Entries in social media (12)


Would Friends Let Friends Burn Nonrenewable Energy?

The advent of the social revolution, marked by the rise of social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+, makes us increasingly aware that human behavior is tremendously influenced by the opinions of our friends, colleagues and family.

For although we've appreciated since the mid-90s, that word-of-mouth is a powerful influencer, it really wasn't until we could actually witness directly the reaction to our own tweets and status messages that we palpably felt the power of of our closest circles to socially influence us and compel us to take action.

And while some worry that social networks combined with mobile access propel social unrest, it's also true that social connectedness whether via online, wireless or  via simple word-of-mouth, can lead to extremely  positive behavioral change -- whether its personal health, social causes, discouraging terrorism or adopting sustainable technologies.

Nothing so brought this home to me than my recent discovery of a wonderful infographic created by One Block Off the Grid, a group-buying website for green home improvements. In my book, this graphic  is a key study for all green marketers.

Source:- One Block Off the Grid 

Power in Numbers Neighbors

Beyond the studies summarized in the infographic, there are others which indicate that what our friends and neighbors think can have tremendous impact in effecting positive behavioral change.  A 2009 article in Yale's Environment 360 , Can Peer Pressure Promote Greener Choices, described two studies I'll summarize briefly here.

One of the best known is a late 80's campaign taking place in Hood River, Oregon, in which local civic groups collaborated to enroll entire neighborhoods in a weatherization campaign, where green, energy-efficient improvements were made available at  extremely low cost to home-owners.  Although the campaign had a goal of only some 20-30% household participation among the 3500 homes in the project, the end results came closer to 90%. That's right: No type. 90%.

Equally remarkable was that this principally word-of-mouth campaign, neighbors talking to neighbors, was so successful that the project only used approximately 75% of the marketing budget to get this spectacular result.

Similarly, community involvement campaigns in Arizona , have successfully boosted adoption of both household recycling behavior and water conservation.  For instance, even in a community which didn't practice water conservation, researchers found that you could persuade people to reduce water use simply by telling them that their neighbors approve of the idea.  In commenting on his results to Yale, Arizona State psychologist Robert B. Cialdini, remarked,
"People don't just want to conserve energy, they want to be acknowledged for conserving energy".
What's the main message of these studies?  Increasingly, we are learning that compelling people to take action, modifying their behavior, is accelerated not through logical facts like price discounts and data points, but rather even more effectively through influencing their friends and neighbors. As Mark Earls, author of the book Herd said, "most behavior is not shaped by people making decisions independently, based on good or bad information or having their emotions played with. It is shaped by the behavior of other people around us."


The infographic holds some powerful lessons that environmental marketers can use in their marketing messaging - both offline and online- namely, go positive and  encourage collaborative behavior.  And even though much of the data depicted is based on offline behavioral studies, we  see the power of near-circles of influence in people's behavior on social networks daily. How can a green marketer take advantage of that online?


In my next post, I'll explore nine social lessons from these behavioral studies that  renewable energy marketers, whether inside large suppliers or the smallest of solar contractors, can exploit to create a more persuasive message. To those who have held off on building a social media strategy, who give it low priority, or who simply use social media as another broadcasting platform,  I hope to give you something to reevaluate that decision: You just may be missing one of the most powerful opportunities to encourage adoption of your products and services.

Of Cheez Doodles, Sheep & Sleep: Signposts on the Social Media Wall

Despite all that Social Media has done for us, it does have its dark side: For in the crowd enthusiasm for the subject, there are now myriads of marketers  portraying themselves as Social Media Gurus and Ninjas, shouting out their " personal brands" and boasting their ever-pervasive influence scores (and associated Perks).

 One can't help but feel somewhat annoyed by some of this.

 If you too have gagged over the over-hyping of A-listers,  noted the outrageous claims done in the pursuit of high ticket consulting projects and, yes, despaired over the grossly simplified  pseudo-quantifications of social influence, you'll take some solace in these three recent irreverent posts.


1. How 'branding is ruining journalism (Gene Weingarten)

Feeling a bit tweeked out about the recent over-focus on personal branding? Washington Post humorist, Gene Weingarten's wry wit and pointed commentary on the subject completely lays waste to the fame game antics - so pervasive as to have entered the field of journalism. To give you a flavor of his style, here are some excerpts...


 "...it is disheartening to learn that journalism schools are responding to this challenge by urging their students to market themselves like Cheez Doodles." ...
...."Now, the first goal seems to be self-promotion — the fame part, the “brand.” That’s because we know that, in this frenetic fight for eyeballs at all costs, the attribute that is most rewarded is screeching ubiquity, not talent. It is why Snooki — who is quite possibly literally a moron — has a best-selling book."
But go read the full post yourself for a chuckle or a good lulz.  (Hat tips to both Geoff Livingston and David Svet for sharing Weingarten's post.)

