GReader Shared Posts

Monday, November 26, 2007

Coke provides empty calories... er content

During my river of news reading earlier today, I saw a post about Coke's foray into facebook.

The metaphor of their social content being as empty as the calories in their soda seemed apt. If one of the mantra's of social media is that you have to provide value to your customers... what am I missing on the Coke profile that has attracted 944 fans?

Maybe the company profile is compelling and we marketers are just too jaded to see it.

Update 12/4: The original post that pointed me towards Coke's stumble posted a screenshot of the group page. Excellent.

The many faces of RSS

I think I may have gone overboard. I've been using Google Reader for RSS and have quite a long list of blogs that I follow on regular or semi-regular basis. But there's too much content for me to read using the 'river of news' method.

So, I just set up a more targeted list of feeds in Google Reader under a different log in. 125 posts, 9 new tabs, and 1 webcast later, I finished my first river. It's interesting that RSS isn't just reading content. I'm discovering new sites, tagging content to del.icio.us, and looking for conversations to join. Now that I'm up-to-date, I hope the river isn't so big tomorrow.

And, I have to agree with everyone that has said the 'J' key is your friend.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Step 1. Create a Social Network

Step 2. ???
Step 3. Profits!

Thanks Gnomes

MediaPost just got an upgrade (actually, it looks like more of a lateral move) in their site design. Oh, and they added a social network component to their site.

I found MediaPost from their Insider series of publications. And I'm currently subscribed to 4 of them. I'm a consumer of their content. I'm sure that colors my perspective but adding a social network really gain them anything? Right now, the adoption rate seems pretty low but that may just be because it's new. Maybe in a month or so I'll remember to log back in and check out how it's grown.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

YouTube Put Me On Hold

I was cruising YouTube at work today and after loading up my video went to check some other Firefox tabs. I didn't need to watch the whole video so I wanted to multi-task while getting the audio.

Every time I went to a different tab, YouTube would pause the video stream. Doing a little further testing, the videos were also paused if I scrolled down the screen so that the video player wasn't visible. I don't know if this has always been a part of YouTube and I'm just now noticing it, or if it's a new feature. I think the latter as I'm pretty sure I've listened to music videos while doing other things.

If this is intentional, it opens up some interesting doors for Web 2.0 Analytics. Especially around time-on-site metrics and monitoring rich media. I need to get some more depth in the Analytics space to see how relevant this may be.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blog Shopping

I had originally started this blog at Wordpress.com intending to upgrade it eventually to my own site and use the Wordpress software rather than hosting. I still plan to host a blog myself one day but until then, I just couldn't get comfortable with the Wordpress.com site.

After deciding to move, I looked at Typepad and Blogger. They've both got some strengths but in the end, I was tipped over to Blogger because I like centralizing my services around Google. I'm not sure if that makes me look like a fanboy or unconcerned about my privacy but I have to admit, I like Google services.

So, here I am. Hopefully this will help me get on a more regular posting schedule. It's hard to stay motivated to write for a blog when you don't even want to log into the site you're hosting it at. Now that I've overcome that hurdle, I just have to think of things to say.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Social Marketing

I made a comment on a Sphinn story about the Digg Shout feature that has been recently updated. The change to Digg has made a splash but I really see it as a symptom of the broader conflict of Web 2.0 (I'll just decide early on to go with the standard jargon rather than try to define my own).

After a response comment, I decided that I need to explore this idea more fully so that I know what my own thoughts on it are.

One of the buzzwords of Web 2.0 is 'user experience.' It's practically a mantra for Google, I wonder if they get together in the cafeteria for a morning chant. But more to the point, these new community-based kinds of sites are developed for their users. Many of them have an ad-supported model but that is segregated. As a user you can tell where the ad content is (typically some kind of banner) and let your natural ad-blindness kick in.

It's not advertising, it's marketing that often conflicts with these new social media. I believe the use of Digg shouts is an example of that. Digg shouts are intended, from a user-experience POV, to allow people to share their Dugg stories across their network of friends or to point a specific friend to something cool. When the feature got hijacked by people trying to 'market' their Dugg stories to increase their count, friction arose. (Though, to be fair there are opinions on both sides about how to use Shouts)

This is not new.

