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Ramblings on Social Media August 9, 2011

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Trends.
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You can find lots of information on the state of social  media.  Everyone not only has an opinion, but, is also willing to share. Myself included. There are posts that talk about the rapid pace of change, how social media is still evolving, what is the latest and greatest trend and so on. I submit that at this point, we move past that. Yes, it changes. Yes, it moves quickly and yes, we have tools to connect and share very easily. In all the maelstrom of change, let’s  remember the basics. Like common sense – which, isn’t always common. Below is a post from a Linkedin groups that is worth sharing. The comments are from Robert Fleming, President of the eMarketing Association.

Here are Robert’s 5 points of where we are with Social Media:

1. GOOGLE+ JOINS THE FRAY – Expect to see more and more social channels emerge, most will fail (although not Google+), so focus on what has critical mass today. That would be Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Linkedin. Rule number 1 – Focus.

2. READ YOUR TOC’S – Build a great page, fan base or whatever and then get kicked off the network, by the network. Do you want to run a contest for Facebook Fans, woopsy daisy, read the Facebook TOC’s on contests or you may just be out of a contest and a Facebook page. See the article below, if you are promoting via a contest on Facebook: (Rule number 2 – Read and understand the TOC’s)


3. SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTS ARE WRONG – Some of the time. Hey, everybody is (ok, even me). In a media channel moving as fast as Social (25 million+ users on Goggle+ in a month), things are constantly evolving. Rule number 3 – What is right today may be wrong tomorrow.

4. ADVERTISING IS STILL ADVERTISING – No matter what the channel or media, some things never change. You have to grab attention, persuade, and measure in virtually all advertising programs. There are different approaches for Television vs YouTube, but the objective is the same, to sell your brand, service or product. Rule number 4 – the basics of advertising are timeless.

5. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SOCIAL MARKETING PROGRAM – No you don’t. Especially if you are not willing to devote the time, money and energy necessary to do it well. Rule number 5 – All marketing programs require energy, poor marketing can can be worse than no marketing and actually hurt your product, service or brand.

I find these are refreshingly straight forward, candid and on the mark. Common sense, even. Don’t forget what you know. Maintain focus. I especially enjoy Robert’s take on # 3 above : ‘what is right today may be wrong tomorrow’. So, keep watching and be aligned with changes.

What’s your take? How will you influence where social media goes?


Additional Social Media Charts October 1, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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While writing my last post on changes in social behavior, I found these other charts on social media and I wanted to share them.

Adoption Curve for Social Media

Phases of Social Media adoption

This chart shows a phased transition in social media behavior. The mindshift milestones are accurate  as a key enabler for the next phase. For me, overall these phases are related to the Forrester behavior ladder with level of engagement I mentioned in my previous post.


Adoption Curve Web 2.0

Web 2.0 Adoption Curve

I like this 2nd chart for what is says looking forward but I don’t agree with the most recent past. I don’t think we failed as much as is shown; likewise for disappointment. I agree that there is a proportional relationship in perceived value with level of engagement. We are very competent right now and always are smarter in the future. 😉

I hope you find this useful and they provide you with some insights as we continue on this social journey.

Changes in Social Behaviors September 30, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Watching the evolution of behaviors in social media is always interesting and provides valuable insights.  Back in 2007, when social media really started to take off, I came across this chart from Forrester that describes the various behavior segments. Visually, it provides a quick self-identification of where you are on the behavior ladder in terms of involvement with social media.   The segments remain viable and Forrester recently indicated our behavior segments are changing with a rise in joiners along with a plateau in creators. Joiners will continue to look for ways to share and keep up with peers. Expect tools to make this easier still and marketing efforts should continue to focus on social networking next year and beyond. We have several data points now with these segments and Forrester will continue to monitor and update us on the behaviors going forward. If you have access to their latest chart, please post.

Social Media behavior segments

Social Behavior ladder

My behavior has changed and continues to evolve. I find it varies based on what topic is top of mind at any point in time. In the end, we are all consumers. What part of the ladder are you on and how has your behavior changed? Will you consume more and create less?

Oct. 1 – Some follow up thoughts on this post :

1) I added some additional charts available here on behaviors. Hope you enjoy them.

2) I looked back at the original article from Forrester in 2007 and noticed it was written by Charlene Li – no wonder I liked the article.

3) Links to both the original article and the related update on current behavior.

We’ve been tweeting longer than you think August 26, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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It occurred to me recently that the act of ‘tweeting’ actually has been around a long time. While Twitter is now mainstreamed as a common way to send short, bursty messages,  the act itself is really an old practice found in traditional media channels. Consider these examples :

  1. telegrams
  2. stock ticker
  3. newspaper headlines
  4. sports scores
  5. magazine articles
  6. billboard advertisements
  7. voice mail

In each of those forms, there is a focused  message to quickly grab interest and convey enough information to entice the reader to obtain more information. Except for voice mail of course – you get the idea.

    And this is not limited to just text, either. We also capture and share images via Flickr, picasso and such to communicate visually.

