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Liblog : 9th media

新媒体创意工场 Socal Engage & Digital Marketing




Everything about digital engagement in 2009  

2009-12-27 17:49:15|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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David Armano On: Six Social Media Trends For 2010

In 2009 we saw exponential growth of social media. According to Nielson Online, Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year in February, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the US for the month. Meanwhile, Facebook continued to outpace MySpace. So what could social media look like in 2010? In 2010, social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive — at least, that's my guess. What are the near-term trends we could see as soon as next year? In no particular order:

1. Social media begins to look less social
With groups, lists and niche networks becoming more popular, networks could begin to feel more "exclusive." Not everyone can fit on someone's newly created Twitter list and as networks begin to fill with noise, it's likely that user behavior such as "hiding" the hyperactive updaters that appear in your Facebook news feed may become more common. Perhaps it's not actually less social, but it might seem that way as we all come to terms with getting value out of our networks — while filtering out the clutter.

2. Corporations look to scale
There are relatively few big companies that have scaled social initiatives beyond one-off marketing or communications initiatives. Best Buy's Twelpforce leverages hundreds of employees who provide customer support on Twitter. The employees are managed through a custom built system that keeps track of who participates. This is a sign of things to come over the next year as more companies look to uncover cost savings or serve customers more effectively through leveraging social technology.

3. Social business becomes serious play
Relatively new networks such as Foursquare are touted for the focus on making networked activity local and mobile. However, it also has a game-like quality to it which brings out the competitor in the user. Participants are incentivized and rewarded through higher participation levels. And push technology is there to remind you that your friends are one step away from stealing your coveted "mayorship." As businesses look to incentivize activity within their internal or external networks, they may include carrots that encourage a bit of friendly competition.

4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)
If the company you work for doesn't already have a social media policy in place with specific rules of engagement across multiple networks, it just might in the next year. From how to conduct yourself as an employee to what's considered competition, it's likely that you'll see something formalized about how the company views social media and your participation in it.

5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline
With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it's likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into "social media breaks" as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn't looking. As a result, we may see more and/or better mobile versions of our favorite social drug of choice.

6. Sharing no longer means e-mail
The New York Times iPhone application recently added sharing functionality which allows a user to easily broadcast an article across networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Many websites already support this functionality, but it's likely that we will see an increase in user behavior as it becomes more mainstream for people to share with networks what they used to do with e-mail lists. And content providers will be all too happy to help them distribute any way they choose.

These are a few emerging trends that come to my mind — I'm interested to hear what you think as well, so please weigh in with your own thoughts. Where do you see social media going next?

The Guardian On: After Social Networks, What's Next?

After social networks, what next? Are social networks the internet's last big development? And how much will they change? A star panel in Oxford asks big questions

Openness is important for the future of a company, says Biz Stone, CEO of Twitter

In digital media, as in fortune-telling, the future is pretty much treated as part of the present. "What is the next big thing?" is a question everyone who works with the internet asks continually. But after several years of boom, the question of what comes after social platforms is no longer so remote.

Luckily, some experts just gave us answers. On Monday evening, the Said Business School in Oxford had invited some very bright and successful entrepreneurs who spoke in front of a packed alumni audience as Silicon Valley came to Oxford for the ninth year. The event was chaired by the very lively and assertive Frances Cairncross, rector of Exeter college.

The first expert to confront us with an answer was Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and made early investments in Facebook and LinkedIn. He reminded us to evaluate first what stage we're at with social networks. "With digital technology there is a tendency to underestimate when things are getting mature, but to understand the financial and technological situation it is really important," he explained.

"If you look back from today, it becomes clear that in 2002 even experts missed that Google had already become the main search engine. If people would have understood back at that time that there was no chance any more to outrun Google, some investments would have been different. But back at these days we didn't discuss Google like this."

He asked the audience: "Where in the history of social network are we? Are we at an early stage, and most of the companies won't be around in a few years' time? Or are we in a late stage, when companies like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter are really mature and will be in business to stay?"

Then he floated a bigger and more daring possibility – that the development stage of the internet itself has come to an end: "Are we at the end of innovation of social networking? And is social networking the last innovation of the internet?"

