Social Networking

Opération Lybie - Refuse

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 02/22/2011 - 12:09

Screen shot 2011 02 22 at 11 39 39 AMOpération Lybie has organized a bunch of dialup numbers for Lybian citizens to use in case the government cuts off their internet access (see the similar effort at using POTS lines for Tweeting in Egypt).

I'm relaying a message from a Libyan citizen, who came on IRC channel #FDN to talk about opération "Libya White Fax".
The idea is to send a PDF document to the Libyan population via FAX (using traditional FAX or SIP) to a given list of Libyan phone numbers.

The faxed document contains a list of international phone numbers for dialup users to access so they can get back on the Net. Obviously this will be expensive, but it'll get around the "Internet Kill Switch" strategy.

One dialup service donor is France's FDN. Here's their statement (they started offering dialup during the Egyptian crisis).

Now I kind of wish I hadn't trashed all my old modems... who knows when we'll need these again?

Opération Lybie (scroll down for English)

Screen shot 2011 02 22 at 12 04 51 PM We Rebuild's Libya page has broader information on infrastructure and counter-censorship.

Middle East Protest Tweets Mapped

Submitted by Sam Moore on Sun, 02/20/2011 - 17:17

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Virender Ajmani, who has a talent for Google maps mashups, has created a new one that lets you see Tweets in realtime from several countries in the Middle east that are experiencing popular unrest.

From the developer's blog:

Here’s a look at Middle East “Protests” on Twitter which are mapped out on Google Maps. This Google Maps Mashup shows the latest tweets from around Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Iran tagged with the respective country names. The map animates thru the latest protest tweets from the region. The tweets are displayed at geotagged location on the map at an interval of 5 seconds.

Mibazaar TweetMap page

Developer's blog

via BoingBoing

Phone-to-Twitter bridge for use in an Internet-less Egypt - Boing Boing

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 02/01/2011 - 12:22
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Here's an extreme example of how no-one - not even a fairly heavy-handed government - can keep people from talking about what matters to them.

As you probably know, the Mubarak administration have shut off internet access for the whole country, in response to widespread protests and civil disobedience in Cairo and other cities.

Now, a team of developers have cooked up a way for callers using ordinary phones to get messages out to Twitter.

Granted the messages all go via one account, and are thus pretty much anonymized, but the point is - you can't silence people forever, no matter how much control you think you have.

We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.

Boing-Boing post

Google Blog

(Image: Egyptian pay phone, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from s_w_ellis's photostream)

AdLab: Avatarize Yourself Until You Are Blue In the Face

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 09:36

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AdLab has some detail about the already-old-news Avatar/McDonalds upload-my-face thingie, running in Europe.
Obviously this has been done before - from "Simpsonize Me" to M&M's to Dexter and back again - but at least this time we have some stats:

  • 4 million user sessions
  • nearly 10 minute session time
  • about 1 million shares via email/social network post

So, a great data set for explaining the concepts of "sticky" and "spreadable" to your audience.
AdLab post

Avatarize Yourself

AppMakr - easy iPhone app for your RSS feed

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 01/13/2010 - 15:20
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Guy Kawasaki points us to AppMakr - a simple widget builder that creates an iPhone app, with your RSS feed as the content.
You distribute the resulting app through the iPhone App Store - either under AppMakr's account, or your own Apple Developer Account, if you have one.
Be sure to visit Guy's article - from now till Monday, he's got a promo code that lets you build your app for $49 instead of $199.
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AppMakr site

Journal of Interactive Advertising

Submitted by Sam Moore on Mon, 11/09/2009 - 18:46

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If you can handle the academ-ese, here's a journal dedicated to online advertising.

Fortunately, they have an RSS feed, which streams abstracts to your reader - and these may perhaps be a bit more readable than the full articles.

At the very least, sticking a few pages of this sort of thing in your consulting report will handily keep your customer from actually reading it, and help ensure that they take your word for whatever conclusions you've drawn:

Advertising value provides an overall representation of the worth of advertising to consumers (Ducoffe 1995). Existing literature suggests that consumers view advertising's ability to supply information as a primary reason for approving of it (Bauer and Greyser 1968). Research in online advertising also shows that advertising can offer value to Internet users in the form of more relevant information (Ducoffe 1996). When online community members possess a distinct group intention about the need for advertising, they should be able to internalize the notion that advertising benefits the community. As a result, these members should be more inclined to develop favorable evaluations of the advertising. We also hypothesize that they perceive a higher degree of value of advertising in the community:

H6: Group intentions to accept advertising in online social networking communities relates positively to perceived ad value in community sites.

Finally, cognitive studies of associative links suggest people tend to regard relevant information as more accessible in their attitude formation (Rodgers 2004). The more community members perceive advertising as relevant to the community themes, and thus more relevant to community members, the more likely they are to find such information useful, which should result in a higher level of perceived ad value. In turn,

H7: Perceived ad relevance relates positively to perceived ad value.

Come to think of it, slogging through this stuff is how I earn my rate.

Journal of Interactive Advertising

Rudy’s “Sause”: social object case study at Gapingvoid

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 10/27/2009 - 14:17

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Hugh Macleod, of Gaping Void fame, has this short post on "Rudy's Bar-BQ Sause", illustrative of how brands can become meaningful part of their customers' lives. Here's a bit:

Too many brand managers ask the question, “What message do I have to craft in order to get people to buy my product?” It’s a dead end. A far more useful and profitable question would be, “What can I do to make my customers’ lives more interesting and meaningful?”