2. Make Yourself An Influencer by Playing the Klout +K Game (Danny Brown)

Like many of us, Danny Brown has a few reservations on the usefulness of Klout (aka The Standard of Influence) , and in particular their newish +K feature which allows you a tag a person as an expert on a topic.

To demonstrate the shortcomings, and particularly the gameability of  that feature, Danny and Dino Dogan (of Triberr fame) teamed up to create a hilarious video on Danny's  high K+ score on All Things Sheep Related. Here's the video below...


3. Lessons Learned from Go the F--k to Sleep (Marc Girolimetti)

Tired of all the rabid  pimpery and shiny object obsessions within the social media crowd? Technorati's Marc Girolimetti provides a fab Social Media Remix  of the best-seller, Go the F--K to Sleep. Marc's comic spin-off is one cathartic read, punking absurdities that deserve a good punking.

Here's a sample. (Preferrably to be read in actor Samuel Jackson's voice.)

The gurus nestle close to their tablets now.
The ninjas have logged on and are starting to creep.
You’re cozy and warm in your Tumblr, my dear.
Please go the fuck to sleep.

The bubble grows big in this town, child
The SEO pros StumbleUpon in the deep.
I'll re-tweet yoru ridiculous post titled "What's ROI?"
If you swear you'll go to sleep.

You can read the rest here...


Yes, Social Media needs more snarky posts like these. For just as the total number of posts on a subject serves as a sign of the market interest in a topic, the number of snarky posts on a topic can serve as a sign of a questionable approach or suspect technology.  Just as in the tale of The Emperor's New Clothes, too many hesitate to disagree with the status quo in the fear of being wrong and being punished . But the snark post is really the fearless jester throwing off the status quo, revealing that the king is wearing no clothes. 

And after reading these fine posts you'll agree: Sometimes the Social Media King is ...well...just laughably butt naked.


What social media practice or technology do you believe deserves a good snarking?


Internet Fame and The True Impact of Influence

Join us to talk about Internet Fame and the True Impact of Influence in a BlogTalkRadio show on Wednesday February 9 at 10pm ET. Show Topic: You may be aware that there is a big debate going on in the social media blogosphere about "influence". We're all familiar with the mantra that we should be out there leveraging influencers in our communities in order to get the word out about our causes, brands or services... and that makes total sense from a generating-word-of-mouth point of view. But hold on. If you're trying to do this, and you don't actually know who your industry influencers are (perhaps because you're not really immersed in your own open community, or because your community is too large or public-facing to be able to list your champions in an organic way), and you're looking at some tools out there that purport to measure influence.... maybe you're starting to think "this is not as easy as it sounds."

Click to read more ...


How to Use a Social Media Release as a Zen Stepping Stone for Newbies

Introducing social media to traditionalist public relations clients in not for the faint of heart. This is a case study of how a social media release (SMR) can be used to woo skeptical clients.

Click to read more ...


Five Schema-Busting Slides for Moving CEOs Beyond Search to Social


As Valeria Maltoni (@ConversationAge) put it so well in a recent post describing the increasing adoption of social media "marketers are finally putting their money where our conversation has been -- integrating social with their activities".

Even so, as a marketing consultant to smaller companies, I am approached by client firms that are still resistant to the "sea change" in the air. Frankly, some are still operating with 2007 market data (and schemas) in their heads. So it is I find myself called into executive strategy briefings and staff meetings and given a short time slot to plead the case for adopting social media.

Perhaps you know the drill?  Fifteen "make it or break it" minutes to stand and present, survive a firing line of questions and, hopefully, actually survive long enough to open the door to discussing the company's own social media strategy. Catch: There's not enough time to show the Social Media Revolution video.

What I've found works very well in such situations is to have an opening set of market research slides, "schema-busting" slides I call them, which set a big picture marketing context, highlighting that our former Google-centric view of the online universe of the past decade is changing.

Yes- I refer to the ROI of Dell's social media use, Zappos, the brilliant customer service case studies of Comcast, the product innovation crowdsourcing by Starbucks, the even more brilliant crowdsourcing experiment by NetFlix  and many others. However, too often, there can be a NIMI (Not-in-My-Industry) attitude that raises objections. So I launch usually with a more macro view of recent significant data. The sole purpose of these schema busters is to establish that significant changes are underfoot which require an alteration of the current marketing strategy, a realization of that "Ignore at your own peril" moment.