"See, we went from the development of telecommunication to the internet and from the internet to social networking. Maybe there is no innovation left any more, and we have to look for it in a completely different direction. Maybe we have to go back to space and science fiction novels."

Being the CEO of Twitter, Biz Stone was quite sure that for him that wasn't the case. After having said to reporters earlier in the day that he was not thinking about selling the company but would rather go to the stock market if necessary, he started to relax the atmosphere, joking that he felt he was on a Seinfeld panel asking: "Social networks, what's the deal?"

Then he shuffled himself out of the responsibility of answering that question, stating that Twitter isn't even a social network. "Twitter never asked anyone to have a permanent relationship among each other. Indeed, we even changed the question we used to asked on Twitter 'What are you doing?' last week in 'What's happening?' because everybody was ignoring it anyway."

"I refer to Twitter as an information network rather then a social network. And here I believe in the trend of openness. Using an open technology, creating an open platform, and being more transparent that is where we are heading."

Stone believes that technology has a political impact that shouldn't be underestimated. Referring to Twitter's involvement in the Iranian election protests, he said: "On a large scale, the open exchange of information can even lead to positive global impact. If people are more informed they are more engaged, and if they are more engaged they are more empathic. They are global citizens, not just a citizen of a nation."

Ram Shriram, a founding board member of Google and one of the search giant's first investors, pointed discussion in a different direction. "Combining social and mobile – there is a new wave of oppportunities coming up, a growth of users, so mobile internet is clearly the next major computing cycle. And this time this didn't start in the US, but in Asia and Europe from where it is going to the US," he said.

"In China and India people always used their mobile as their PC; that was the way they accessed data. We face powerful new waves of publishing with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and the social sits in the middle of this. There is a creation and production of information. There will be new distribution and consumption patterns which will impact society. This might even make newspapers even more irrelevant."

Then he made a number of predictions: "Facebook will replace email for a new generation. The chat is moving to a multimedia format. Gaming will move from devices directly to the internet. And Apple has a big future because of its strong mobile focus."

Otherwise, the coming mobile business opportunities would be taken by small young companies, because it was easy and cheap to build these applications, which would either fail or succeed at speed. Shriram also believes that advertising will grow less important: "Users tend to pay on the mobile internet for premium services."

LinkedIn-CEO Reid Hoffman believes that there is more to come of the data generated by social networks LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who graduated from Stanford University and Oxford with a master's degree in philosophy, tackled Thiel's social-networks-are-the-end thesis head on. "I actually think we are just beginning to see how people launch the eventualities of social networks into their life," he said, reminding the audience of the way that mobile phones had grown from a tool for bankers to a part of everyone's life.

"I think the phenomenon of the online relationship empowers our personal and professional life. You might think 'Who wants to consume all this useless information?', but with some information it is like with ice cream. It is not nutritious, but people still eat it. And to understand what will go on, you will have to switch that to business models."

For Facebook, Last.fm and Flickr applications, he argued, using live data would become much more important. "Today you have everyone generating data.I think these massive amounts of data are perfect for new applications. There will be a lot of new applications come out of it. Obvious ones, like whom you should meet professionally, and some we don't even thing about. There will be interesting mash ups liked LinkedIn and Twitter."

An Oxford lecturer, Dr Kate Blackmon put this in a nutshell in saying that the future was not about crowd sourcing but crowd filtering.

So is social media over? There are now enough social networks to fill all the obvious niches; but making use of the stream of information that pours into them is something we've only just started.

Joe Ciarallo On: Ten Must Have Mobile PR Apps

You are busy and always on the go. Your mobile device is quickly becoming your "PC." Do these situations sound familiar?

There are countless mobile applications to help PR pros be more productive, but we've narrowed a list down to ten "must haves." So, as you wind down for the Thanksgiving break and -- maybe -- have some time to kill, make sure you check out these FREE apps.

1) Evernote -- "From creating text and ink notes, to snapshots of whiteboards and wine labels, to clips of webpages, Evernote users can capture anything from their real and digital lives and find it all anytime," reads Evernote's description. This is incredibly useful for capturing, researching and organizing content on the go.

