Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

2010-01-05 We Are The Network: BYOT (Bring Your Own Topic)!

January 4th, 2010 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300BYOT (Bring Your Own Topic)!

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 5th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic(s)

This week’s topics are… whatever we all bring in! Due to a number of external constraints, I have not been able to craft a structured topic for this week, so maybe it is time for us to “just get together and chat about whatever comes up.”  Here’s the rationalization part – hey we haven’t done this open forum style discussion for quite a while, so it’s time, right?

See you soon!

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,


How Can I Get Event Announcements (choose one or more)? Read more…

How Tweeting About “My Stupid Breakfast” Creates A Lifestyle Of Continuous Learning

January 3rd, 2010 15 comments

“I don’t want to hear about your stupid breakfast!” is loudly proclaimed as a-priori proof that status updates, using Twitter, and in some cases blogging in general are a waste of time. Could it be that this apparent nonsense, including Tweets that explain why you woke up late, status updates that shout that a movie is stupid, and comments that some person is a dork, are actually a sign of something good?

Much of the content on the web is far from trivial. It is published in blog, status update and long form, and continues to grow in depth and breadth. I believe these apparently trivial and self-focused uses of social media are side effect of the fast and constant influx of new users of these technologies, and not a sign of a problem of any sort. Large numbers of new people continue to start along a developmental path that leads from triviality to personal learning, synthesis, creativity and personal development.

Lots of people publish status updates and blog posts to share personal “what’s happening to me this minute” thoughts. Over time, people start publishing different kinds of material, and end up in a very different place than the one in which they started.

Based on study of the public output of others, many discussions and personal experience, I believe that there are consistent phases of personal development that mark growth through levels of personal publishing facility, capability and goals. It would be interesting to see statistically significant study results in this area – but lacking that, here’s my shot in the dark. What do you think? Does this match your experience? Does it match what you see in the experience of other people?

The 7 Developmental Phases Of Personal Publishing (continued below the fold…) Read more…

Let’s Stop Gaming The Size Of The Social Media and MMO/Virtual World Universe

January 2nd, 2010 4 comments

I often see calculations showing the total number of people involved with social media, MMOs and virtual worlds. These calculations have been making me more uncomfortable of late, as the statistics seem only partially valid to me. I think it’s time to stop gaming the size of the universe. What does this mean, anyway? It means playing with statistics to overstate the number of people involved in social media, MMOs and virtual worlds.

Here is the standard playbook for gaming the size of the universe:

1) Make a list of companies and systems in the space of interest (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, MySpace etc for social media, World Of Warcraft, Lord Of the Rings Online, Second Life, Blue Mars, IMVU etc for massively multiplayer games and virtual worlds)

2) Compile a list of the number of users on each system

3) Add up the numbers from each system to create a total

4) Proclaim that the total people involved is the total number of users of that category of system

The number sounds nice. Unfortunately the result is likely to be significantly overstated.

Why is this not a legitimate way to calculate the size of the social media or MMO/virtual world universe? In a word, duplication.

In my experience, people who are active in social media, MMO’s and virtual worlds tend to be involved in many systems. As far as I can tell, a significant percent of people who are active in social media, MMOs and virtual worlds will create an account on multiple (in some cases all known) new systems to check them out.

I do not have access to the information that it would take to de-duplicate the lists, and there is essentially no incentive nor ability given privacy and competitive concerns for these disparate companies to share their user lists. I think it would, however be interesting to see a fully de-duplicated count — a count de-duplicated both within each system (person who operates multiple accounts would then count as “1”) and across systems (person who has accounts on multiple systems counts as “1”).

The other little hitch is the definition of a “user.” How do you define user to count active users, and to disregard accounts that may have been created and abandoned? Do the various companies involved have any consistent definition for this statistic?

Until we somehow see that result, can we all see our way to not claiming that the universe is Twitter + Facebook + LinkedIn + … or World of Warcraft + Lord of the Rings Online + Second Life + Blue Mars + IMVU…  ?

My hunch is that it’s much closer to the size of the largest of the systems, rather than a sum of the separate ones, but that remains to be proven somehow, someday, once there is a universal common login (now I’m completely dreaming!)

