— blending the mix


Dontcha just love a sensationalist headline? But this is the prediction made by Gartner in their 2011 predicitons article.

Brian does a fantastic job of nailing why this is – it is down to planning, which goes back precisely to my post earlier in the week about why the social media industry needs a lesson in analytics, and why Geoff’s post is so timely too – so many social media campaigns are done by practitioners who can USE social media, but do not define:

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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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Viacom versus You Tube
Image courtesy of Rebecca
The web is awash with the scandal of the frigging Viacom IP order.

I don’t think you’ll find anybody in the industry who won’t agree with Pete, but does the general public really care?

If Viacom was what I would call a direct, one brand business, like McDonalds (i.e. the public brand is the trading brand) then I have no doubt that they would see a shift in not only perception, but a direct impact on sales too. People would walk with their feet.

But with Viacom their shows and artists are the brands – the things people love. Are the audiences really going to punish Viacom by not watching their favourite shows? Not at all.

The only loser here is You Tube…because the same people who currently watch the odd show/movie/video on You Tube will simply revert back to watching the same show/movies/videos in their conventional ways – I don’t think You Tube is that far down the line that it has become a TV replacement so what has the average Joe lost? Not much at all.

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Perspective 1 – The Writers

Visit youtube these days and you are highly likely to come across a rogue’s gallery of really popular videos.

They are people you wouldn’t look twice at in the street – your Average Joe’s – but these Average Joe’s just happen to have written some of the funniest things on TV and Cinema and are taking these talents online on their own.

Heard of Jason Ross or Matt Selman or even Bob Kushell?

They work on The Daily Show, The Simpsons and The Simpsons/Malcolm in the Middle respectively. These are funny people. (don’t take my word for it, watch the vids!)

Their ability to make really funny content with none of the fluff of fake-tan-laden chat-shows demonstrates that with the web, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like or how old you are – if you’re funny, you’re funny.

I absolutely admire the writer’s stance (more on that to follow), because it is allowing the people with the REAL talent to show who is the monkey and who is the organ grinder and it’s not the slimy, white-toothed host or big-busted talent-less actress either.

Does anybody know who the Evolution of Dance guy is? No? Me neither, but his original no-frills stage show has netted him 72,109,974 views.

The long and short of this first part of the post is this: the web now provides the tools to make anyone a star. The writer’s stance demonstrates this. it can also make a company look ridiculous if it doesn’t have an awareness of the power of this medium.

Perspective 2 – The Film Industry

I can see one, disastrous thing happening as a result of this strike and the winner won’t be the writers, it will be the studios. Bottom of the pile will be us – the consumer.

Here’s how I see it panning-out: The Movie and TV studios decide to settle. The writer’s get paid what they want, the studios pay what they want to pay. The only thing is that in order to settle the dispute quickly, NOBODY has realised how they are going to pay for it.

The studios aren’t going to absorb the costs, the writers aren’t going to give anything away. Advertiser’s aren’t going to pay more for the same ad space, so where is it going to land? In our laps.

And I reckon the could well use HD/Blu-Ray to do it. An emerging technology with a relatively unknown price-point is an ideal place to hide the increase.

OK, so this kind of argument is along the lines of the Team America F.A.G. (big corporations and all that!) so someone tell me WHERE is the money coming from?

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this is my imagini profile badge ————->

I stumbled across Imagini today, which, with 4.2M + members is a surprise I haven’t already stumbled accross it!

With so much content (and inevitably, text) being created in social networks, imagini takes a refreshingly different approach.

By answering lifestyle questions with your choice of image form a selection of 15 per question, Imagini builds up a profile of the type of person you are – and it works!

Delving deeper into the "profiling", you are able to create a wish list "My dream holiday is here…, I wish I could drive…" etc.

Imagini then locates web-based resources that either show me the most stunning places I might stay on holiday or a track-day where I can drive my dream car.

With a facebook applicatin on the way, Imagini is an ad-man and marketeer’s dream. Product placement, paid-for links to exterior product sites…"tomorrow Rodders we’ll all be millionaires".

Try it, you’ll love it.

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MarketingVox reports some interesting details about facebook’s recent growth.