2) Dropbox -- Never email yourself or lose a file again. Dropbox is an "impressive file sharing service which makes it easy to sync your files across multiple computers and the web," writes TechCrunch. Great for handling those PowerPoint presentations and other docs while on the road.

3) Ping.fm -- Allows one to simultaneously update content on many social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Wordpress and much more. A good app for social / digital brand managers.

4) Tweetdeck -- There are many Twitter apps out there. Tweetdeck is appealing because it syncs with the desktop client so your mobile updates automatically go to both places. There are also a slew of new features including Facebook syncing. Downside: only available for the iPhone.

6) Yelp / Urbanspoon -- Both are helpful to find restaurants or coffee shops to take clients or hold meetings while on the road. Yelp is also beneficial for those who need to track reviews for their clients or company 24/7.

7) Free Wifi -- Can't find a Starbucks but desperately need some wi-fi? This app allows one to find free wi-fi hotspots around the world.

8) Google -- The name says it all. Easy access to Gmail, Google Maps, search by voice and local search.

9) USA Today -- Many news organizations have applications, however we choose USA Today because of its sharing features. "...the combination of news, a solid look and feel, and functionality - like sending stories to Twitter - will keep me reading USA Today daily on my iPhone," writes the often cynical MG Siegler, now of TechCrunch.

10) M-Insight -- Launched by agency MWW Group, this app aggregates advertising, social media and PR related content from a number of blogs. It does also include mandatory feeds from MWW blogs, but we still think it's a worthy add.

[Editor's Note: We know there are a LOT more apps out there that are frequently used by PR pros. Do you have one you can't live without? Add it in the comments. Hat tip to PRSarahEvans, Peter Himler and Steve Rubel for their thoughts.]

Jeremiah Owyang On: 2009 Social Marketing Trends

As we close out the year, it's important to look back at what happened in social marketing in order to plan for the future. There were four key trends in 2009 that CMOs should reflect on, starting at the macro level then shifting down to micro real-time updates. They are:

The Recession Spurred Consumers to Adopt Social Technologies. Humans are social creatures and, as a result, they tend to band together in hard times. During financial crises, this same behavior is evident: People connect to one other, share, learn, and communicate. What’s more, with unemployment at record highs, those with internet access have more time--and need--to connect with others. It's evident through Facebook's 350 million global users. For brands, it's interesting to note a study by Razorfish, which indicates that 52% of consumers have blogged about a brand's product or experience. Don't expect this to change as the recession lifts, as it is the preferred method of communication for young people.

Some Brands Followed Suit With Social Marketing. Marketing budgets are pinched during tough times. Recent data from eMarketer indicates that companies are slashing print budgets by 37% and TV by 21% as a response to the recession. Yet marketers know that tough times also spur innovation, as they experiment with mediums such as social marketing. Social marketing promises lower costs and bigger returns. In fact, word-of-mouth campaigns encourage consumers to do the marketing on behalf of the brand themselves. Yet despite the opportunity, research conducted by the Altimeter Group (where I'm a partner) and Wetpaint found that while brands like Starbucks, Dell, eBay, and Google interact with their customers, most brands do not. Still, we're seeing a noticeable increase in social marketing budgets, as brands find ways to innovative marketing.

Social Networks Share Data, Spreading Social Influence. A key trend across the technology vendor space in 2009 is that social networks are connecting with other systems. Much like how Apple's iPhone developer program enables third parties to build and create new applications, many social networks are doing the same. Take for example, LinkedIn, a business network that recently began allowing third party sites to connect with the LinkedIn platform to share data. Similarly, Facebook Connect allows users to log into third party sites using their Facebook ID. There have been over 80,000 connections since this time last year. So what does this data availability mean? It means that consumers' social experience will spread from site to site, and that wherever they go online or off, they can access their friends' opinions, experiences, and recommendations in real time.

