Social Whisper

Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

There’s an ongoing debate as to the ‘ownership’ of social media, in that where it should sit; Digital, PR, Media, SEO, as a separate entity etc as well the control of its planning and execution. There are arguments for and against each medium as due to its dynamic nature social media can benefit from the skill sets of all these agencies.

However it occurred to me during the discussions at the recent measurement camp that depending on the type of agency the social media activity is being run through that this will also affect how it is measured as well as how highly it is regarded in terms of accountability.

For example take a PR agency. In comparison to traditional PR social media is regarded as being highly accountable as you are able to track how many people have read your article, shared it, linked to it etc

Although in comparison the numbers can appear a lot smaller in contrast to articles published in a national paper, despite the fact that you can’t guarantee the number of people that actually read the article, it can still be regarded as a higher reach medium compared to social media activity.

In comparison if the social media activity is run through a digital agency than it is one of the least accountable parts of the online activity. Where PPC, Affiliates and Display media can track every user and their behaviour online, third party tracking can rarely be used for social media and numbers are more assumptions based on certain facts.

This may mean that the ownership of social media in the future may have an impact on how campaigns are run as well the chance that it may lose its identity and become swallowed up as part of an existing media.

So although there always a requirement for measurement maybe we should stop trying to fit social media around other existing forms of measurement and allow it to develop its own form of accountability and let its success be defined on its own merit.

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Over the last couple of days a growing number of articles have been catching my eye which appear to have all originated from a debate in the House of Lords created by neuroscientist Lady Greenfield.

Her comments suggest that social networking sites have a negative impact on our brains, especially in younger people which causes shortened attention spans, encourages instant gratification and make young people more self-centred, resulting with an inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity.

people online

While most articles are reporting on this news without passing much comment there others which are sensationalising this information but are social networks really to blame for this change in behaviour?

The description of ‘shortened attention spans and instant gratification’ has been used many times to describe the lives of people in the western world with every thing from TV consumption to meals have evolved that allows us to receive it when and where we want it.

This change in our behaviour is not a new realisation with everybody from scientists, to the media as well as consumers aware of how time poor our lives have become resulting in a change in our behaviours to become more self centred with weakened connections between friends and loved ones.

So while social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Bebo might be making this change more apparent they may actually be a way of bring us back together as a community.

Despite this I still believe that especially young people need to have developed social skills face to face in an offline environment for this to be the case. People who have no other experience of ‘real life’ and live solely through their online worlds will naturally be distanced from reality.

In organising things for my departure on Thursday from my current job it occurred to me that over the years in my current role I had amounted a substantial number of bookmarks on my browser that I wanted to take with me.

I had never felt before that I had a use for some of the social bookmarking sites, as when I tried previously it was just another place that I would have to remember to save things, so it quickly gathered the proverbial dust on my browser.

Now however with fresh interest I decided to do some proper research into the tools available that I had a need and thought I’d give you an overview of the more popular tools below, some of which I use already and others that I had a little play with.

Stumbleupon – I love Stumbleupon and although it is a Social bookmarking tool as in you can save pages that you stumbleuponlove I use it more for the recommendation side of it rather than the bookmarking site I was looking for.

Those of you that don’t know its easiest to use when you’ve installed the toolbar and picking which categories that interest you, then when ever you need a five minute break or are just generally bored you hit the ‘Stumble’ button and it brinks up a random page from the internet that has been submitted or rated by other users, which you can then rate you self.

Digg – Is a social news site where people can share sites and links that they find interesting where people can then vote and diggcomment on stories. This is a popular site and the pages that have received the most ‘diggs’ that day appear on the front page so people can see what is currently hot or interesting.

Personally I like Digg although dont use it as I find other social tools more useful and it doesn’t suit my needs for a bookmarking tool.

Del.ici.ous – Is basically a place where you can store all your bookmarks so you can access them from any computer. deliciousYou can tag your bookmarks so they are easier to find and organise as well as to share them with your friends.

You can also make you profile public so any one can see the sites you have bookmarked and can recommend others. Del.ici.ous also has a section on its main page of what has been recently tagged or is currently popular with its users.

Furl – To be honest I gave up trying to look at this tool as after numerous attempts to create an account and then furlfinally getting one,  I then had trouble adding the ‘Furl it’ button so I lost interest but it appears to be a combination of Stumbleupon and Digg (but not as good so I would recommend to use the aforementioned instead of Furl).

Reddit – Is a place where people can submit links of anything such as a site, picture, video etc for users to vote on. The redditfront page contains the sites with the most votes and you can have your own account to save the ones you like. Personally I find Reddit a slightly messy and childish compared to the other sites I’ve looked at, but I imagine as with most things a lot of it will come down to what you’re used to using.