Thanks for reading… all comments welcomed!

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

2009-12-29 We Are The Network: Part 2 – Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI

December 27th, 2009 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300“Part 2—Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 29th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Part 2—Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI (Return On Investment)

People on seesawIn our last session, we attempted to arrive at key measures to determine “The ROI” and “Virtual World Engagement” for virtual world and social media projects. I say “attempted” because we ended up with a variety of different positions and views on what constitutes the value center for engagement and ROI. Ultimately we decided that there is no single measure of value or ROI (other than dollars at the end game for business projects which could be measured in multiple ways, and measurable improvement of some sort for educational and social action projects.)

At the close of the discussion there was strong consensus that we needed another session on this topic. Actually it was closer to “we are going to continue this,” and so we will!

We decided that the path to metrics is to build a catalog of prototypical goals for various project scenarios in business, education and social action, with the premise that this will lead to some specific measures.

Please bring Read more…

2009-12-15 We Are The Network: Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI

December 13th, 2009 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300“Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 15th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI

Have you noticed a pattern in the published descriptions of virtual world projects? I’ve noticed a prototypical write-up pattern that usually answers the following questions in sequence: Who sponsored the project? Who is supposed to be interested in using the virtual environment, and to what end? What interesting or “shiny” features of the build or programming were included? It is, however, all too common that a critical piece of the write-up is missing. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

Three Announcements That Dispose Of Static SEO And Create A New Findability Optimization Game

December 7th, 2009 No comments

The Way Things Were Yesterday

In the land we’ve known, you could do static search engine optimization (SEO) of on-page elements on your web site or blog, consider strategy for offsite, tinker with it for a while, check the results, and have some confidence that the results you just saw reflected what your potential searchers would see 10 minutes later. Although people with personalization turned on may see different results, the issue of search consistency across users seems to not have been a strong focus for search engine optimization strategies to date.

Arrow race with new rulesThis Is Today

The world of yesterday is about to vaporize, due to the confluence of three Google announcements.

Personalized Search Without Login

First, the announcement that Google will present personalized search results even if you are not logged in to a Google account. This means that if you do not stay logged in to Google, your laptop search results will likely not match your desktop at work, and will likely not match your home computer, because their search history will all be different.

Now extend this to other people on the web. Their search history will likewise be different, and their work Google login may not match their personal login, if they log in at all.

All of a sudden the simplistic “one set of search results per search query” assumption is completely gone, even for users who are not logged in to a Google account.

Real-Time Search Results

Delivery of real-time search results changes the game in obvious and subtle ways. Real-time search results provision leads us even farther down the path of creating, and needing to create, time-sensitive SEO strategies.

Real-time search results for all leads to the possibility of “Just In Time SEO” (to use a phrase from the manufacturing industry). Just In Time SEO changes content in real-time in order to reposition search results dynamically, potentially just before some event or strategic initiative where you would want highly placed results.

Another side effect of real-time search results might be a drive the creation of more real-time search engine optimization monitoring services.

Will we see disruptive corporate marketing strategies that at the surface are similar to denial of service attacks? Perhaps a competitor would create a content strategy that would “lie in wait” for the hour before a major event and the dynamically disrupt the SEO positioning of your firm just in time to intercept your positioning for the event, and then disappear from view after the fact? How many other ways could dynamic repositioning be used, for good and worse?

Visual Search

Google also announced visual search, in particular on the Android phones, with the idea that you can take a picture of something, Google will analyze it and deliver search results. The “something” might be a store front, or text from a book, or other objects around you. While it is clear that this technology is at the very start of its development cycle, the implications are immense.

Do you now have to generate an SEO strategy for pages in books, or screen captures, or for your brick and mortar stores? Do you have to watch out for signage in your stores, or perhaps parts of your web site, that if captured by a camera might lead to search results pointing to your competitor’s products and services? Will we see print advertising with custom graphics designed to link to specific search results?

The area of visual search raises the concept of “Visual Search Engine Optimization”, leading us to choose graphics and video with an eye (pun only sort of not intended) to whether these images help or hinder visual search optimization.

