Tag Archives: Facebook

For Better Market Research Get Real Clicks not Fake Answers

For real information, watching what people do is way better than asking them what they think, what they did, or, the worst case, what they intend to do. That’s why I like this new click-based and search-based research so much.  Don’t go with what people say; go with what they do.

A great recent example is Marketing Profs’ In Social Media Era, Facebook Rules. The data is fascinating; but the methodology, and the tool used, is even more so. Screen Shot

This particular post, for example, uses Google Trends to illustrate the comparative rise and fall of the common phrases. You can see at the bottom of this post how the trends chart shows the rise and fall of the three terms “new media, web 2.0, social media.” You can look at the chart here – taken from that post, which, in turn, highlights research done by Justin Kistner posted on socialfresh. He’s saying that social media is the new third wave of the Web, and he uses the Google trends search and news charts to illustrate. I hope you can see it on the chart below. In Web searches, on the top, “new media” gradually fades from 2004 to now. “Web 2.0” goes up fast in 2005 and 2006, but peaks, and then falls. “Social media” goes up gradually, but seems to be accelerating. In Web news reports, on the bottom, social media is taking over.

Line charts

That’s done with Google Trends. Try it. Go to the Google Trends Web tool and start typing in search terms to see what the whole online world has been looking for, and finding, for the last few years. Try it with the terms “hamburger, sushi” and then with “Twitter, blogs” and you’ll see what I mean. I like what I see for “accountability,” which I think is increasing in importance these days.

This is a great tool for thinking, and planning. Educate those guesses.

Social Media = Conversation. With the Mike On. In a Large Room. And the Record Button Pressed

I just read about a university student who was dismissed from the football team because he complained about the coach on his Facebook page.

And there, in this person’s unfortunate plight, we get a good reminder: a lot of what happens in social media feels private, but isn’t. It’s publishing.

It’s that feeling of private that gets people into trouble. Sort of like speaking quietly to the person next to you, you think, and then discovering there was a live microphone right there, turned on, blasting your remark to a room full of people.

Once you’ve published something via social media, you are responsible for what you’ve said. In many cases, you’re responsible forever.

If you insist on thinking of it as conversation, then think of it as conversation next to an open microphone in a room full of people.

So please. Be careful. It isn’t private.

(Image: Dmitry Melnikov/Shutterstock)

The Joy of User Revolts

It’s not that surprising, really; and we’ve seen it before with Facebook. When Twitter released a new feature, and it’s users didn’t like it, they had to change it back.

The Wired Magazine online story is Mob Rule! How Users Took Over Twitter. I found it interesting reading.

For the same kind of thing in Facebook, here’s a link to a Google search for “Facebook user revolt.”

The user revolt is a high-class problem. It’s the trappings of success. It means 1) you have users; 2) they care about what you’re doing with the site they use; and 3) there’s a forum or medium they can use to make their opinions known.

This is a great sign of real success. It’s a problem only if nobody listens.

(Photo credit: Flickr cc, by Daliborlev)

The Next Big Thing Already Happened

The next big thing is never a repeat of last big thing. It’s always something new and different. It’s an original, not a copy.


What if the next Facebook already happened, and it was Twitter? What if the next Netflix already happened, and it was YouTube.

I see this a lot in business plans: businesses out to become “the next this” or “the next that.” Among the recent ones to cross my desk were “the Netflix of books” and “Facebook for business.” Yawn. Boring. Unrealistic. Copies are so unoriginal.

A tag line referring to some existing big thing (“Netflix for books“) rarely works.

(Image: Stephen Gibson/Shutterstock)

Help! One of Me, Dozens of Social Media Sites

I posted here yesterday about the landrush problem of social media, which is my phrase for what happens when user feedback systems are subverted by vendors seeding reviews.

Another social media trend that worries me is the proliferation of sites. How do I deal with all the different sites I’d like to join?

Currently, for me it’s Twitter first, then LinkedIn, and then Facebook. But I haven’t figured out what to do about LinkedIn connection requests from people I’ve never met, or Facebook friend requests from people who are business acquaintances. So that’s a problem.