After all, why else would I be advocating a marketing strategy change?

Lately, I've had good results using the following slides.


Slide 1.

Social Media Sites are now among some off the top web properties. Dramatic changes have taken place since 2007.

Compete data | Erik Qualman's Socialnomics slideshare

There's no sense in being taken down on the first serve. As they say, begin on an unassailable point. Starting off with  Compete, Quantcast or Nielsen data -  authoritative market and web researchers - does just that. So I start by borrowing this slide from Erik Qualman's Socialnomics slideshare which shows Compete data to show that social media has changed significantly the top visited places on the net - places where people are sharing photos, product recommendations and links to articles with friends and colleagues. (Perhaps not the best time to point out that  'adultfriendfinder' will soon be replaced by Chatroullete though.)

This simple slide forces the conclusion " Dang, major tectonic shifts  have happened since 2007." More importantly, it forces the question," Maybe we should revisit our strategy?"


Slide 2.

People online now spend 7 hours per month "friendcasting".

This is more time than spent on search engines Google & Yahoo, as well as MSN and YouTube combined.

In a sense there's nothing really shattering about the data actually as it reinforces what we've always known, Word of Mouth is the most powerful recommendation driver.

You can make a similar point by referencing Compete's latest data in terms of "attentional time" market share, shown  in a more visual format.

Slide 3.

Facebook Commands More "Attentional time" Market Share than Google or YahooSource: MarketingCharts, Feb 2010

What's cool about these last two slides is that they now set the stage for you to raise the question: Would you like your company to be part of this 7 hour per month conversation, one which is rising in attentional market share? Be part of the shared photos? The shared articles? The product reviews and recommendations?

Slide 4

Facebook is Besting Google in Driving Traffic to the main portal sites.

Based on data from Compete, Feb 2010

Compete Inc. and their director of online media and search Jessica Ong ignited a powder keg in revealing this data during a late February interview with the San Francisco Chronicle,

I say "powder keg" as this data ignited considerable reaction from within the SEO community. So be advised, Search and SEO aficionados within your audience may also take issue, especially as that group commands the lion's share of the digital marketing spend today. (It may help with any tumult here to say, to those who dispute that Google competes with Facebook and Twitter that more recently Google lists both as competitors in their latest 10-K report. )


Slide 5.

Social Networking is Passing Search in Driving Referral Traffic

Source: Compete January 2010

I first saw this slide just days ago during an enlightening presentation by Gigya CEO, David Yovanno at Gigya's "Social is The Next Search" webinar. While I've not actually used this slide yet, I will as it really delivers the coup de grace. In fact, if you only have one slide to show - this is it.

That social sharing is outdistancing search in referral traffic was pointed out earlier in a prescient blog post by ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick. He wrote

What would it mean if social networking over-took search in terms of sheer visits online? It would mark a sea-change on the internet. No longer would our dominant use of the web be seeking out web-pages built by HTML web-masters! Now we would all be publishing tiny little updates that perhaps only our friends and family care about. We'd be subscribing, more than we ever did by RSS, to syndicated updates from organizations of interest, large and small.

There's no doubt: there's an increasing intersection between search and social sharing. But perhaps it isn't that people are changing the way they search,  so much as their friends are changing the way they find things. One of the more important questions you can open up at this point: Is the digital marketing spend allocation for social media vs search adjusted to these new market realities?

So there you have it: Five slides that can all be understood in five minutes. (Isn't it odd that we have to unroll the past conceptions, bust the old 2007 mental schemas, in order to see the best way to meet the future?)

What slides do you find work best to open the door to deeper social media discussions?


Postscript: My title notwithstanding, I am not advocating a wholesale revision of the search vs social media budgets planned. Just saying: The relative sizes may not be in line with the most recent 4-6 month marketing data.



Small Businesses & Social Media: Many Missing in Action?


A recent Reuters release, Small business, social media not mixing caught my eye. The release highlighted a survey of small businesses conducted by Citibank Small Business with the somewhat surprising finding:

Three-quarters of small businesses say they have not found sites such Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn helpful for generating business leads or expanding business in the past year.”

On the face of it, this seems to fly in the face of several studies showing the tremendous impact of social media. Three studies, using online marketing tools used often by small business, come to mind:

1. Paid search

A recent study published by GroupM Search and comScore. showed that consumer’s exposed to a brand’s social media when combined with  paid search programs are 2.8 times more likely to search for the brand’s products when compared to users who only saw paid seach.