The potential privacy and policy issues generated by extensions of this technology are extensive, not to mention some potentially wild changes to societal expectations. For instance, what if by pointing a cell camera at a person, and not even taking their picture, you could have their latest blog posts, public profile, Tweets, comments by others about them, all show up on your mobile – without even knowing their name a-priori? This would not be possible with the first release. However it is not a long stretch to mash up the current face-tagging technology with this sort of search to enable such a feature.

This will be interesting.

Follower Count: Meaningless, Follower Temporal Interest Graph: Priceless

December 5th, 2009 2 comments


I have been thinking about some of the current approaches to measurement of social network strength, and realized that there were a few specific things that seemed to be missing in these approaches. In this post I review why the complexity of social network behavior far exceeds a single simple metric, and propose a multi-dimensional model to describe social network strength and utility towards a selected objective.

Power MeterFollower Count: The Simple Metric That Isn’t

Follower counts are generally mistrusted for validity, but still used due to simplicity. Follower counts are, in some ways, a somewhat bizarre way to measure social network strength. General follower count is a “feel good number” that in the end means little in terms of viability of achieving a particular goal.

I keep a few examples in hand to debunk the concept that high follower counts automatically create generic utility. Here is one of my favorites. Sockington ( is a Twitter account owned by Jason Scott’s cat (well… take a look and you’ll see what I mean). At the time of this writing, @Sockington is closing in on 1.5M (yes million) followers. If you want to send a message to 1.5M people to entice them to, for instance, buy life insurance, would the reach of Sockington’s network be substantial? Maybe in terms of the old school “impression count,” but that’s probably about all. In the process, if you were persistent about it, you’d also see a pretty high abandonment rate, and I suspect that most people who follow Sockington would ignore such a push message as advertising spam. Certainly if the account and Sockington’s network were used more than a very few times in pursuit of this objective, it would likely fragment and be disrupted as a result. Such a message is not why they follow Sockington, and any other sort of message is both out of character and not their impression of why they follow him. (I’ll resist getting in to the psychology and implications of 1.5M people following a fake cat’s Tweets for now!)

Clearly the raw count of followers isn’t what we’re after. Some have proposed measures of engagement, using reply counts and conversation rates on Twitter, or comment posting rates on blogs.

Simple Event Count-Based Aggregate Network Strength Also Misses The Target

Dart arrows missing targetUnfortunately, measurement of social network strength also defies a single numeric count of followers or responders or even conversational length. Various client and personal experiences have led me to develop a concept I’ll call a Follower Interest Graph. A Follower Interest Graph is a multi-dimensional graph of a social network that maps several factors that define the strength of the network for a particular utility and goal. Before talking about what a Follower Interest Graph might look like, let’s look at some assumptions and realities of social network behavior. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

Endorsements and Ethics in Social Media – Live Virtual Event Today, Dec 4, 1 PM Pacific/4 PM Eastern

December 4th, 2009 No comments

I have been asked to be a panelist today at “Endorsements and Ethics in Social Media”, to talk about the implications of the new disclosure guidelines published by the Federal Trade Commission.

John Jainschigg, Executive Director, Internet & Technology Lab, ZiffDavisEnterprise is moderating today’s event and the panel will include Clint Boulton, Senior Writer at (ZiffDavisEnterprise) and Mitch Wagner, Senior Writer at (TechWeb).

You can watch on the web at 1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern, or if you already have a Second Life account please feel free to join us at

Please see the announcement below for more information):

Join the editors of SmarterTechnology on Friday, December 4, 1 PM Pacific/4 PM Eastern, for a LIVE virtual event:

Endorsements and Ethics in Social Media – New FTC Guidelines

New FTC guidelines for online ‘endorsements,’ announced in October and now in effect (as of Dec. 1), aim to make more explicit sponsorship arrangements between online content providers (e.g., bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook posters, viral-video uploaders, etc.) and the companies and products they cover (opine about, retweet, call attention to, and/or “build buzz” around). What will these new guidelines mean for the commentariat, publishers, viral marketers, corporate bloggers and other stakeholders?