Consumers Move Faster By Sharing Real-Time Data. In August, 2009, blogger Heather Armstrong, who boasts over a million followers on Twitter was miffed about a shabby customer experience and tweeted about it. Although the company, Whirlpool, responded within hours, the damage had been done--Armstrong's real-time feedback about her company experience spread quickly through her network and beyond. This spread of customer experiences in real time is a trend, in fact, status updates are a feature found not just in Twitter but in many social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. Recently, Twitter signed a deal to allow Microsoft's Bing and Google access its real-time data, displaying real-time tweets which appear along side traditional search results. So what is the impact of this increase in real-time data? It means that consumers can instantly give feedback about their product experiences and tell their friends. For brands, it means they have to move faster to keep up with consumers who are sharing.

Takeaway: This year, consumers are more connected, and moving faster than brands. It's essential for senior marketers to use the past to plan for the future, and these four trends indicate that people are connecting and sharing with each other--at an increased pace. Brands need to develop a strategy and a plan to respond--not simply react--to the latest technology. In our next piece, we will discuss the key trends to watch in 2010 to help with strategy plannng.

The pieces of the digital engagement puzzle

At the FCO, it’s Listen, Pubish, Engage, Evaluate. In the DIUS of Justin Kerr-Stevens, it was Educate, Enable, Engage, Promote.

Now, having learned what I’ve learned over the last 18 months, I’ve twice this week found myself flashing up this slide at a conference to describe the elements of the digital engagement puzzle as I’m thinking of them currently:

Listen, Explain, Engage, Convene

It starts with listening – not just monitoring – but actually getting people aware of and plugged into online conversations. But it’s also about listening in the old-school ways too, through user research and feedback, intelligent use of analytics and comparative data.

It’s about doing more than putting documents out there. As an organisation that’s rich in hundred-page strategy documents, we need to use the medium of the web to communicate better, explaining our key policies and services in accessible and interesting ways, and showing the connections between initiatives. Not necessarily YouTube with everything, but using multimedia where it helps to introduce a topic. Providing layers of background, analysis, data and context, so our audiences (some expert, some casual) can explore the topic in as much detail as they so choose. The trusty hyperlink is the building block here.

We need to look across and beyond our platforms, engaging audiences with our material and our people, taking them out into the places people go online, including magazine sites, blogs, forums and social networks. That takes skills, sensitivity and humility, but can be hugely rewarding.

Perhaps the least familiar item in that list is convening – the position that government has, as an often neutral, influential force aiming for positive social outcomes, to bring people together in the service of common challenges. Where communities don’t already exist, our digital communications can help connect and enable them to collaborate online. But crucially it means not always doing it ourselves online – sometimes the partnerships and the communities we can support are better placed to meet the need efficiently and sustainably themselves.

How does that model compare to your approach?

p.s. No evaluation? That’s not to devalue reflection and analysis: I see it as running through the four elements above, but it doesn’t quite fit the model of how we approach the task as an element in its own right.

Brian Solis On: Twitter Economics

With a $1 billion valuation, Twitter is becoming, according to Co-Founder Evan Williams, an information network, a practically priceless exchange for connections, information, and the resulting activity that ensues.

Indeed, Twitter appears to have evolved into a human seismograph, a lifeline interweaving people through conversations, reciprocity, and connections inspired by the interests, ideas, passions, causes, and observations that move them.

Twitter’s core and most loyal users are at one with the service. Their daily actions hinge on the availability of Twitter (#whentwitterwasdown) and flourish with every new application introduced to improve the experience. Much more than a social network, the 140 character tweets that populate our attention dashboards lead us on unpredictable paths that connect us to new people and information – changing and evolving every time we log in.

A recent study by ChubbyBrain documented Twitter’s ability to foster a dedicated technology and business ecosystem. According to the report, angels and VCs had invested $23.27 million by June 2009 in Twitter-based startups. Two years ago, there was only one Twitter app. Today, there are over 50,000.

Call it Twitter economics.

Social capital and its ties to the attention and trust economies is earning undeniable prominence and stature in business and social ecosystems. It is earned and measured through our actions and words and reinforced through recognition, interaction, and reciprocity.

