Archive for October, 2009
October 30th, 2009
Last week I enjoyed a long awaited holiday, and took the decision to step away from the social web for a while to refresh and recharge. It worked well, but it seems the world changes dramatically in a week.
Top of the list of changes during the last week for me was the revelation that apparently Twitter costs the UK economy Â£1.38bn per year, that’s pretty good for a free service.
This figure, which was fairly widely covered at the beginning of this week, originated from a survey of 1460 UK office workers for IT services and technology company Morse.
Philip Wicks, consultant at Morse, speaking in the Telegraph said the true cost to the economy could be substantially higher than the Â£1.38bn estimate.
â€œWhen someone is asked for their own use they say around 40 minutes a week, but when asked about their colleagues they say they say up to an hour a day. We have used the lower of those figures rather than the high point.
â€œIt is the sort of thing people constantly use which means that its not quite the same as doing a crossword, where you spend half an hour on it and it is finished. When it comes to an office environment the use of these sites is clearly becoming a productivity black hole.
â€œSocial networking can be a cause for good when it is used professionally but I think organisations need to wake up â€“ that is not the way it is always being used.â€
Okay, so employees do use Twitter while at work to catch up with their friends and of course some will over do this, but isn’t this only a very small part of the story? What about the positive effects of Twitter and social media as a whole on the UK economy? And are we saying employees didn’t skive off before Twitter was accessible in the work place?
Of course I realise this survey is a PR-focused tactic to propel the brand into a number of high profile media outlets, therefore the results should be taken with a pinch of salt, but the reporting all seems to follow the rather dramatic angle of going for the scare tactic, rather than the balanced opinion. Even the comments in the Telegraph piece show the frustrations of the readers.
So, for a more balanced opinion I turned away from the mainstream and a quick search turns up two much more relevant evaluations of this research from econsultancy and Drew Benvie who makes a great point that: The IT supplier that released this research seems to have done little more than show how out of touch it is with a generation and demographic which simply uses different ways to communicate, for business, personally, and shock horror, for both together when the two mix…..Exactly!
I don’t think this research will be taken seriously, in fact it may harm the brand a little more than they had first considered. Even if we take the figure at face value, I’m sure if we were to ask a similar sample of businesses how much they feel has been made, both financially and through good will/contacts, information, customer service and communicating directly to their market/customers via Twitter, the profit would vastly outweigh the loss.
The simple truth is that social networks and wider online communications is how the UK economy is going to be making a good percentage of its money in the future, so to suggest it is a cost rather than a benefit is the real scandal.
October 30th, 2009
Welcome to another instalment of the â€˜Weekly Social Media sites, tools and posts round upâ€™
1. Twibes Twitter Groups, create your own tribe ‘twibe’ or sign up for an existing one. A twibe is a group of Twitter users interested in a common topic who would like to be able to communicate with each other.
2. istatz allows you to value your website based on a number of factors, including:Â Google PR | Alexa Rank | Compete Rank | Backlinks Checker | Server IP | Website Age | Domain Whois | Domain Creation and Expiration Dates | Estimating Web Traffic | Domain Value and Worth | Website Server Data | Analysing Potential Google Adsense Income and text Link Value | Check DMOZ Listing | Check Yahoo Listing | Reverse IP | Search Engines Backlinks | Number of Indexed Pages and more.
3. Schmaps is a nice tool that promotes your events via Twitter. You create your event page and that gets tweeted out via a tiny url. The event page consists of a map, i’ll be there section, your imported Twitter background and all the Twitter comments surrounding your event.
4. WordPress TV is a platform to showcase all things WordPress including how to’s, new technologies, and expert interviews. This should be your first port of call if you ever run into WordPress issues!
5. Add new followers is a Twitter tool that automates the task of finding target followers based on keywords.
Social Media post of the week:33 Hot Social Media and Digital Marketing Tips (and 8 Killer Quotes)
SEO post of the week: The 30 Free SEO Tools You Must Know
More of the same next week.
October 27th, 2009
Guest blogger Lorraine Warren, who is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton, on Twitter power for good causes.
Itâ€™s fantastic to see that Jane Walker from Southampton, who founded the Philippine Community Fund in 1996 has recently been honoured at the 54th annual Women of the Year Lunch in London. In short, the PCF helps families scraping a living on dump sites in the poorest slums of Manila, including the notorious Smokey Mountain.
They take an holistic approach, providing education, food, healthcare and skills training to whole families, not just children. They are also innovators, for example building a school from 72 recycled shipping containers, due to open next June.
I became aware of the PCF almost by accident when I arrived in SouthamptonÂ five years ago, through a chance reading of a newspaper article. It was the right time for me to sponsor a child. I was doing so well and I wanted some of that affluence to benefit someone with much less â€“ and it cost so little, only Â£18 a month today. So began my relationship with Leonelyn.