Maybe the money isn’t in the kids after all…

      • More than half of Facebook users are not currently enrolled in a university or college.
      • The fastest-growing demographic is the 25+ age group.
      • Facebook is the sixth-most trafficked site in the United States.
      • Users spend an average of 20 minutes on the site daily.
      • The site is the No. 1 photo-sharing application on the web.
      • Photo application draws more than twice as much traffic as the next three sites combined.
      • Canada, with more than 3 million active users, has the most users outside of the US.
      • The UK has the third-largest user-base, with more than 2 million active users.
      • Over 1,800 applications have been built on the Facebook Platform.
      • More than 75 percent of Facebook users have used at least one Facebook application.

A natural shift in demographics from a wider user base or a sign of things to come for social networks?

One question – I wonder if the Twitter demographics work the other way around? Older founder members, getting younger…but aren’t the kids using IM?

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Mobile Web


Dave Winer, in his first-month report on his experience with the iPhone makes an extremely good obvservation about not just the iPhone, but mobile web browsers in general.

“there’s the limit of how much detail our eyes can see and how big our hands are”

And he is absolutely right. PDA’s have been around for long enough and developed by enough big companies for the product to have evolved into the perfect web browsing device – yet screen sizes remain largely the same as those of 10 years ago.

If screens on mobile devices really could be bigger and more importantly manageable, it is not unreasonable to believe that they would be by now – making a “one internet for all devices” situation highly likely.

OK, we all remember the infamous Microsoft Origami (UMPC) launch, but what has happened since? Barely smaller than a small laptop, are UMPC’s really the future of the mobile web?

I agree with Dave:

“It also seems we’re going to have a long-term discussion over whether it makes sense to have a “mobile web” or take the iPhone trade-off, more effort to use its web (lots of scrolling and pinching), but making the whole web accessible, mobile sites or non-mobile sites. I think what Apple has attempted is noble, but it’s not going to work.”

With the real promoters of mobile web (not surprisingly) being the mobile operators and therefore dictating the size of a) the device size b) the screen size and c) the mobile browser – a split mobile/static web can be the only direction for the foreseeable future.

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E-consultancy reports on a Quantcast report which shows that some facebook widget-developers are seeing three-fold increases in traffic to their websites.


  • In the this period Slide has seen its global reach triple, while daily global unique visitors have grown from 753,000 to more than 2.3m, an increase of 207%.
  • HotorNot has doubled its global reach, boosting daily traffic by 152%, from 289,000 to more than 722,000.
  • RockYou has also tripled its reach, and daily visitor numbers have risen by 339%, from 286,000 to more than 1.3m.
  • The FT reports that Bay Partners is looking to make up to 50 investments of between $25,000 to $250,000 (£12,000 to £120,000) to help developers build Facebook applications.
  • The online payments service Paypal is asking for developers to create a Facebook application that uses PayPal, with a $10,000 prize for the winner.

HotorNot, Slide and RockYou are all enjoying the facebook effect (March ’07 saw 18 million users. July 07 saw numbers increase to 35 million!).

Just because you may not be a developer, don’t think you can’t compete. Coming up with the idea is what makes this work. People who get “it” are essential.

Maybe you are an online clothing retailer. Think outside the box. Think like your customers, what do they enjoy? What do they like talking about? Who do they speak to? What is on their profiles? What other applications do they use? What are their aspirations? Think how you can meet all or most of these needs and help them communicate your product or service in ways they already communicate and you’re halfway there.

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Steve Rubel reports that the page view is now dead. With the increased use of Ajax, updating only the dynamic content, page refreshes (and therefore their views) are no longer relevant.

Nielson are now measuring visit duration instead, but how does this address the matter of tabbed browsing? As soon as a new tab is opened, metrics start measuring the amount of time a user is on the website.

But, imagine (as I do) you open IE7 or Firefox with 3 tabs (Google Reader, BBC News and Facebook for example) the clock will start running even though on ALL 3 tabs at the same time, even though only one is "live".

With IE7 now bringing tabbed browsing to the mainstream how can metrics address this apparent shortfall in accuracy?

Maybe it already does, so if someone knows how this is being treated, please let me know!

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(thanks Euromac for the photo)

After many weeks of turmoil and a not insignificant amount of stress (!) I am delighted to say I have now accepted an offer of employment with a truly exciting company.

KMP, based in Stockport, Manchester are at the forefront of digital marketing, working on all manner of bluetooth, API, widget and social media projects, as well as industry-leading email and content-management systems. Aside from managing their own client-base, they provide many new media solutions to some of the largest agencies in the North.

They get "it" – we met on their facebook group – and I have never felt as enthusiastic about a job since…well, ever.

Digital is my life, and to be able to to what I love for a living is truly a thrill.

Bill, John and the rest of the guys, I really look forward to making this happen!

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