And “Meaningful” always has a social dynamic. We find meaning via our relationships with our fellow creatures. “People matter. Objects don’t.”

A bottle of barbecue sauce isn’t going to instantly change anyone’s life for the better. But that 4-hour-long conversation with an old friend, sharing a plate of ribs and brisket, with some Shiner Bock… Well, that might. So you want your product to be there when it happens; you want your product to be around during your customers’ significant moments.

Macleod calls a product like rudy's a "Social object", in the sense that what's really being purchased is a way of connecting with others (in this case, via a backyard recreation of the experience of a Rudy's restaurant).
This isn't really new - beer and spirits sales have been driven by the nuances of social interaction for decades. Think about it - does anyone buy a particular beer based on how effectively it'll get you tanked? I think most beer and spirits sales are driven by the kind of person you want to look like, and the kind of people you want to be with.
But what would it mean to apply this thinking to, say, curling irons? What if your product could become a social object? How would you make that happen?
Full post

Brainloaf blog: Intelligent Marketing Technology

Submitted by Sam Moore on Fri, 10/23/2009 - 14:18

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Our friends at Brainloaf, a development shop specializing in Marketing Technology, posted on the subject of integrating tactical technologies with a more comprehensive strategic view - something that is surprisingly lacking in online marketing today.

Here's a key point:

The explosion of possible channels for businesses to reach potential customers has made it difficult to know which will be most profitable. In order to manage multiple, fragmented media channels, you need to have a clear plan on how you're going to spend your money, where to place your media and how to measure your results. All too often in our new fast paced media world, the driving focus is to move and do something immediately. In Social Media, there is a low barrier to entry, that companies approach it as a low cost channel that will yield huge profits. As a result there are many poorly designed and executed ideas. You need to set goals. You need to create a strategy. Then build a plan of tactics to execute that strategy. Did I mention you should have goals and a strategy to reach them?


Not that any of this isn't quite obvious to anyone looking at online marketing today - but when was the last time you heard a programmer talk about strategy like this?

Not for nothing, the main Brain at Brainloaf, Mike Rogers, worked with Seth Godin in a past life. Now THAT makes for an interesting skillset.
Full Post

Seth's Blog: Launching Brands in Public

Submitted by Sam Moore on Sun, 10/04/2009 - 19:45

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Seth Godin's Squidoo project allows anyone to build a page about any subject, complete with news feeds, visitor feedback area, and other ways to pull a community together around a topic.

Squidoo's user-created pages are called "Lenses". This is a pretty good metaphor, since the page essentially gives visibility to content around a topic, pulled from all over the web: Amazon titles relevant to the topic, news feeds from related sources, etc.

Here's my lens for Xinet (the Digital Asset Management system, not the Unix internet services daemon): http://www.squidoo.com/xinet. Note - I haven't touched this page in a long time, as the Xinet user's group has dissolved.

While it's not a full-featured social networking portal, it does empower ordinary web users to create a location around a topic.

So what if that topic is your brand? Or, for that matter, what if the Squidoo lens is just a small part of the discussion about your brand on the web? (This is likely to be true!)

That's where Brands in Public comes in. Here's Seth's précis:

You can't control what people are saying about you. What you can do is organize that speech. You can organize it by highlighting the good stuff and rationally responding to the not-so-good stuff. You can organize it by embracing the people who love your brand and challenging them to speak up and share the good word. And you can respond to it in a thoughtful way, leaving a trail that stands up over time.

But how?

Over the last few months, we've seen big brands (like Amazon and Maytag) get caught in a twitterstorm. An idea (one that's negative to the brand) starts and spreads, and absent a response, it just spirals. Of course, Amazon can't respond on their home page (they're busy running a store) and they don't have an active corporate blog that I could find, so where? How?

Enter Brands In Public.

Squidoo has built several hundred pages, each one about a major brand. More are on the way. We'll keep going until we have thousands of important brands, each on its own page (and we'll happily add one for you if you like). Each page collects tweets, blog posts, news stories, images, videos and comments about a brand. All of these feeds are algorithmic... the good and the bad show up, all collated and easy to find.

Of course, these comments and conversations are already going on, all over the web. What we've done is bring them together in one place. And then we've made it easy for the brand to chime in.

If your brand wants to be in charge of developing this page, it will cost you $400 a month. And once [we build] the page, the left hand column belongs to you. You can post responses, highlight blog posts, run contests or quizzes. You can publicly have your say right next to the constant stream of information about your brand (information that's currently all over the web--and information you can't "take down" or censor). You can respond, lead and organize. If a crisis hits, your page will be there, ready for you to speak up. If your fans are delighted, your page makes it easy for them to chime in and speak up on sites around the web.

If you have the tools and wherewithal to build a page like this on your own site, you should consider that. The challenge is getting it done, regardless of where the page lives.

I sincerely hope the ease and convenience of doing this sort of thing enables marketers to get past the wallflower-like shyness that has kept many out of the public forum thus far. Really, it's time to get up and dance, folks.


Seth's Post

Squidoo

Brands In Public
Home Depot's Brands in Public page