There are obviously many other sites out there, and although these tools have many similar properties I think it depends on what you are actually wanting to use the book marking tool for that will dictate which site is most appropriate for you.

Personally I now use Del.ici.ous to store all my bookmarks as I have found that once I have downloaded the toolbar it will automatically save my bookmarks on my browser and in Del.ici.ous and Stumbleupon for when I need a 5 minute break from work.

It also meant that with Del.ici.ous I was able to automatically upload all my bookmarks that were saved on my browser with out having to add them my self manually, which would have probably taking till 2010.

Recently I have noticed that there seems to be more and more conversations occuring about buzz tracking both offline in our agency and with our clients as well as in the blogosphere and places like Twitter.

This had made me realise that I never posted an update on our Buzz Tracking activities after speaking to numerous agencies. So here you go…

A couple of months ago – back in the early days of this blog I wrote a post about our search for a buzz tracking tool. We spoke to around ten different buzz tracking agencies, looking at them from various angles and quickly realised that there was no one tool that would be able to do everything we were looking for.

So to ensure we chose the best tool for the job our findings were that each campaign would be analysed on a campaign by campaign basis in terms of budget, the type of data required, reporting functions etc which will then go into the decision of which tool would be the most appropriate.

buzz tracking

So far we’ve been using a company called Brandwatch who have been very impressive in terms of their response time, helpfulness, as well as the reports from the tool itself. I have spoken to a couple of people on Twitter who have the same opinion, and so I would say that they are a good place start if your looking to get into buzz tracking.

(Just to confirm I don’t work from Brandwatch or been paid to write nice things about them!)

Two nice little examples which show the effect of WOM (word of mouth) and/or a successful PR campaign.

Firstly the impact Jonathan Ross (@wossy) & Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) have had on Twitter.

twitter traffic graph

This graph from Hitwise (taken from Techcrunch) shows the large increase in traffic since November 2008. Since Ross’s return to his regular TV slot last Friday ( Stephen Fry also appeared) after the Sachsgate scandal numbers a have increased further still.

As awareness of Twitter continues to grow in the UK I would expect these numbers to continue to increase at the current rate for a while yet. I have noticed that even within my offline friends they are starting to talk about this ‘Twitter thing’ and asking how they can get on it.

Secondly the impact on the DEC Gaza campaign from the outrage generated gaza appealfrom the BBC and Sky refusing to show the appeal as an apparent effort to stay neutral. Communities on and off line have reacted in outrage prompting the number of donnations to double overnight since the day of the appeal going out.

While this is great news for the appeal it would of been interesting to know if the appeal would have had the same amount of donnations without the high levels of media attention surrounding the campaign.

As internet traffic has grown over the years and the internet has stopped being used predominantly as a porn database facts are continuing to be released at how other verticals are over taking this search benchmark.

Firstly a few years ago music became the first vertical to take over the porn industry for what people were searching for online.  Although at the time when I informed one of my clients about this they misunderstood my point and thought I was suggested that they started adding porn to the back of  their cereal boxes – could have been interesting!

Yesterday this article was brought to my attention from the BBC which while highlighting how social network related searches have now over take porn in the search stakes, porn related activity peaks on Sunday mornings.

Porn on a Sunday

Either this is becoming the only time in the week when people are having the time for some cheeky online searches, or with the credit crunch people aren’t going out as much as so there are less people hooking up on a Saturday night….

In a completely un-internet like style I am going to give a quick overview of the news stories that I was meant to blog about like week but had no time to.

So instead of reporting the news in real time and looking to the future for which the interent is credited for I’m going to do the completed opposite and write todays post on what has already happened! (just in case you are like me and were too busy to take it in last week)

So here goes:

Belkin ‘Astroturfing’ Scandal – Belkin got caught paying a reportedly $65 for people to reportedly write good reviews on Amazon about its products. Their response has been ‘We’re sorry, we didn’t know it was going on’ and they are investigating.

The Pope Gets his own You Tube Channel
– Last week saw the Pope launch The Vatican Channel and become one of the oldest people in the world to have his own You Tube Channel, and slightly ironically spreading caution about spending too much time in social media sites which can isolate you from real life.

The vatican channel

Social Search Engines – Following on from my Twingley post last week and an article I read on The Guardian reccomending IceRocket as their prefered choice of blog search engine. I saw this nice little list on the Online Marketing Blog for Social Search Engines.

Thailand Immigration Tactics – Slightly shocking news and not at all thailand immigrationrelated to online or social media but as I’m heading out that way in a couple of weeks thought I’d add.

Its been reported that authorities have been towing migrants from Rohingya ( Myanmar) out to sea before abandoning them in the middle of the ocean.

Oh and on a personal note I’ve got my Twestival ticket for next month – very excited, and off to the London Bloggers Meetup tonight so if any one reading this is going see you there!


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