But there’s a bigger problem brewing for me. I want to participate in another half dozen or so social media sites … but how? Do I log into each one to check messages? I’ve already joined a social network at Entrepreneur.com, and the Business Exchange for Business Week, and the American Express OPEN forum, and the new business.gov community site, and the SBDCNet community site too. And I like every one of them, but I don’t manage to log in and participate that much on any of them. And I don’t like the idea of having my tweets or updates from LinkedIn or Facebook automatically go anywhere. I have different kinds of information for the different sites.

And if that isn’t confusing enough, I’m enjoying the #ageop chat for 50-and-up people on Twitter every Thursday, which has led me to join the Growing Bolder social site; but I can’t seem to log on and respond to messages there. And I’ve got another social media membership for our local Eugene OR smartups business startup interest group.

Argghhh! What to do about all of them?

Facebook Disaster: Don’t Bother Coming In Tomorrow

I’ve had a run-in on this before, including this one on the Huffington Post that got a lot of comments …  but still, look at this delightful post from thenextweb.com:

Author Zee, editor in chief at thenextweb.com, titled it: “Note to self: Don’t ‘friend’ your boss and then bitch about the job.”

After all, what part of the word “publishing” don’t you understand? Or maybe I should point out the word “media” in the phrase social media? Nobody violated anybody’s privacy here. You don’t get to publish it and then claim it was private. It didn’t take a hacker to find it. No snooping was needed. Just, perhaps, a lapse of common sense and self-preservation instinct.

2 Pictures, 200 Words, Lots of Ideas.

Pictures, words, ideas. If one picture equals 1,000 words, how many ideas does it generate? Is there a transitive property there? I had time over the weekend to pick up two unrelated pictures. Each covers something entirely different. Both are full of ideas.

The first, a chart by Seth Godin:

From Seth Godins Blog
From Seth Godin

This is one of those things that must have been hard to come up with, but makes sense when you look at it. A map of communication. On the horizontal axis of the chart, from book on one end to a conversation at the other. With a book, the writer writes it at one point in time and the reader reads it at an entirely different time. With the telephone and coaching, both parties of the communication, sender and receiver, are involved at the same time. On the chart’s vertical axis, how much bandwidth is involved, from mail and graffiti at the low extreme, to movies and coaching at the high extreme.

The Second, from Buzz Networker:

from bizzia.com
From bizzia.com, buzzworker

This one is fascinating to me. As always with this kind of research, accuracy depends on how they sampled, but even if it could be off by a bit, it still gives a big picture of the main social networking sites (which is what I assume the acronym SNS stands for) usage by age. I have no conclusions to draw, but maybe you do.

GDGT: No, Please, Not Another Social Media Site!

I read it last weekend on the New York Times website. It’s about a new gadget site to be called GDGT starting this week, developed by founders of other gadget site successes. Get this:

Their new site, called GDGT, will open to visitors on Wednesday. It differs from Engadget or Gizmodo by aspiring to be a gadget-oriented social network. Users of the site can create profiles and specify which consumer electronics devices they have, had or want to buy. Then they can talk about those devices with other owners, discuss new trends and tips, and decide how and when to replace them. (Emphasis mine)

Granted, Twitter changes everything, Facebook too, and Ning is sensational. But please (that’s a three-or-four-syllable p-l-e-a-s-e) — when does this end. Are there infinite successful new ventures out there from just taking any common interest (like gadgets) and making them into social media sites instead? Isn’t there a saturation point?

Take my case; and I’m getting older now, I’m hardly the advance guard. But I have username and password for three of the obvious mainstream social media sites, plus groups including Entrepreneur.com, Smartups.org, asbdc.net, the Business Week social site, and several others I can’t remember.

And that’s the active phrase there: “several others I can’t remember.

I love gadgets. My son-in-law Noah and I exchange links and such about gadgets all the time. But the last thing I need is yet another new site, with another new password and username, that I’m supposed to be checking for messages. Not that username and password are a problem — plenty of tools for that — but that’s just not going to happen. It’s not just logging in, it’s finding the time and inclination to log into all of these special sites.

And maybe it’s an overdose from my business plan marathon last Spring. Every other new business is building a new social media site to bring people together.