2. Blogs

 A HubSpot study of 795 small–to-medium sized businesses that blog found that the average “blogging” small company  gets 55%  more visitors.  Although not addressed in that study, considering that Twitter is micro-blogging,  one would expect it to raise a small business’ web traffic as well.  And certainly  some reports  (eg. O'Reilly's  “Twitter Drives Traffic, Sales”  indicate that it does.

3. Email Marketing

A study by Silverpop, found that combining social networking with email as well can be very powerful. Looking at email marketing reach of emails which included links to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter,  the study found

....shared emails evaluated for the study delivered an average increase in reach of 24.3 percent (based on original emails delivered), and this figure is expected to increase exponentially once sharing becomes mainstream.

Small Biz SocialMedia Wunderkin are Outliers?


You don’t have to go very deep into the social bookmarking sites, to find many fine super-list collections of small business case studies describing spectacular results from social media. Some of the better known include:

52Teas, an online tea e-tail site

CPA for Small Business

Coffee Grounds, a Houston coffee shop

 Kogi Taco Truck

Or check out Jason’s Fall’s recent roundup of small business case studies

Are these well-known small business case studies startling exceptions?  Are they the cherry-picked, well-trained poster children of the Marketing Elite, selling their Social Media Kool-Aid?

Well - as all technology bubbles are prone to encompass a greater sphere of influence than reality can measure, so too with small businesses and social media.


Why Would a Small Business Not be Benefiting from Social Media?

Why would small businesses report  finding little business advantage to using social media, given the remarkably positive results of the above studies?

Certainly, my own experience  with small companies is that they often do not have the resources to blog, Twitter or set up multiple presences on social networks. This in itself is no profound or new insight. The  HubSpot study mentioned that  a considerable number of the small businesses they sampled do NOT blog (nearly half of their total sample, or 736 companies, did not ).  But cultivating a blog is a well-known social media tactic for fully using Twitter and other social networks as a distribution mechanism. (Okay- now we are starting to get somewhere in understanding this...)

Many Small Businesses are Actually Living in Web 1.5

Following this line of thought, there are two simple explanations for the disparity:  First, in line with the fact that only 50% are blogging, many small businesses have unfortunately, not caught up with even the first generation of Web 2.0 tools to leverage the newer social networks and social media tools. 

Many Small Businesses do not understand Social Media integrates with All the Assets within their Current Online Marketing Strategy.

Second, and I believe more important, it may be that many small businesses are not  properly integrating their social media use into their other online marketing activities.

If there is anything we are learning about social media tools and social networks, it’s that they are  not stand-alone devices.  Rather, they are best used when combined in concert with other online marketing  tools and , certainly, when integrated into an overall online marketing strategy.  As the paid search and Silverpop email studies demonstrated well, the effectiveness of these well-known online tools is magnified by their co-use with social media.

Perhaps, stepping quietly and timidly into these tools, many small businesses are not aware of the synergies inherent to social media use:  Social bookmarking, blogging, participation and co-linking across multiple social networks are well-known to exert a compounding effect on a company's brand.

Are small businesses failing at the strategy level, i.e. not setting a social marketing plan in place?  Or are they failing at the tactical execution level, i.e. not integrating their online marketing tools properly?

They Can't Listen when They Aren't There

The answer may lie in the other intriguing statistic uncovered by the CitiBank study, namely,

86% [ of small businesses surveyed] said they have not used social networking sites for information or business advice.

 Wow! There's part of our answer.

If  the small company executives can’t find their way to the experts, surely, they cannot find good guidance to proper use of the technology, including the large cultural shift we are learning is part of the social media experience.

 A very self-fulfilling prophesy indeed!

Your thoughts?  (I'd  especially love to hear from you small businesses that have ventured into social media.)



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What if The Beatles and The Pope Used Twitter on the Same Day?

Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 10:00 PM EST

Admittedly, that's an absurdist title. But, as I'll show, perhaps not so absurdist given recent postings on Twitter.

Believe me. I am a great fan of Twitter: I'm as ardent an advocate, passionista, social media evangelista as nary can be found in the Southeastern United States. I carefully curate my small Twitter feed. I endeavor to keep a pretty high S/N ratio of information flow. I promote Twitter as a highly-effective low-cost new media channel to clients. Why I don't even attach much credence to recent forecasts that Facebook (through its continuous "Follow Twitter's development path" updates) ultimately prevails over Twitter.

But something, well, specifically four tweets and their associated blog postings, struck me as a bit odd yesterday.

Mind you, not one of these postings alone seen on separate days would capture my extended attention. However, that all of them occurred within the same 24-hour period definitely captured the cross-correlators within my pattern recognition system.

It all started with the subject of a Friendfeed posting yesterday....

What If the Beatles Used Twitter?