In real life and in business, we earn the relationships we deserve. And, the status of social capital is a reflection of our investment in its growth and definition.
The Market for Connections and Conversations

As social media defines the framework that establishes, cultivates, and leverages social capital, individual social networks are simultaneously building exchanges dedicated to defining the systems and values governing network economics. Twitter has created a thriving network economy rich with relationships, conversations, and the empowerment of its users to effectively and successfully build and cultivate communities and nicheworks around its brand and core values in and around Twitter. Simultaneously, Twitter created a dedicated ecosystem for applications and developers by opening up the platform for customization and opportunities.

Essentially, Twitter created an architecture that allows businesses to build experiences on top of it, ultimately creating a Social Operating System (OS) not unlike what Microsoft and Apple created for Windows and Mac.

While at LeWeb in Paris, Twitter’s Director of Platform Ryan Sarver announced that in three years, over 50,000 applications have been registered using Twitter’s API’s. It’s an incredible milestone as just a few years ago, the Twitterverse was populated by 1. It’s also indicative that the Twitter economy is burgeoning. While Twitter itself is finalizing its revenue strategy, developers are already turning profits while facilitating new systems for collaboration, communication, analysis, and entertainment.

Sarver also announced a new leadership program designed to further stimulate and strengthen the Twitter economy (as sourced from TechCrunch).

Twitter’s 2010 Focus:

Transparency: Increasing communication regarding public policy and intentions.

Communication: Actively communicating to include developers in the true state of affairs and technology.

Utility: Continue the expansion of rich and robust APIs to empower third-party developers to thrive.

Profitability: As quoted, “When our partners succeed, we succeed.” Read, “stay tuned in early 2010.

To commemorate its commitment to its developer community, Twitter also announced that it will launch a new online resource center, including status dashboards, tutorials, contacts, etc.

And, to celebrate its vibrant developer community and the applications defining the Twitterverse, Twitter will organize and host Chirp, its official developer conference in San Francisco next year.
Twitter Silences the Skeptics: Now Profitable

For years, pundits debated as to whether or not Twitter would ever turn a profit, mocking the company for its focus on community over revenue. Years of questioning were silenced yesterday as Twitter quietly turned a profit to close out 2009. With very little fanfare, the finances surrounding Twitter’s recent deals with Google and Microsoft trickled into the news stream, largely unnoticed by many.

In October, Twitter signed multiyear content agreements with Microsoft for Bing and Google to make real-time content streams indexable and searchable. It’s estimated that the Google relationship is worth $15 million and Microsoft $10 million – per year. After joining Twitter in September, Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo served as a key role in securing the search engine deals. As the founder of Feedburner, Costolo had the right connections and the experience. He’s also experienced in monetizing feeds through creative advertising models.

As BusinessWeek reports, Twitter also reduced a bulk of its telecom expenses in order to balance the company’s finances to achieve profitability this year. Prior to earning worldwide stardom, Twitter paid sizable fortunes to telecommunications companies to support the distribution of billions of text messages. Insiders report that this was the company’s largest line item. Prior to the proliferation of third-part apps that enabled mobile tweeting, many users relied on text messaging the service to publish and read tweets. Now that Twitter has gained a position of leverage, every deal was recently renegotiated to drastically reduce costs.

As the page turns from 2009 to 2010, Twitter is readying its initial advertising model and also preparing the roll out of paid commercial accounts that offer premium business services. Even though the company is now profitable, Twitter remains acutely sensitive to the user experience. These new services and programs must not disrupt engagement.

At a conference recently, Costolo echoed this promise, “We want to do something that’s organic and in the flow of the way people already use Twitter.”

2009 was indeed the year of Twitter. For those social economists tracking the growth opportunities and the transactions defining the Twitter index, 2010 will be the year of not only Twitter, but the business of Twitter and its supporting ecosystem as well.

Matt McGee On: 10 Creative Ways Businesses Used Twitter in 2009

0 Creative Ways Businesses Used Twitter in 2009
By Matt McGee on Dec 22, 2009

I’ve been following Twitter success stories as much as possible this year, and it’s been eye-opening to see all the different ways businesses are using Twitter to promote their products and services. The following is a collection of just some of the unique ways businesses have used Twitter in 2009. No doubt there’ll be many more to talk about in 2010!