For me, PCFâ€™s achievements are writ large across the noticeboard in my office. The little girl I began sponsoring five years ago has changed so much. The first pictures I had of Leonelyn show a pretty little girl in a smart little blue school dress â€“ but she looked so sad and shy.
Nowadays, I see pictures of her smiling and laughing, sometimes with her mother (and new baby brother), sometimes in school, dressed up at special events. Her letters brighten my wall too, multicoloured and getting better with every passing year.
Watch Jane Walker on news video:
Most people in Southampton will learn of Janeâ€™s award, and indeed all the hard work she and her team have put into building PCF, through the local Daily Echo. As a sponsor I had already heard the story, but I was pleased to see it go out on Twitter as @dailyecho has 1358 followers including me. And what a great chance for social media to amplify the message!
The immediate RTs from me (as @doclorraine) and @timsgreenhalgh immediately got the message out to about another 1000 people. PCF could certainly do with any help thatâ€™s out there â€“ the recent heavy rains have made conditions on the dumps even worse than usual. Now, Iâ€™m hoping that this blog post will send round another wave of interest.
October 23rd, 2009
Welcome to another instalment of the â€˜Weekly Social Media sites, tools and posts round upâ€™
1. Google sites - “Google Sites is powerful enough for a company intranet, yet simple enough for a family website”
2. 10 years of boradband - Not really a tool, but a nice timeline of 10 years of broadband in the UK (client)
3. Score in the box – Type in a domain name and find out how a website scores. ScoreInTheBox uses a unique formula consisting of variables such as PageRank, backlinks and popularity to calculate a score for each website entered.
4. Google building maker – Building Maker is a 3D modelling tool for adding buildings to Google Earth. It’s fun to use, and an easy way to get on the 3D map. Select a city from around the world. Make a building with photos provided, save your building and it will be reviewed. See your 3D building in Google Earth.
5. Graffitter – Grafitter is a personal informatics tool for collecting and exploring information about your habits and patterns.
Social Media post of the week:Top ten social media presentations
SEO post of the week:The SEM Toolbox: 79 Tools and Tips Every Search Marketer Must Have
More of the same next week.
October 16th, 2009
I love this flash application from Gary Hayes at Personalize Media, showing just how active the social web is in realtime. It’s one of those very simple social applications that just works, no explanation needed. If you can’t grasp the size of the social web using this, you’re a tough sell. It was also featured on Media Guardian this week.
According to the blog post, Gary will be finessing the design and adding extra functionality (such as week, month & year lookahead/backs plus dynamic data input).
He has also provided a useful rundown of current stats that were used to develop the counter based on data he pulled from a range of social media sources and compiled at the end of September 2009.
- 20 hours of video uploaded every minute onto YouTube (source YouTube blog Aug 09)
- Facebook 600k new members per day, and photos, videos per month, 700m & 4m respectively (source Inside Facebook Feb 09)
- Twitter 18m new users per year & 4 m tweets sent daily (source TechCrunch Apr 09)
- iPolicy UK â€“ SMS messaging has a bright future (Aug 09)
- 900, 000 blogs posts put up every day (source Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008)
- YouTube daily, 96m videos watched, $1m bandwidth costs (source Comscore Jul 06 !)
- UPDATE: YouTube 1Billion watched per day SMH (2009)- counter updated!
- Second Life 250k virtual goods made daily, text messages 1,250 per second (source Linden Lab release Sep 09)
- Money â€“ $5.5 billion on virtual goods (casual & game worlds) even Facebooks gifts make $70 million annually (source Viximo Aug 09)
- Flickr has 73m visitors a month who upload 700m photos (source Yahoo Mar 09)
- Mobile social network subscribers â€“ 92.5m at the end of 2008, by end of 2013 rising to between 641.6-873.1m or 132m annually (source Informa PDF)
- SMS â€“ Over 2.3 trillion messages will be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008 (source Everysingleoneofus sms statistics)
You can download the counter for yourself here.
October 12th, 2009
If you haven’t heard of Google Wave yet you must be have been living under a rock for the last few weeks. But fear not, in this post I will share some of the better posts with you to get you up to speed, and hopefully encourage you to have a go yourself, if you’re lucky enough get an invite that is.
2. You should also check out some of the Google Wave featured extensions which give you a sense of what’s coming next.
4. Google Wave: A Music Industry Primer, goes on to highlight how the music industry could use waves.
5. Here is a third party video explaining Google Wave.
6. Lifehacker has an in-depth post on Google Wave features, etiquette, and extensions. Including all these handy shortcuts.