Joel Foner, New-Media Consultant, Blogger (ex. Sidewinder Linden)
Clint Boulton, Senior Writer, (ZiffDavisEnterprise)
Mitch Wagner, Senior Writer, (TechWeb)

Moderator: John Jainschigg, Exec. Director, Internet & Technology Lab, ZiffDavisEnterprise


1. Register on the web at
2. Confirm your registration by clicking the link in the email you receive. (Check spam filter!)
3. Return to – click the Login tab, and log in with your email address and password
4. Press the Engage tab for our web-based conference center, where you can view the live event on video and participate via text-chat.


IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A SECOND LIFE ACCOUNT, AND HAVE THE SECOND LIFE CLIENT INSTALLED ON YOUR COMPUTER: Please register as above, and confirm registration, then click this link to teleport directly to our virtual conference center:


1. Register at
2. Scroll down (on the second page of registration) and fill out the CREATE SECOND LIFE ACCOUNT form to create a Second Life avatar.
3. Download the Second Life client for Windows, Mac or Linux and install.
4. Plug a headset into your computer.
5. Log into Second Life — You’ll appear at our virtual conference center.


Sponsored by IBM, is an online community for strategists and IT decision-makers seeking to improve sustainability, efficiency and profitability through intelligent implementation of advanced technology throughout the enterprise. Join us online at

EMail sent by: John Jainschigg, 28 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016

This should be an interesting discussion – I hope to see you there!

A Quick Review Of TweetChat – Fluid Group Chat For Twitter

December 2nd, 2009 No comments

Group chatTonight I glanced at my Twitter feed and saw a comment about TweetChat, talking about its virtues in hashtagged discussions. In the stream was a pointer to a lively discussion underway, and thought “Why not? Let’s see what this toy does.” Before I say anything else I should add that I have no financial or business relationship with the TweetChat developers, and in fact had no idea it existed before tonight.

TweetChat aims to make participation in topical hashtagged discussions on Twitter easier. It has a straightforward, single pane web interface with a clean, simple design. After a first long session with a large group, I’d say it accomplishes this goal well.

You can set refreshes to be as fast as every 5 seconds or as slow as 60 seconds, and if the conversation is going much too quickly, there is even a pause. For many uses, the default of 10 seconds would be fine. You can set the font size to larger or smaller to your taste. It automatically adds the main discussion hashtag to any updates you post, and has single click funtions for reply, retweet, user feature/block and favorite.

Everything lives on one page, so you can participate, read the discussion stream and adjust things without jumping away from the discussion. The refresh is fast enough so that even in a busy discussion there is little waiting time, enabling a smooth discussion flow.

Nicely done. I think I’ll be using TweetChat again. My only nagging concern is that participating in these higher volume chat-styled conversations on Twitter may annoy regular followers, who did not necessarily opt in for a high volume of updates. Do you think that Tweets have a short enough lifespan that people won’t notice an occasional stream of discussion?

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

An Overview of the FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

November 30th, 2009 5 comments

iStock_000001553198XSmall-megaphone-worldThe U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a PDF document “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” that describes changes to the rules of disclosure for advertising endorsements and testimonials. These guides update existing rules regarding advertising disclosure to incorporate social media and go into effect tomorrow, Dec 1, 2009. I hope that a brief overview of the Guides will be a useful reference.


I do not work for the Federal Trade Commission, have no connection to the organization to disclose, and since this article is not an endorsement in the first place, I guess I didn’t even need to say that, but… given the topic I figured it couldn’t hurt!

Actually, my important disclaimer is I wrote this post with my understanding of the rules, from reading source documents and walking through the “Guides” PDF document linked above. I am not a lawyer. Nothing I say here should be construed as legal advice. Nothing. At all. In the least. Did I remember to mention that I am not a lawyer?

I am hoping that an overview of the new disclosure rules will be helpful. Please feel free to comment on anything I’ve gotten wrong, right or anything else important that got missed!

Is Every Product or Service Description an Endorsement?

All descriptions of products and consumer experiences in “consumer-generated media” are not considered to be endorsements by the Commission. The Guides state that the rules apply to situations where, “viewed objectively, the relationship between the advertiser and the speaker is such that the speaker’s statement can be considered “sponsored” by the advertiser and thus an “advertising message.”

Why Self-Regulation Did Not Win

Some commenters suggested that the industry should be allowed to self-regulate. The Commission clearly disagreed with this position, stating Read more…