.

The roots of my argument are points 3 and 6 – Social Media is not just about numbers – consider your social media activity as a tool to delivering your product/service to the world’s biggest focus group. 

Ok, so you can measure the number of conversations, you can see how many comments have been made, unique visitors a blog may have had, item views etc., but they only tell you how busy something is – not what was said and the feelings and emotions and sentiment behind these numbers.

Only one thing in the social media space talks in numbers – computers.

Only one thing doesn’t have emotions and feelings – computers.


If we are to work to a metric, how on earth do we score an emotion? Do we mark simply positive and negative sentiment and if so, how do we teach a computer to understand that sentiment? Can it pick up sarcasm, sorrow and joy? I kind of know the answer to that one as I work with some guys whose toolset is simply awesome ;-)  at understanding this, but which still has to be taught sentiment by human beings who in turn have to interpret a sentiment personally.

Do we give an arbitrary score of 10 to a positive comment and 1 to a negative one? How do we score a phrase of indeterminable sentiment such as “Dave told me company X kept spamming him but the product is alright.” Here, the product seems to have a positive sentiment, but the company sentiment is a negative one. Maybe we score the comment as a neutral 5, but do you want even a good product from a company that spams you? Who makes that call – can a machine?

Different destinations

But in arriving at a definitive metric for social media, it is essential to apply weightings to different social media – and again, I think this is nigh on impossible. Just consider your where you focus your time when performing outreach activity, if you do it 😉

Different social spaces and activities require different levels of involvement and one thing I ALWAYS find when planning a social media campaign is that no two are ever the same.

We’re all talking and sharing thoughts about the same topics, just not in the same places – so how can we create a ranking based on the different locations a topic is being discussed?

For example, on what grounds do I assign a metric to conversations on flickr, that in some way means anything to another photo-sharing website such as photobucket (maybe Page Rank is a good start, let Google do the thinking on that one!).

Human participation can be the only way that we can understand the subtleties of the feelings of each site/community members and only the human can respond to those feelings appropriately.

I’d love to hear from people to gauge their opinion on all this, and I may even get my arse down to London to Measurement Camp next time 😉

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Cool stuff I was readingAugust 31st toSeptember 14th:

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