8. Force.com have put together a new demo on how you might leverage the Wave platform on salesforce.com and how you could leverage salesforce.com from Wave. Interesting stuff!
9. And finally to round things off, The psychology of Google Wave
One last point, I don’t have an invite yet, so please do the honourable thing and help me out if you have one going spare!
October 9th, 2009
Welcome to another instalment of the â€˜Weekly Social Media sites, tools and posts round upâ€™.
1. Klout, is a Twitter tool that measures influence across the social web. It allows you to track the impact of your opinions, links and recommendations.
2. Gobbledygook Grader is an essential tool for anyone writing a press release, the tool checks for use of gobbledygook, jargon and over-used, hype-filled words.Once you have submitted your release you get a score based on the above factors.
4. Wikia is a website with many wikis under one roof. The portal has at least 50,000 communities on various subjects pulling in 30 million eyeballs each month.
5. Lynki is a platform that allows you to find new and interesting websites in your favourite categories. You can also submit your own sites and vote for others that you like.
SEO post of the week: 69 Free (or low cost) Tools to Improve Your Website
Social Media post of the week: Chris Brogan’s case study links on Delicious
October 8th, 2009
There has been plenty of discussion surrounding Biz Stone’s interview with the Tribune Newspapers in the U.S on Wednesday, as he offered an insight into the platform’s plans for future monetisation. Of course this isn’t the first time Stone has mentioned some sort of corporate premium feature, and he went onto state that new services would be introduced by the end of 2009, as mentioned earlier in the year.
The introduction of paid-for services is an inevitable element of Twitter’s continued development, and by focusing on charges for the corporate user Twitter is testing the water by focusing on the path of least resistance.
However, Stone also confirmed that Twitter would remain free for all users, including businesses, and that the new premium features would focus on additional services such as analytics, which I think many corporate users would happily pay for – depending on cost of course.
“We’re only just now entering a phase in Twitter’s lifetime where we’re able to develop new products,” Stone said to the LA Times.
I think keeping a free service is essential for Twitter, and approaching the monetisation question by introducing new services reduces any potential backlash from Twitter’s legion of advocates who would undoubtedly be less supportive if they were charged for a service they’ve enjoyed for free over the last few years.
The Tribune articles also went onto confirm that Twitter won’t introduce ads this year, and will retain its current model of a fully open platform, which allows third-party developers to continue developing new services to make Twitter a more useful platform: Stone said: “The idea that an economy is being built on the Twitter platform is encouraging to us. It depends on how you look at it. But we look at it as a super-healthy ecosystem. It signals that we’re here to stay.”
The question of Twitter ads is perhaps more of a difficult one to deal with. Changing the way we view Twitter with potentially intrusive advertising will evoke much more of a response than the question of corporate services, and that’s going to be the first real test for Twitter’s quest to build revenue.
The terms confirmed:
The services may include advertisements, which may be targeted to the content or information on the services, queries made through the services, or other information. The types and extent of advertising by Twitter on the services are subject to change.
In consideration for Twitter granting you access to and use of the services, you agree that Twitter and its third-party providers and partners may place such advertising on the services….
On Twitter’s blog Biz Stone said: “We leave the door open for advertising. We’d like to keep our options open, as we’ve said before,”
There is much speculation surrounding how Twitter ads could be delivered, including on users’ home pages on the website, or alongside search terms, or even by allowing advertisers to place ads in the streams of tweets, but this would seem very unlikely considering Twitter’s careful approach to keeping users on side to date.
I expect Twitter to remain cautious and avoid upsetting its biggest asset, its loyal followers, at all costs. There will undoubtedly be more changes to Twitter over the next six months, but if done correctly by offering additional services that add value these may in fact open up the platform to more usage, as we’re a very long way from its potential in my opinion.< >< ><–>
October 2nd, 2009
We experienced a major milestone this week in the form of Online advertising spend overtaking Television advertising spend for the first time in the UK.
To be precise, the research from the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers confirmed that online spending grew 4.6% to Â£1.752bn in the first half of 2009, a 4.6% year-on-year increase, while TV spending shrank 16.1% to Â£1.639bn. Overall advertising fell 16% compared with the same period in 2008.
The internet now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising money spent in the UK, while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets. These figures are in stark contrast to the first time the IAB measured Internet advertising in 1998, when the figure was just Â£19.4m. That’s quite a leap! As reported by the Guardian.
As a result, the celebrations kicked off on Wednesday and Twitter was buzzing with the great and good of digital welcoming the news and highlighting it as a landmark for digital, which I totally agree with in more ways than one. Not only did the internet take first place ahead of time (originally predicted by the end of the year), but the UK has become the first major economy where advertisers spend more on advertising on the Internet than they do on television (although in Denmark Internet ad sales overtook TV earlier in the year).
