Interesting piece on the value of social networks… The Economist, in short, says…
So it is entirely conceivable that social networking, like web-mail, will never make oodles of money. That, however, in no way detracts from its enormous utility. Social networking has made explicit the connections between people, so that a thriving ecosystem of small programs can exploit this “social graph” to enable friends to interact via games, greetings, video clips and so on…
… The problem with today’s social networks is that they are often closed to the outside web. The big networks have decided to be “open” toward independent programmers, to encourage them to write fun new software for them. But they are reluctant to become equally open towards their users, because the networks’ lofty valuations depend on maximising their page views—so they maintain a tight grip on their users’ information, to ensure that they keep coming back. As a result, avid internet users often maintain separate accounts on several social networks, instant-messaging services, photo-sharing and blogging sites, and usually cannot even send simple messages from one to the other. They must invite the same friends to each service separately. It is a drag.
Jeremiah just posted a case study on the Facebook-Graffiti campaign. His summary:
Unlike most marketing campaigns that deploy heavy ads, fake viral videos, or message bombardment, this campaign let go to gain more. Overall, this is a successful campaign as they turned the action over to the community, let them take charge, decide on the winners, all under the context of the regeneration campaign. The campaign moved the active community from Facebook closer to the branded Microsite, closer to the corporate website, migrating users in an opt-in manner that lead to hundreds of comments was clever. Well done.
Interesting idea for using Facebook to connect reporters and sources.
Several months ago, I wrote about the clever Facebook page, “Help a Reporter,” put up by the publicist, Peter Shankman, where he shared requests from reporters looking for sources with his large group of Facebook friends. He did it to be of service to journalists, presumably so that they would happily pick up the phone when he called to pitch his clients. His little experiment worked.
I often used his list, most recently to find sources for a magazine article I was writing about women and career changes. After submitting my query to Mr. Shankman’s page, I was flooded with e-mails from women who fit the criteria I wanted. I was grateful to Mr. Shankman for allowing me to access his network. Now it seems that he has outgrown Facebook, which limits the number of people who can be mass e-mailed, and he has set up a private Web site, Help a Reporter, to do the same thing.
Apple is really sinking to spurious tactics by forcing Safari on it. It’s a cute browser but it ain’t no Firefox or IE. And the last thing I need is another piece of their hyper-proprietary software sitting on any of my systems.
It now appears that the Cupertino-based company aspires to use the advantage presented by the Software Update mechanism to muscle its way further up the browser charts at the expense Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and other third-party Windows browsers.
“Earlier today, Apple released the Safari 3.1 Web browser for Mac OS and Windows XP/Vista. A couple hours later, Apple Software Update popped up on my daughter’s Sony VAIO, offering Safari 3.1 for download,” noted Microsoft Watch’s Joe Wilcox. “I didn’t recall seeing an earlier version installed on the laptop. And I made no mistake: The Apple updater offered installation of new software, not something that had been there before. Whoa.”
- Have effective monitoring in place, both for the mainstream media and the social media.
- Establish a way for communicating to the relevant audiences quickly. Starbucks has an interesting approach. Seriously, building a blog or website to respond to a rumor AFTER the damage is done is sort of dim. Do it now.
- Practice clarity in rebuttal. Weasel wording around a rumor only spreads it.
- Finally, keep the corporate brand/reputation clean and clear. A rumor is a lot less likely to stick if the messages coming from the company are clear and consistent over time.
The most important point here is clarity of response. Fiction masquerading as fact needs to be met with fact and force. You need to point the perpetrator out for what they and their data is – a sham. Don’t sink into apologetic corporate speak.
I also like Starbucks’ response. This should be a standard blog category and feed available to all.
The most difficult thing is determining who to just ignore… that is where “media” monitoring comes in. Good monitoring gives you a feel for whether a rumor has legs.