1.) New Product/Service Alerts
Switch Wine Bar uses Twitter (and Facebook) to tell followers about new drinks as they’re being made. Similarly, a bakery in London called Albion’s Oven, uses a tool called BakerTweet to automatically send out tweets whenever a new batch of goodies comes out of the oven. Albion’s Oven has more than 1,600 followers at the moment.

2.) Create Buzz
Even before it opened, the Boston-area restaurant Tupelo was on Twitter, posting messages about what it’s like to open a restaurant — the inspections, menu choices, and more.
Word spread and when the restaurant finally opened in April, it was packed. The restaurant told local media that “at least half were there because of Twitter.

3.) Blow Your Customers’ Minds
Via Andy Sernovitz, listen to the amazing thing P.F. Chang’s did for a customer who was tweeting from inside one of its restaurants. Watch this video – it’s barely a minute long.
How cool is that?!?

4.) Tell Followers Where They Can Find You
Curtis Kimball, owner of a crème br?lée cart in San Francisco, uses Twitter to alert followers where his cart will be and sometimes includes special flavors he’ll be offering. He’s gained thousands of followers this year. Twitter has become a major marketing tool for food trucks all over the country. But the idea applies to any business; if you’re going to have a booth at a local trade show or community event, tell people about it. Give people a reason to come see you when you’re out and about in town.

5.) Establish Authority / Promote Blog & Article Content
Many small business owners are using Twitter to promote their services and expertise as much as anything else. Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a dermatologist in Sebastopol, California (and a client of mine), uses Twitter to point her followers to blog posts she’s written about skin care and related topics. As I’ve cautioned Dr. Bailey, be careful not to overdo this. Constant self-promotion is a quick way to lose followers … and to keep people from following you in the first place.

6.) Promote Special Offers/Discounts
Woodhouse Spa in Ohio offers a special deal every Tuesday just for its Twitter followers. It’s a great way to make your followers feel special, and gives them a reason to tell friends to follow you, too. New Orleans-based Naked Pizza is one of the poster children for using Twitter in this way. In an AdAge article, co-founder Jeff Leach said that a Twitter-only pizza discount brought in 15% of the day’s total business. You may also remember me blogging months ago about Luna Park Restaurant in San Francisco doing the same thing; and many, many businesses are using Twitter this way, too.

7.) Promote Special Events
The Silver Barn uses Twitter (and Facebook) to promote its participation in local events.

8.) Educate Customers About What You Do
On August 31, with the patient’s permission, St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, used Twitter to live-tweet the surgical procedure of a 70-year-old woman. A hospital spokesperson said the live-tweeting was educational for its followers and also helped the woman’s family (its customers) and friends stay informed during the procedure. Now that’s an extreme example, but the point is this: Are there things you can tweet about other than your products or services? Chances are pretty good that your followers may want to learn about what you do and how you do it. A few “in our office” or “behind the scenes” tweets every now and then may help people learn more about your business, and increase their interest in what you do.

9.) Spread Positive Endorsements
Berry Chill, a Chicago-based yogurt shop, consistently retweets the positive messages posted by its customers on Twitter. In doing so, they’re spreading positive word-of-mouth and reinforcing a strong brand association. Over the summer, they did the same when a few celebrities were in town for a golf tournament and were caught on camera enjoying Berry Chill’s yogurt.

10.) Customer Service
Similarly to Berry Chill, Umi, a sushi restaurant in San Francisco, uses Twitter to reply to guests who talk about the restaurant on Twitter. It’s a nice outreach effort and an easy way to show gratitude to your customers. Scott Seaman of Christopher’s Wine & Cheese shop in North Carolina uses Twitter to answer questions from customers when they’re not sure which wine to choose.

Final Thoughts

This list could go on and on. Twitter’s simplicity and immediacy makes it possible for all kinds of businesses to find new customers, serve them, and keep them happy. And since there are rumors that Twitter may launch formal business tools and services in 2010, chances are good that the opportunities will only increase in the future.