This somewhat whimsical blog post of course asserted that The Beatles would have doubled their professional and personal fortune if they had been able to mirror their lives on the Net, much as celebrities MC Hammer [1 Mn+ followers] and @britneyspears [2.28 M followers] do today.

Okay- I'll buy that argument: Twitter access would have made Beatlemania larger than The Sloan Great Wall. (Hint: largest known physical structure in the Universe). Sure.

While still ruminating on that, oddly enough, I encounter a tweet leading me to...

What If the Buddha Used Twitter...


A thought-provoking, sometimes profound and definitely charming piece, Soren Gordhamer's article in yesterday's Huffington Post focuses on how the key figure in Buddhism would use Twitter. For instance, he writes...


Better than a thousand senseless verses is one that brings the hearer peace. -- The Buddha

The second [approach] is that the quality of our tweets matter much more than the quantity of them. One meaningful tweet a day is much better than posting numerous tweets that do not add value to the world. Of course, what "adds value" can be debated. There are a lot of silly tweets and links to videos that bring smiles to millions of people. Tweets do not have to be serious, but I think the Buddha would say that the real mission of life is not to produce large quantities of anything, including tweets, but it is instead to make a positive impact. One tweet that does that is better than a million that do not.

Yes, I thought, this too all rings true. And in fact Soren's observation is a great palliative against some of the depressing scores some of us get from the Twitter grader/scorer algorithms. To be ranked a "Great Tweeter", many of these programs insist you tweet with the frequency and ferocity of @cnnbrk (CNN Breaking News).

Perhaps Soren's observation even makes us look a bit more sympathetically at the AdAge twitter lashing that some marquis name ad agencies took yesterday --- for not tweeting enough or properly. (With some 8000+ bit.ly click-throughs to the original article link so far, there's clearly a swarm of on-lookers to watch old media get bashed for not being cool enough to fully and quickly enough imbibe their social media juice.)

Here I think: Hmm..Buddha should know. Even at the most conservative estimates, there are some 300 Mn to 1.3 Bn Buddhist followers worldwide. Compare that to Twitter's 10-20 Mn followers (loosely correcting the Comscore estimates against the 60% "Qwitter" factor from the A.C. Nielsen study. (Luckily, Twitter isn't competing with Buddhism for venture capital...)

Some hours later... I stumble upon a tweet from the intellectual Utne Reader, informing me...

Okay- this is getting big. The Beatles.  The Buddha.  The Pope.   How many marquis name co-brandings can be out there in one day alone? (Okay- I'm stretching the papal reference i know...)

What possible other illustrious groups can we associate the brand name Twitter with?

Surely, there are no higher authorities -- after all this is one 24-hour timeframe here, folks.

Well, rock my K.D. Payne sentiment analyzers, folks, if there wasn't one more in the daily queue...

Twitter Suggested for Nobel Prize


By the end of the day, no less than the Silicon Valley Business Journal confides that "Twitter Suggested for Nobel Prize". That's right, Mark Pfeile, a former Deputy National Security Advisor for the Bush administration, is apparently nominating Twitter for the Nobel Peace Prize. True enough- with foreign journalists and media thrown out of Iran, Twitter provided oft times the only window to the world to follow the post-election Iranian situation.

As The Christian Monitor put it,  "... in the past month, 140 characters were enough to shine a light on Iranian oppression and elevate Twitter to the level of change agent."

Most remarkably, Twitter's SMS news service included the participation of more technically-inclined Twitterers (eg. John Perry Barlow and the EFF) who aided in getting the news out of Iran via proxy servers. This provided us with a humanity-bonding linkage to news events that the world had not previously experienced before.  (So I hope it's clear: It is not at all my position to dispute that Twitter deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.)

What Then is the Point of All This?


My point here is simply that such a 24-hour tweet roundup of Twitter associations with some of the world's mega luminaries has me feeling --well-- just a bit of woozy "story stock" sickness.

It's as though someone were trying to pry my jaws open to swallow a 15-course meal including oysters rockefeller, roast duck, foie gras pate and baked trufled brie en croute - all down my gullet in one swallow. Frankly - it's feeling March 2000-ish (the period immediately preceding the dotcom bomb where new e-commerce stock valuations were running their highest).

Now what's particularly a little uneasy-making is that any one of the these stories has merit. But the gestalt of their conjoint appearance, while not arousing suspicion of a strategic PR initiative, at least makes one think that some of this confabulation is encouraged. Perhaps it provides a "psychic PR bridge" for Twitter investors, a much-needed bridge until the much-awaited hard-nosed monetization model appears.

To me, Twitter is a fabulous technology. But that doesn't mean it needs confabulation.