    Tweets, by another name, are also found in these digital platforms :

    1. FaceBook status updates and wall messages
    2. FriendFeedPlaxoFlickrLinkedIn
    3. cell phone text messages
    4. paid search keyword ads
    5. blog posts

    So, while we talk a lot about the tool whether it is Flickr, Twitter or whatever, we have used short form messaging in various forms for some time. Are we getting better at it? Are we more or less focused as a result?

    Imma keep it short and let you tell me.

    FaceBook jumps the shark July 19, 2010

    Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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    One thing I’ve noticed with trends and fads is that looking back on them, we usually say “What were we thinking?” With the passage of enough time, it can be difficult to remember what motivated us at the time. The reason(s) why something that was so important changed into the commonplace and then, a drudgery or worse, not cool anymore becomes lost over time. We’ve all seen example of this and the same progression will occur with Social Media. I maybe ahead of the curve of this, but there will come a time when FB will no longer be de rigueur but, instead,  passe. Will you remember where you were at this pivotal future moment? It will happen at some point. Certainly not a question of if, but of when. When it does, will that moment become an indelible memory for you?  One social media statistic I heard recently was that if FaceBook (FB) was a country, it would the 3rd largest in the world with over 500M users, er, ‘netizens’. Will they experience the same future gestalt and log off FB never to return?
    Another thing I’ve noticed is that trends based solely on technology have a finite lifetime. We tend to stay with something even when it is past its’ prime. Comfort, resistant to change, the migration effort and learning curve involved all play a part of staying with status quo, the familiar. We accept trade-offs and shortcomings; we settle. Until, of course, a game changer comes along. The bright, new shiny bauble that excites you. Entices you; teases you. You have to have it.

    As someone once said ‘Technology is cyclical’, there will be another widget/new thing to displace FB and occupy our time. It will have to be better, more convenient, easier. Also, it will need to make money. At some point in the (not too distant?) future, there will be a seminal moment when many of us will say “FB? I haven’t used it in months. Who does that anymore?”

    Predictions invited – what lifetime do you think FB will have? We will still use it in 5 years? 3 years? Next year?  Let me know – if I get enough responses, I update the post with a summary of the feedback.  Thanks in advance, til then see you on FB. 😉

    A look behind the tweet May 6, 2010

    Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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    What’s in a tweet? Well, actually, there is a lot. There is the visible text of 140 characters, of course. But, you might be surprised to know that tweet text is only part of the information conveyed when using twitter. Behind each tweet, some of what is included is the tweet unique id, the author’s user id, his/her url, biography and the tweet creation date. Other tweet information includes time zone where the author resides, number of tweets, followers, favorites,  how long he/she has been tweeting, country and the application used to generate the tweet.

    Partial Map of a tweet

    tweet map screen shot

    Most twitter users do not need to know this.  Analytic types and software developers can use this as a structure to monitor trends, verify applications, integrate with other social media platforms and so on.

    A shout out to @raffi on twitter for documenting this. I found this via one of his tweets. You can view all the details via this PDF on google docs.

    Another partial map of a tweet

    screen shot of tweet behind the scenes

    Did you realize all that was included in each tweet? Do you care? Let me know via a comment here, or send me a tweet! My id is @efr0702

    Tweet on!

    Social Media What, How, Who? November 19, 2009

    Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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    By now, there is no question Social Media (SM) is here to stay.  Everyday, it is further integrated into the digital mainstream. While many are active online, there are still many who are not. To get started with SM, the basics  are no different from deciding which movie to watch or what car to buy. You learned how to make those choices and you use that framework with social media as well.  There are many SM tools to choose from (!) to engage in the community. In no time, you will be twittering, writing on FaceBook and post on  digg or delicious.

    Good news –  there are lots of ways to get started. The web has, like, lots of advice on getting started in blogs and other web site articles.  You may want to use offline sources also – magazines, newspapers and books even.

    Start slow. Use the ‘crawl, walk, the run’ approach. You can also check my previous post on why to use twitter .

    Think of it this way – you watch TV and see lots of car commercials from many car companies, but you don’t/can’t buy every type of car.  Pick another topic, same scenario. You simply cannot do everything, be everywhere, see everything online. The digital web data stream is huge and keeps growing.  To navigate and be active in SM, learn how to filter and make choices based on your interests and other criteria.

    Keep it simple.
    It’s like making an entrance at a party. You don’t always know who’s there and where they might be. You look around, search for someone familiar and talk to them. As you interact within the SM community, you will make choices and begin to filter out things that are not of interest to you and find the topics that are.   Same thing here – use what you know initially and you will learn how to navigate the SM landscape – it’s easier than you think.

    Next time you hear someone say ‘I don’t know how to get started’, tell them to start with what they know and expand from there. They will  learn what is good, bad;  like, dislike and so on. It’s all part of the journey.

    Be safe out there, enjoy the ride and see you on the web! BTW, how did you get started?

