Browsing Tag

social network

The people at Google are Smarter than the Twitter Folk

Are you new around here?  Spatially Relevant is about sharing/identifying trends in marketing, branding and how product managers can change a business with technology, such as social media.  Stick around and add the rss feed to your reader or follow on twitter.  Now on to the article.

Twitter continues to be an interesting study in business dynamics. A zero revenue company which acquires Summize, generates a valuation of $250 million and provides a development friendly ecosystem which is flourishing, maybe the goal is for others to deliver features.    The most recent/rumored $35M cash infusion would make one think this would provide for some additional capacity and wherewithal to invest into feature extensions and integration of existing assets.  This is where Twitter should learn a lesson from Google – integrate capabilities as quickly as possible.

Google knows the importance of integration, Google ads were nearly immediately on Feedburner and now the big account collapse is underway for all of us.  I have so many things which have been merged that I secretly look forward to the event post a Google acquisition.

Postini is another great integration story for Google.  Good product managers collaborate, conspire and collapse apps as quickly as possible, this however isn’t the case at Twitter.     I think Team Twitter has only done one acquisition and had all the performance issues in the interim, so maybe they should get some slack.  After all,  Twitter is new at this whole Product manager thing.  The management team may just be at the, “so I guess as long as it works, who really cares if you can access it easily” stage with a quick transition into “how to monetize” phase of product management.

“Yup this thing might just be good enough someone might pay for something.”

Twitter Gives Us the Bird

For a company who should have updated their home page with new quotes by now,  they definitely have hit a home run with the brand bird which appears to be the key asset, but they could use just a little more “management” of the product.  Maybe a messaging refresh, website update, feature delivery is needed at this point.

Good news – it won’t be hard to add new features or find ones to build out.  From a competitive intelligence perspective , the Product Managers could quickly see what others are building and prioritize, they could look at what they already have and find ways to improve it.    This may be asking a bunch from folks who have like 2 year old quotes on their home page.

What quotes?

I know most users never see the quotes anymore, since they are hidden below the fold and normally as users we are logged in.  So here are the ill placed stale quotes which might need a refresh from the product marketing manager, if they have one:


BTW, cool quotes hidden below the fold is like not having cool quotes you may want to just whack them and get 1K back for processing/data transfer.  So with that baseline, I’m curious beyond the great brand Bird, what are these folks working on?

Probably still working on scale.   At the end of the day they probably have spent the last 28 sprints developing infrastructure and scale improvements, but time for some features folks.  IDEA!  Forget new features, just provide access to the ones you have, like say — search.

Today, you can easily search Twitter @, but you click on the Twitter logo, you don’t go to Twitter – you go to back to search/summize.  Want to search from twitter?  Type in the URL and GO! Not that useful.


So if the development community realizes search in a baseline feature, why can’t Twitter?  I think their PM’s are writing excruciating requirements with “if/then/else statements” based on user load, high availability and core readiness, there is probably a backlog somewhere chuck full o’ opportunity.   Not knowing the development methodology I’ve expressed some requirements for consideration – let’s call it the voice of the customer if you will.

The Requirements:

Old School Version:


  • The system shall provide an authenticated user a way to easily leverage the existing search capabilities @ while maintaining session state.
  • The system shall provide access to search for unauthenticated users.
  • The system shall provide a way to navigate back to the core Twitter UI without keystrokes.
  • The system shall provide keystroke based navigation options for the mouse impaired.

Persona Based:

  • Steve, a mid-level software developer who really likes Phish, would like to be able to easily find Tweets of interest, via let’s say hash tags or keywords and not have to type in a URL and easily return to HIS stream with just a click.

SoCon09: Oh the people you meet outside the perimeter

#SoCon09 basically proved it was Atlanta’s premier Social Media event yesterday without question.  The event however was not located in Atlanta, much to the chagrin of Andrew Wilson, who just might understand that Atlanta has a brand identity issue.   The conference had record attendance of like 325 folks.