What do you think?

Is Twitter over-hyped? Do these articles centering on "What if [INSERT FAMOUS NAME HERE] Used Twitter" enlighten or obscure?




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10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media (guest post by Max Gladwell)

Note from Lisa: This is a guest post from Max Gladwell, founder of #EcoMonday on Twitter.

Per Rob Reed, the web strategist and voice behind Max Gladwell, this post is part of a grand social media experiment to publish the first collective, simultaneous guest blog post from Max Gladwell. Rob's goal is for this article to be published simultaneously on 100 blogs, thus inspiring 100 simultaneous conversations from various points of view.


Our children will inherit a world profoundly changed by the combination of technology and humanity that is social media. They’ll take for granted that their voices can be heard and that a social movement can be launched from their laptop. They’ll take for granted that they are connected and interconnected with hundreds of millions of people at any given moment. And they’ll take for granted that a black man is or was President of the United States.

What’s most profound is that these represent parts of a greater whole. They represent a shift in power from centralized institutions and organizations to the People they represent. It is the evolution of democracy by way of technology, and we are all better for it.

For most of us, social media has changed our lives in some meaningful way. Collectively it is changing the world for good. Given the pace of innovation and adoption, change has become a constant. Every so often we find the need to stop and reflect on its most recent and noteworthy developments, hence the following list.

Please note this is not a top-10 list, nor are these listed in any particular order. It’s also incomplete. So we ask that you add to this conversation in the comments. If you’d like to Retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

3510970897 1e71f53fee m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media1. Take Social Actions: The nonprofit organization Social Actions aggregates “opportunities to make a difference from over 50 online platforms” through its unique API. It recently held the Change the Web Challenge contest in order to inspire the most innovative applications for that API. The Social Actions Interactive Map won the $5,000 first prize. The result is a virtual tour of the world through the lens of social action. “People are volunteering, donating, signing petitions, making loans and doing other social actions as we speak — all over the world. To capture the context of the where, this project uses sophisticated techniques to extract location information from full text paragraphs.” You can also join the Social Actions Community, which is powered by Ning…which now boasts more than one million individual social networks.

3511782550 e3a4f6715f m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media2. Twitter with a Purpose: This list could be exclusive to Twitter. The micro-blogging sensation was featured on our first two lists (a three-tweet), and it’s certain to be a fixture. From Tweetsgiving, the virtual Thanksgiving feast, to the Twestival, which organized 202 off-line events around the world to benefit charity: water, it’s become the de facto tool for organizing and taking action. Tweet Congress won the SXSW activism award, and celebrity Tweeps Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Rose Tweeted their two million followers about ending malaria. Max Gladwell recently initiated the #EcoMonday follow meme as a way to connect and organize the Green Twittersphere.


3510970955 e9abc77e79 m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media3. Visit White House 2.0: Inside of its first 100 days, the Obama administration has managed to set the historic benchmark for government transparency and accountability. The President’s virtual town hall meeting used WhiteHouse.gov to crowdsource questions from his 300 million constituents, complete with voting to determine the ones he’d have to answer. All told, 97,937 people submitted 103,978 questions and cast 1,782,650 votes. The White House continues to raise the bar with its official Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter channels. In so doing President Obama is not just setting the standard for state and local government in the U.S. He’s establishing the world standard. The Obama administration is spreading democracy not by force but through example. Because you don’t have to be an American citizen to be a friend or follower of White House 2.0.

3511782420 3e86500d1c m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media4. Claim your Zumbox: What happens when all mail can be sent and delivered online to any street address in a paperless form? That’s the big question for Zumbox, which has created an online mail system with a digital mailbox for every U.S. street address. And while the answer to that question remains to be seen, it promises to be as liberating as it is disruptive. A key quality for Zumbox is that it’s closed system much like that of Facebook, only instead of true identity it’s true address. This will enable people to better connect with their communities including their neighbors, local businesses, and the mayor’s office. The primary agent of change, though, might not be that this uses street addresses but that it enables direct and potentially viral feedback, which is a virtue that e-mail and the USPS do not offer. The first methods are to request exclusive paperless delivery and to block a sender, but others are certain to evolve such as real-time commenting and ways to share mail with friends, family, and colleagues. Welcome to Mail 2.0. (Disclosure: Zumbox is a client of Rob Reed, the founder of Max Gladwell.)