    Social Media helps B2B September 21, 2009

    Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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    More and more companies are waking up to the potential gains in using Social Media to communicate with their B2B customers. It’s a natural progression when you think about it. By definition, you have an existing relationship with a captive audience. Businesses are now realizing they can expand on that relationship and gain competitive advantage. In a recent blogs post , Valeria Maltoni expands on ways to glean  insight on  how to leverage SM. Key opportunities in using SM with B2B clients include :

    • Communities of customers – get them talking about how you can solve challenges
    • Areas to move from conversation to conversion –  having a good relationship results from being responsive
    • improving a customers journey on every interaction – each one is an opportunity to make a impression.

    I posted recently about SM results in using B2B. This is all part of the SM learning curve we are currently in. Very soon, B2B(SM)* will be a ‘Well, of course’ observation for all of us. By being engaged with customers and suppliers, we all are influencing what will become common business practices that naturally integrate SM in the near future.  I also envision embedding SM tools in private sites to further expand the experience. To keep ahead of competition, I expect companies will find ways to stay out front that customize SM content even further with promotions, contract anniversaries, service announcements for specific products and so on. Up front planning and being committed to consistently use SM are some of the key success factors. For those of you with more B2B expertise, what do you think? How would you use SM with your B2B clientele?

    *B2B(SM) – you heard it hear first!

    Social Media use in B2B – Case Study & Results August 31, 2009

    Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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    Found this from a post on a LinkedIn group I subscribe to. Interesting account on how Twitter and other SM tools were used for a  recent B2B initiative. Includes Lessons Learned that are worth reading. Here’s the link.

    Take aways include :

    1. There is a learning curve – don’t underestimate
    2. Training for new skills -have them before you need them
    3. Not as bad as it seems – the worst did not happen
    4. Catch up to competition – SM provided increased visibility with others and crowded the landscape a little more
    5. Blurred lines – between internal groups on who does what.
    6. Manage from the middle – very interesting concept similar to having decision made by those closest to the work. Trust your staff has the right skills and experience. Don’t wordsmith – not a good use of your time!

    It’s great that the lessons learned are added here. Will B2B have increased use of SM? How does that change current SM practices?

    Twitter – fad or here to stay? June 8, 2009

    Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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    It is amusing to me the consistent number of  people questioning the value and longevity of Twitter.  Mixing metaphors, I find the focus here is between the preacher and the choir here while the congregation is on the sidelines. There is no need to convince the converted. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.* 

    Mind you, the ironic part to me is these are posts on the Twitter site.  Tweet equivalents include :

    1. “Do you think this will be a useful marketing tool?”
    2. “Is it just the new thing until something else comes along?”
    3. “Why should I use it?”
    4. “What do I talk about?”

    On several other sites, I have read blog posts about it, columnists have written numerous articles, and lately, the mainstream media pundits have discussed at length. I’m sure you have seen and read much of the same.

    My answers :

    1. Yes! Where have you been (using my inside voice)?
    2. It is becoming a common and accepted business practice to connect and interact with  customers.
    3. See above.
    4. Talk about what you know and hopefully, something that others will connect with and care about.

    Imagine the related ensuing discussion on another topic. For example, a conversation gearheads might have on the comparative automotive merits between Chevy and Ford. Potential quips from that dialogue (diatribe?) would run something like :

    1. “I’ll take a classic ’57 T-Bird anyday.”
    2. “Shelby Cobra Mustangs rule!”
    3. “‘The ’72 SS Chevelle is one of the all time muscle cars.”
    4. “Corvette is the only American made sports car.”

    The difference with gearheads is they have the conversation standing next to the car, or whilst enjoying sustenance and an adult libation. Imagine then in the Twitter scenario the debate in merits of Fords vs. Chevy occurred while driving. Doesn’t happen, except maybe in  a  ‘B’ movie scene.  And that’s my point – that scenario is the equivalent of those tweets on Twitter.

    I say “Enough already! Move on people.” At this point, tweeting about the value of Twitter is redundant and a waste of time. If you get it, you don’t need to ask. If you don’t get it, observe, absorb and learn. Tangent topics to assess value and measure such as Heisenberg Uncertainty principle come to mind also, but I digress.  Twitter is a good tool; versatile, flexible, quick and reliable. Certainly a powerful and useful communication tool for our time but, it is not a panacea. 

    To be sure, I use Twitter myself and have refrained from comment about its’ viability. Referencing Gladwell again, I submit we are beyond the Tipping Point now. There are enough mavens, connectors and salesmen/women that espouse Twitter to agree that it is beyond a fad.  Going forward as the lifecycle moves beyond a fad, the metrics defined and accepted to assess and measure value will mature. We will learn and agree on how to commonly gauge success. Just like we did with measuring horsepower, compression ratios, wheelbase and 1/4 mile times. For me, the SS Chevelle always  was just out of reach, but, that is another story.


    *For those who used the Internet (not web) back in the before time, this was the catchphrase for a regular contributor to the Newsgroup for movies. If memory serves, his moniker was BillyBob. His reviews were laced with good ‘ol boy humor and inserted that phrase from time to time. Disclaimer here as the years I read them date back to the early ’80’s.