Your turn: What creative uses of Twitter did I miss? Tell us about them in the comments.

David Berkowitz On: Ten Ways Social Media Changed Our Thinking in 2009

All the top trend lists this year have been a blur. There's lots of talk of Twitter and Michael Jackson, but I wanted to dive deeper and think about what we really learned. In many ways social media managed to change our thinking about what happened, what's going on, and how the world's changing.
I'll focus on 10 ways in particular. Not all are exclusive to the past year, but many of the milestones from the past 12 months may well shape how we perceive the road ahead.

Democracy: The Green Revolution, Iran's populist attempt to reject the summer's election results, was a global eye-opener for how a tool like Twitter -- so easily dismissed as frivolous -- could change the world. The result may have been underwhelming, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad maintaining power -- but for those who saw the tweets from Iranians, often retweeted wildly, it will leave its mark. Contrast this with other movements, such as when Philippines voters used text messages to mobilize and oust President Joseph Estrada in 2001. The Philippines revolution followed a peer-to-peer model. In Iran, though, the tweets were largely public, and instant commentary on those tweets was publicized further, shattering the barriers between those who were taking part and the spectators hanging on every character.

Death: We now mourn in public. Michael Jackson inspired millions -- billions? -- to grieve openly. Myself, I stayed silent on Jackson but had to express public disbelief over Billy Mays' passing. As I write this, friends and strangers are opening up about Brittany Murphy. The self-expression becomes more problematic when it gets personal, as a Floridian mom learned when she tweeted about her son drowning. This led to the headline "Twitter played no role in drowning of military_mom's son Bryson." We don't yet know how to grieve publicly, and many such as military_mom will learn that others aren't ready for it. But in time, perhaps even by this time next year, stories like this won't be newsworthy.

Meet David Berkowitz at OMMA Social San Francisco!
David Berkowitz will be there moderating a panel on "Measuring Social Media: How to Connect Metrics to Objectives" on January 26 at 9:30 AM. Top executives will be there. Will you?
Register today and save.Sales: Dell has tracked over $6.5 million in revenue to Twitter. There are several morals to the story: 1) It's possible to track sales from Twitter. 2) It's still in its infancy; Dell earned $61 billion last year, so its Twitter sales will barely cover the Post-it notes used at the 75,000+ employee company. 3) Those are only the direct sales, and every time the press reports on Dell's model, some consumers will go to Dell's outlet site without bothering to check what's happening on Twitter. Bottom line, though, social media is making an impact on sales, and this year we finally started to measure that effect in earnest.

Searching: Google, Yahoo, and Bing committed to giving real-time search valuable real estate in their results pages. Sometimes it will be higher up and sometimes further down, and it will surely be much bigger than Twitter, but now it's here. Most people aren't going to think to search Twitter or Facebook or Foursquare, but they will visit Google or Yahoo or Bing, and they'll access the real-time links if they're relevant. We're still learning when it's relevant, but there's little doubt now that it matters.

Local marketing: So, how did you find out about that restaurant? Did you see a special for mayors on Foursquare? Did a friend check in via Gowalla and share it as their Facebook status? Were you walking down the street with your iPhone out while you augmented reality with Yelp's Monocle or Urbanspoon's Scope? Okay, augmented reality may be more gimmicky, but the social services are starting to help people find each other -- and help people find local hot spots. The fusion of mobile, social and local started to create real opportunities to change consumer behavior. What was true for early adopters in 2009 will apply to the fast followers in the year ahead.

Celebrity Access: In January, Ashton Kutcher joined Twitter. He was followed by Ellen DeGeneres in March and Oprah in April. We got to see what they saw, from Chris Brown's view of 90,000 fans in Manila to Chad Ochocinco's view of his opponents' football field. Vin Diesel posts a couple of times a month on his Facebook page, where he has over 7 million fans. And after Kanye West started a new Internet meme by grabbing the microphone from Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards, he apologized on his blog. Yes, we have ghost tweeters and plenty of opacity, but now that fans have this direct, personal, and occasionally even unfiltered access, it's not going away.