So, that’s what the report said, and the digital reaction, but that’s only one part of the story, and of course the TV guys aren’t going to let this one go without a fight. Lindsey Clay, marketing director at Thinkbox, the marketing body for the main UK commercial television broadcasters, was quoted in a BBC piece:
“Online marketing spend is made up of many things including e-mail, classified ads, display ads and, overwhelmingly, search marketing. They should be judged individually.
“The internet is a fantastic technology and home to many different marketing activities that do different things. As such, it is interesting but meaningless to sweep all the money spent on every aspect of online marketing into one big figure and celebrate it.
“Television advertising remained the most effective advertising medium â€˜pound for pound’ but was even more effective when put together. To set them up in competition is a mistake and misses their complementary relationship.”
Now obviously I’m biased, but to try and belittle the figures by saying online marketing spend is made up of many disciplines leaves a bit of a sour taste considering the Internet was looked upon as a minor irritation to the power house of the TV industry only a few years ago.
Yes, an advertising recession has seen TV advertising spend fall, and this has ultimately pushed the Internet to the front much quicker, but to say TV advertising is the most effective advertising medium is quite a statement, considering the move to the Internet has followed the consumers move online and its superior measurability.
I have to admit that the point raised by Tess Alps from Thinkbox, who added her thoughts in a comment on Revolution‘s story, saying the figures did not compare like with like, made a bit more sense: “the IAB has used only TV spot advertising revenue for comparison when they themselves have aggregated all forms of online marketing into one big number for themselves but not applied the same methodology to other media. I can’t give you the equivalent number for the first half of 2009 but the Ofcom figure for total broadcast TV commercial revenue in 2008 was Â£3.74bn net. Online TV revenue is in addition to that.’
But this doesn’t really have an overall baring on the ultimate end game, which is that however you cut the figures and at whatever point you make the cut-off at, the change is coming, this is real proof that the Internet is becoming the focus for advertising, and all the denial and arguing will be swept out of the way soon.
The truth is that many media sectors have considered the Internet as secondary or supportive to their traditional mediums. The facts are slapping them in the face yet still there is denial.
This is the fundamental issue with the print and broadcast industries – a failure to evolve. It has started now, about 5-10 years later than it should and the delay has cost jobs and valuable position, but continuing to deny the issue is quite unbelievable, especially considering that print, TV, online and mobile are blurring. So, standing in your old boys club and ranting isn’t really relevant because the world you live in is changing and very soon you’re going find yourself still defending your position to an ever decreasing audience.
As final proof of this denial, here’s a quote from Adam Smith, futures director at WPP’s combined media operation Group M, who argued in the Guardian that the Internet’s share of total UK ad spend could be close to its peak.
“This day was bound to arrive, as the internet has been attracting a huge long tail of advertisers that have not advertised before doing completely new things. It is a memorable event. However, it is a bit simplistic to make this comparison [and] it is always possible that internet’s share [of total UK ad spend] could go backwards if TV has a good year.”
Words fail me. Close to its peak? In my opinion this is only the beginning, Internet ad spend will continue to grow, and although I’m sure we will see the face, form and medium of advertising change, it will be the Internet that provides the focus of this hybrid and it’ll be the digital thinkers that will be leading it.
October 2nd, 2009
Welcome to the second installment of ‘Weekly Social Media sites, tools and posts round up’. If you have any social media or web 2.0 tools you are particularly fond of please let me know and I will scrutinise them and possibly add them to my weekly list.
Here is this week’s social media tools list in no particular order:
1. TweepML.This is a really great idea, it allows you to create Twitter user lists and then share and follow them easily. Their are already some out there. Get your list up at TweepML, you can view them here.
2. YOURLS. This neat little service lets you create a custom URL shortening service. It also allows you to collate data from each link. You might need the tech team’s help with getting it going unless you use WordPress, as YOURLS has developed a wordpress plugin.
3. Ranking the Brands collects all brand rankings published worldwide, and adds the findings to one central resource. There are currently not that many listing but it’s worth having a trawl around the different sub categories to drill down into different sectors.
4. Twitter power 150.The Twitter version of the Power150 Ranking, now run by Advertising Age. It was published back in January 2009, so a little out of date, but still a good place to find industry experts.
5. Twitter Steam graphs. StreamGraph shows the usage over time for the words most highly associated with your search word. The graphs look pretty impressive, for a more in-depth overview visit the site.
Top post of the week: Is online PR the ultimate link-building technique?
Top SEO post of the week: The Only SEO Tools Youâ€™ll Ever Need
More of the same social goodness next week, until then!