And I just don’t think that’s going to work. Build a group in Facebook, or a chat group in Twitter, or something else that uses the ties and links we already have. Don’t give us another social media site.

In Love With Social Media? Do a Social Media Plan

OK, I agree, Twitter and Facebook can be fun, LinkedIn can be useful, but is the time you spend there really business time? Or is it just a rationalization for not doing real work?

I posted Social Media Business Plan in 5 Easy Pieces today on the American Express OPEN Forum. I like to think it’s a reminder that business activities ought to be about business, which means you can define business objectives, metrics, tasks and responsibilities, and then track and review progress. And of course that means revising the plan with course corrections on a regular basis.

It seems to me to be especially important for social media, because — at least for me — there is a fun factor that makes it especially alluring. Like allegedly low-calorie desserts. Waste your time without feeling guilty.

That’s one of the good reasons for doing a plan for your social media activities. And following up with it.

Big Brother vs. Social Media vs. Basil Fawlty

(Note: I posted this first on Huffington Post, and I’m reposting here because this is my main blog. Tim)

Secret cameras, secret Web utilities tracking employees’ Web use, secret phone recording and IM monitoring: that’s creepy. That’s BIG BROTHER: the Orwellian 1984 nightmare. But bosses reading your tweets and Facebook? What’s creepy about that isn’t that bosses might do it, it’s the rest of us complaining about it.

Frankly, my dear, stop complaining. Look up the definition of the verb “publish.” Because social media is publishing. Don’t be unclear on the concept.

Last week Deloitte LLP announced survey results: more than half the employees asked said employers should stay out of their Twitter and Facebook posts. And more than half the employers said exactly the opposite, that they have the right to read your stuff. Apparently few do — who has the time? — but they can.

Kudos to Deloitte LLP for doing the survey. It’s a growing issue. I noticed about a month ago, posting on SmartBlog, Drew McClellan asked: Is your social media presence really yours? She added:

A high-level ad exec puts a multimillion-dollar account at risk because of his tweet.  A long-time Eagles football team employee gets fired because of a Facebook update.  A student teacher is denied her teaching certificate for posting a picture of herself titled “drunk pirate” to her MySpace page.

Don’t tell me that your employer has no right to access, judge or discipline you based on your social media activities. It’s happening. And I suspect it’s only the beginning.

And I agree with Drew, and with the employers, and I kind of like this new development. I think it’s about authenticity. And transparency. And it’s not a bad thing. The world might need it.

I get privacy. I was a teenager in the 1960s, so of course I understand why we want protection from surveillance and rights to privacy. We grew up fearing the 1984 Big Brother nightmare. I don’t want the government or an employer listening into my conversations, putting me on hidden video, or even knowing what library books I read. That’s all the quintessential none of their business.

But privacy has absolutely nothing to do with publishing. It makes me angry. It reminds me of people complaining about caller ID on my phone — you’re intruding into my world when you call me, so don’t block your number. If you do, I won’t answer. What’s next, blocking the peephole in the hotel door because it violates the privacy of the person outside knocking?

We — we users, email addicts, Twitter lovers, website browsers, et al. — should have figured this out 10 or 15 years ago when we got immersed in email. Email was the ground breaker. It feels private, but isn’t. You think your email is private? Somebody minding your mail server can read it. And courts can demand it as evidence.

My favorite answer to this question is authenticity. Authenticity is being the same person most of the time, not different people in different contexts. For example, in his intriguing Me 2.0 book, Generation Y personal branding expert Dan Schawbel recommends using the same picture and same bio for every place you present yourself in the Twitter-Facebook-LinkedIn world.

I love the John Cleese character Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers. There’s great comedy as Basil tries to keep track of which lies he’s told to which characters. Isn’t that the direct opposite of authenticity? And is that who you want to be?

Samuel Johnson who once said we are all just acting out our favorite character in fiction. I like that idea. I think I see it in action a lot. And to follow it along into this new context, perhaps it’s like suggesting that you should choose which character that is, and stick with that one.

Or, to make it really simple, be yourself.  One person, the same person, everywhere. Novel idea.