3511782298 aecb6a094e m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media5. Host a Social Media Event: This is the year of the social media event. No meaningful gathering of people is complete without an interactive online audience, especially when it’s so easy and cost effective to pull off. Essential tools include a broadband connection, laptop, video camera, projector, and screen. Add people and a purpose, such as entrepreneurship. Promote it through social media channels, and you have a social media event. A recent example in the green world is the Evolution of Green, which was hosted by Creative Citizen, a green wiki community. It celebrated the launch of a new Web property, EcoMatters, while also establishing a new Twitter tag. By posing the question, “How can we go from green hype to green habit?” and including the #GreenQ hashtag, it sparked a conversation between attendees and the Twittersphere in real time. Thus was born a new mechanism for getting answers to green questions via Twitter.

3511782346 d39787b982 m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media6. Travel the World: More than anyone else, Tim O’Reilly knows the potential for social media to change the world. In his opening keynote at this year’s Web 2.0 Expo, he called for a new ethic in which we do more with less and create more value than we capture. This provided the context for SalaamGarage founder Amanda Koster, whose presentation followed O’Reilly’s. The idea is that social media has enabled each of us to have an audience. Whether through Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, or a personal blog, each of us can have influence and reach. What’s more, it can be used for good. SalaamGarage coordinates trips for citizen journalists (that means you) to places like India and Vietnam in conjunction with non-government organizations like Seattle-based Peace Trees. The destination is the story, as these humanitarian journalists report on the people they meet and discoveries they make. Their words, images, and video are posted to the social web to gain exposure and because these stories just need to be told.

3510970933 4215de025b m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media7. Build It on Drupal: You may not have noticed, but the open-source Drupal content management system (CMS) has quickly become the dominant player on the social web. While we still prefer WordPress as a strict blogging application, Drupal has emerged as the go-to platform for building scalable, community-driven Web sites. It powers Recovery.gov, a key part of President Obama’s commitment to transparency and accountability. PopRule uses it as a social news platform for politics. And Drupal will soon become the platform for Causecast, a site where “media, philanthropy, social networking, entertainment and education converge to serve a greater purpose.” This is especially significant because Causecast CEO Ryan Scott is transitioning the site off of Ruby on Rails because Drupal has proved more efficient, user friendly, and cost effective. (Disclosure: Max Gladwell founder Rob Reed is co-founder of PopRule.)

3511782362 0de2746b66 m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media8. Green Your iPhone: Looking for an organic diner within biking distance that has a three-star green rating? There’s a app for that. It’s called 3rd Whale, and you can download it for free. (Except that the star rating is actually a whale rating.) Complete with Facebook Connect, this iPhone app locates green products and businesses in 30 major North American cities. It uses the iPhone’s dial function to select a category (food), sub-category (restaurants), and distance (walking, biking, or driving). In Santa Monica, this might give you Swingers diner for its selection of veggie and vegan fare. You could then get directions from your current location using the iPhone’s built-in Google map, rate your experience on the three-whale scale, and write up a quick review. 3rd Whale recently released a new feature that integrates green-living tips, which can show how much energy or waste you’ll save by taking a given action.

3510970833 cb57221988 m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media9. Unite the World Through Video: Matt’s dancing around the world video inspired many to tears. Today, more than 20 million people have viewed his YouTube masterpiece, where he performs a kooky dance with the citizens of planet earth. The most recent example of this approach is Playing for Change, which connects the world through song. The project started in Santa Monica with a street performance of the classic Stand By Me and expanded to New Orleans, New Mexico, France, Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, South Africa, Spain, and The Netherlands. The project was superbly executed via social media, complete with a YouTube channel, MySpace, Facebook, and Blog. It’s received tremendous mainstream media exposure and also benefits a foundation of the same name.

3510971003 fb095231da m 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media10. Rate a Company: The conversation about corporate social responsibility (CSR) takes place across the social web on blogs, Twitter, and YouTube, but a central hub for this information and opinion is still to be determined. SocialYell seeks to address this by building an online community around the CSR conversation, where users can submit reviews of companies together with nonprofit organizations and even public figures like Michelle Obama. The major topics are the Environment, Health, Social Equity, Consumer Advocacy, and Charity. The reviews are voted and commented on by the community in a Reddit-like fashion with both up (Yell) and down (shhh) voting. The site is relatively new and still gaining traction, but there’s no question that a resource like this is needed to shine a bright light on CSR and and other related issues.

11. Publish a collective, simultaneous blog post on a universal topic: As Nigel Tufnel might say, this list goes to eleven. Let the #10Ways conversation begin…

Final note: This is Max Gladwell’s third list of “10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media.” The first was posted a year ago today on Sustainablog.org, and the sequel followed five months later. If a single headline can capture the Max Gladwell raison d’etre, this is it.