Fan participation: This summer, two amazing events happened in the arts world simultaneously. Here in the U.S., the rock band Of A Revolution (O.A.R.) crowd-sourced song lyrics on Twitter, crediting fans for their contributions to the song that became "Light Switch Sky." Meanwhile, London's Royal Opera crowd-sourced lyrics to an opera through Twitter. In the process, Twitter became a curation tool, and both curators here used other forms of digital media such as blogs and online video to further engage fans. Want to hook your fans? Give them a stake in the content.

Gift giving: Thought you were doing something special for a Facebook friend by giving them one of those little icons as a gift? How about giving them something they'd be really excited about, like an MP3, a charitable donation, or a "gourmet feast" gift basket? Yeah, that last one runs $85, but they are your friends, right? Today, those goods are provided through the Real Gifts application. Tomorrow, it may well be Amazon. What I'd really love to see is gift recommendations tailored to recipients' profile interests right when you're sending something virtual or physical.

News-sourcing: Journalists were among the first to embrace Twitter. Will they similarly lead the charge with Google Wave? They're starting to, anecdotally at least. Mashable loves covering these stories, from the Seattle Times posting a Wave to find a suspected cop killer to town squares hosted by the Austin American-Statesman. Google Wave itself may or may not be the platform of the future, but it's opened the door to news ways for the media to interact with their audience.

Gaming: In November 2009, over 6 million gamers (and their loved ones) bought the blockbuster "Modern Warfare 2." That same month, about 70 million gamers played "Farmville." I know I'm stretching comparisons here, but the notion of what a blockbuster game is continues to shift. Is it a game that millions of people pay $50 for right when it comes out, or a free game played by tens of millions of people, where a small percentage pay small sums over time for in-game upgrades? There's room for both models, and there's room for new thinking on what a successful game is.

That's just a taste of how our thinking changed this year, and it only leaves me hungrier for the new perspectives ahead in 2010.

Dan Zarella On: Finding Social Media Influencers

When you’re trying to find targets for a social media marketing campaign, you should be looking for two types of people, influencers and audience. Your audience is the people you’re trying to sell to, this is a wide swath of potential users, clients or customers. They may or may not be heavily involved in social media and they may or may not have large followings. Your influencers are the people your audience listens to. They are actively engaged in the social web and can communicate with lots of people. They are the vector for your contagious messages to spread through, to reach your audience you should seed your campaigns to your influencers.

There are two ways of targeting influencers, you can either find the social media sites they frequent the most and attempt to reach them en masse, or you can identify especially influential individuals and engage them one by one. Both methods work well in concert.

Fishing Where the Influential Fish Are
The key to the first, en mass method is “fishing where the fish are.” That is understanding which behaviors typically indicate that someone is a savvy and frequent user of social media and placing your content in the path of those behaviors. I’ve done some research on these behaviors:

The research I did on viral content sharing shows that frequent users of social web technologies like Twitter, blogs, and social news and networking sites tend to share online content with more people, more often than those that do not.

An interesting detail of this data is that while frequent users of Facebook and web forums share content with more people and more often in some aspects, generally they’re not as virulent as the users of less-mainstream technologies (with the exception of blog readers).

This means that if you can locate topic-specific social media sites (for example Sphinn, which is Digg for marketers) and get your content to go popular there you’ll be in front of large groups of relevant influentials. Tools like Alltop or Quantcast’s related sites features can be used to discover relevant sites for reaching influencers.

Finding Individual Influencers

The flipside of the influencer marketing coin is to identify individuals who stand out from the “influential fish” crowd as especially important and approaching them one-on-one to build relationships.

Perhaps the easiest first step in this direction is to find the most influential Twitter users about your niche. Tools like Twitter Grader and Klout both offer very similar user search features which allow you to enter a keyword and find the most powerful users who are related to that topic. Of course my favorite metric for this is “ReTweetability.”

There are also tools for identifying niche influencers on oher social media platforms like Facebook Grader, Technorati, and BoardReader. A number of tools also exist to search across many different platforms at once, like Who’s Talkin’, and Social Mention but these tend to be less effective at identifying who the most influential users are.

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