When companies started creating profiles on MySpace and sending friends requests, people were turned off. When companies created blogs promoting their products and tried to pass them off as organic rather than sponsored, people were turned off. When Microsoft hired someone to monitor their Wikipedia page, they felt a big backlash. Any scenario in which a person or company tries to use the natural user experience for marketing is walking a very fine line. The perils of failure are a loss of interest in your brand (at best) or an active rejection (at worst).

Fortunately, more of the marketers working in the Social Media space are advocating becoming a part of the community first before trying to use it as a new marketing channel. This is a sensible approach. Social media can be a powerful way to market to people. I've seen some excellent examples of this, including one recently on facebook.

I still believe that marketing through the normal user experience will create friction with some users regardless of how it is done. However, smart marketers that get involved will know how to minimize that and make the social medium work effectively for them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

email Vs. The World

I follow a couple of the MediaPost blogs and find their posts to be informative and thoughtful. In the Email Insider post this week, Bill McCloskey contradicts another greatly exaggerated story of email's demise. In this instance, the challenger is social network sites (specifically facebook) and the result is that email remains the champion of discourse and communication.

I disagree.

That is not to say that I don't think email is valuable or that I believe it's going to be eliminated as a channel next year. But I think that marketers that work in the email space sometimes have a blindspot for the limitations of email.

As was mentioned in the comments of his post, the younger generation of Internet users are relying less and less on email. I think there are a few reasons for that.

I'll draw heavily on my personal experience here. When I am at work, I use email for messages addressed specifically to me from people I work with. Email is useful for me to get information, confirmation, give updates, and get stuff done. Email is a silo. It's not where I keep my contacts, those are in LinkedIn. It's not where I keep my calendar, my company uses an online service. It's not where I prefer to get content, I use Google Reader for RSS feeds.
Email is for discrete messages that I can act on in relation to the work I have to do. Any other information that I receive through my Inbox is either already on the Web (hopefully with an RSS feed) or it's stuck in my Inbox. If I'm not carrying my inbox on my hip, then I don't have access to anything in there. I would much prefer to choose where and how I access my information.

Now, I won't disagree that many facebook groups are under-used. But I think that is more a matter of most people still being in the early adoption phase of their relationships with social networks. They haven't been around anywhere near as long as email, therefore it's more familiar and convenient for people to use the channels they know. Most social media are still in the early adoption stage. There is still a trepidation that must be overcome when posting on a social network, especially if it's an open group.

But, social networks offer something that email doesn't. I specifically chose to use facebook because allows me to consolidate. I can use their applications to pull the information I want to my profile. This means that rather than taking time out of my day for many things, I can spend time in one location for many things. This point is significant to me because I think it's how email is being used by many people today.

My personal opinion is that emphasis is shifting and email will need to re-invent itself for the future of the Internet. (Which, I think it will do.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm a Marketer, Pay Attention to Me

Alright, let's get started. I read a post at Return Path that made me think. The practice of using a true opt-in (or double opt-in) is a practice that I very much agree with.

What really caught my eye was at the end.

And I think many marketers still resist anything that reduces the size of the file. If you offer any marketer a million records that are untargeted vs. 100,000 highly targeted records, most of us will go for the million every time.

This is an attitude that I've run into. And, it's an attitude that is going to hold marketers back significantly as consumers continue to fragment. The channels to pursue are going to be the 100,000 ones and if you're looking for 1 million it's not going to be there.

You can see this happening already on social networks like MySpace and facebook. You hear about the millions of people that have signed up, with thousands more people signing up each month. But, when companies put up a page about themselves to try reaching the entire population... well it doesn't often work out.

So the question is, why are casting such a wide net? One reason could be that metrics, even online, just look better when they're big. Bigger email lists, larger visitor counts, more ad impressions all add up to metrics that look impressive.

Of course, Web analytics is getting more sophisticated. But that's for another post.