Postscript: Want a 12th way? A great way to go green and join the social media revolution is to check out Contxts, a text message replacement for business cards that only requires you have a text-messaging mobile phone.  Read  what LifeHacker wrote about it.


Poll: What is the biggest barrier to integrating social media into your business?

There's no doubt: Social Media use is on the rise...a frenetic rise. According to ReadWriteWeb, a new report about Enterprise adoption of Web 2.0 technologies, by Awareness, Inc., shows that employers are increasingly allowing staff to use social media applications in working hours. Awareness puts the figure at 69 percent of businesses in 2008, up from 37 percent last year.

Facebook users now number over 200 million. Twitter usage is growing in excess of 1000% month to month.

Yet many companies are holding back. What are your company's concerns? ROI? Risk of legal exposure? HR resources to own the responsibility? Tell us what you think by taking our quick poll below. (You'll be shown the cumulative results gathered so far.)


(Poll closes June 30, 2009)


You may also be interested in reading our Emerging Case Studies on Twitter and Participatory Marketing.

Or check out Chris Brogan's Delicious bookmarks on Social Media Case Studies.


Twelve Fab Twitter Reads for Newbies

Okay, for the past couple of weeks now, I've done a bit of scrambling, poking, stumbling and head plants around on Twitter. While still cracking the egg to emerge to the next stage, I thought other new Twitterers would find some of these sites useful. (Note these are ordered in rough order of approachability.)   Source

1. TwitterTips Beginner's Guide: 10 Quick & Easy Steps to getting started. There's no faster way to get up and running than via this well-crafted guide. Daily following of @TwitterTips and @Twitips is highly recommended.


2. Ten Twitter Tips to Get you to the Top

Far beyond mastery ofthe mechanicals (commands and syntax), the tricky part for many is understanding how Twitter rewards openness, honesty and transparency. NerdwithSwag.com's worthy posting helps move you into the right twittertude to "get this", avoiding some embarassing gaffs.


3. TwipTips: Top Ten Niche Twitter User Lists

Updated regularly, this list covers the top ten people all Twitter beginners should be following as well as those in various niches, from finance to journalism to gardening.


4. Learning or Teaching Twitter Yourself: A Teacher's Guide

Who better to learn Twitter from than teachers?


5. Renegade ProBlog's Twitter Training Videos

I'm not into MLM like these folks, but if you are seeking a moderate pace and a free training video that leads you mouseclick by mouseclick, this is it.


6. Craving a Book on Twitter?

Check out pre-ordering Twitter for Dummies by Laura Fitton, Michael Gruen and Leslie Poston. (According to Amazon's website, it'ns not due out until Augusut 2009).


7. Ten Twitter Tools that Help you Work Smarter

Twitip's exceedingly popular and updated reference covers everything from ping.fm (broadcasting your tweets to other social networks like Facebook, MySpace, etc.) to Twittertools (integrating your tweets into your WordPress blog) to Tweetburner (see how popular your tweets are) to Quitter (helping you undestand when and why people stop following you.)


8. Twitter Fan Wiki

A comprehensive list of twitter apps, covering PC and Mac desktops to web apps.


9. TechCrunch's Top 21 Twitter Applications (according to Compete)

Want to know which particular apps are catching on? Based on data from Compete, TechCrunch tracked the top 21.


10. Tweetstats: Top Ten Twitter Applications of the Day

Hungry for more frequent updates? With an estimated 10-15 new Twitter apps being put out to market per day, you might want to check Tweetstats close-to-realtime watch where you can find the identities of the most popular apps as well as new and lesser known ones.



For recommended reading that speaks more to the fabric of Twitter, exploring some of its unique qualities and why it's addictive...







11. Does Social Media Make Us Better, Happier, Nicer People?       From Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Pete Cashmore of Mashable, these two articles consider how Twitter and other social media tools are changing the way we act.


12. PR 2.0: In the Statusphere, A.D.D. Creates Opportunities for Collaboration and Education

Brian Solis' article will move you up a few log units on the Twitter learning curve, capturing most eloquently the essence of good Twitter usage.

It's the art of curation. Producing and posting updates that people find invigorating, insightful, entertaining, and enriching is how you build a meaningful foundation for which people to follow, admire, and trust you. You are a beacon for all that moves you.

Remember, the secret to attracting comments,
likes or stimulating retweets is not governed by a formula, but instead by the intent and nature of sharing something worthy of response

The article goes on to explore Twitter in relation to other social media environments and tools like Google Search, giving new users some glimmer of what might happen next.


Please feel free to comment on any critical resources for Newbies I might have missed.


Related posts

Twitter: On Emerging Business Case Studies & Participatory Marketing

Skittles Skuttles Static Web Marketing




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