Some of the highlights from my perspective:

  • KSU got a $1.5M grant to research journalism in context of social media
  • Chris Carfi rearranged the room and lead the engaging keynote discussion on markets
  • basically STOPPED due to refreshes for those on the KSU network
  • #SoCon09 sustained as a trending topic right up until the end of the day
  • Met at least 6 people from Twitter I hadn’t met before – real life can be fun
  • Met EVEN MORE people who I will now get to know better on Twitter
  • Learned about really cool stuff people are doing in Atlanta – where are you people the rest of the year?
  • Jeff Haynie reaffirmed that Your Idea Sucks and it is about execution!
  • I met a person more theoretical and conceptual than myself, ok I met Greg Bond before, just didn’t realize it.
  • Plenty of pictures shared in real-time
  • I learned that facilitating a discussion is far more rewarding than giving a presentation
  • I figured out you can go to a conference and make it to baby shower without issue, even if you start your day in Kennesaw

So who was there? A bunch of people, but to highlight a few and create pseudo blog roll:

At the end of the day, a big thanks has to go out to Leonard Witt, Sherry Heyl and all the folks at KSU.  The event clearly shows that technology interest and expertise isn’t in short supply in Atlanta.   As a follow up, I started trolling through the event tweets and the tweet below made me ask myself a question: So why would we wait until next year to synch up?


We shouldn’t!  Every month ATL Tweeters and Social Media Club Atlanta meet to share ideas, discuss things we are seeing in the community and try to find ways to get just a little more social in ATL.

If I left you off the “blog roll”, I apologize, I recreated via hash tags and cards I had in my pocket – so leave a comment and your link so everyone can read other folks out there in the Greater Atlanta Area.

Great meeting y’all and see you at either ATL Tweeters or the next Social Media Club meeting.



What Color is Your Kool-Aid?

After looking around and trying just to figure out the value and metrics for many social marketers last set of projects,  I’ve come to 2 conclusions that everyone’s a social media expert or a life coach and I’m unable to validate if they are any good at what they do.  As an aside, it also appears that neither of which appear to generate significant cash outside of the typical Ketchum global account, which didn’t really work out for 1 particular expert.

Is social media a sustainable niche for marketing consultants?   Is it a hype market?   Is social media a market about a concept, rather than a problem or unmet need? Is it just another channel in the promotional mix?

The central concept around why you might need to have a social media expert on the payroll is plausible:  Things are changing thanks to the internet and you need smart people to help you out who “get it”.

The real change in the marketplace is that anyone can be anything online and anything can happen. The good, the bad and the ugly.  Social Media’s core value thread is effectively chaos management as it relates to online content and interactions for brands/products.  Noble goal, definitely a big problem – almost too big.  Too much room around the edges and way too many corner cases.

Wanted Social Media Expert

So when do you need this social media thing and who can help?  Just about anyone apparently.  There are like hundreds of experts on LinkedIn and Google returns over 45,000 pages on “social media strategist“.  The good news is there are folks out there doing good things for the industry in the industry like the Social Media Club who try to educate and connect folks to learn and do good.

What specifically qualifies you as a social media strategist?  Just what is the social media benchmark?   “Authority”, followers, the number of stickers of cool start ups with lame business models on your financed MacAir and other social media “validation” metrics are interesting components of how folks decision who is important and who is not, but it doesn’t seem to have any direct relationship to a persons ability to build strategies and execute.

Buzzwords and Platforms

Well – if they know about Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed then they have to be an expert.  The curious thing is how folks people equate social media with tool usage and understanding.  TechWag thinks you should inquire on the following when looking for a social media guru:

Are they using the tools, ask them to show you their blog, their twitter, their LinkedIn , their Facebook, their friend feed, their social median, their digg, and all the other systems they tie into. Ask them in-depth questions about how well this worked for them, what they learned, how that differed from their expectations. If they are not using the tools, or they do not know how they work, or have no personal or at least empirical information about what has been successful and what has not been successful based on their own experience, then it is time to move along now.

To drawn on a personal parallel: I know how to use MSFT Access and use the query builder thingy, but you do NOT want me running your production Oracle instance.

Tool awareness does appear to be an important check box in the “is someone qualified process”, but it shouldn’t be the decision criteria.  Maybe it a better way is to understand if they are in on the trends and have a futurist view on things.  That’s hard too, since there a a bunch of reasonable researchers and writers out there, which are important skills, but may not be deliver results.   Take Matt Rhodes, which demonstrates that sometimes just making assertions and predictions on tools and social media might make you an expert :

But in 2009 I think we will see the total number of people using Twitter, and the number of networks that go with this, increase quite dramatically. I think we will start to see prime time television using Twitter as a means of getting audience feedback or even running competitions; and newspapers taking comment through Twitter into print.

I guess he didn’t know about Hack the Debate, since I sorta think this is already happening – Rick Sanchez, the Denver plane crash, Israel and Gaza and a host of others leverage social content.  The point is – Matt’s statements can easily be seen as authoritative, futuristic and thought leading by the uninitiated, when it may actually just be a series of assertions based on already happening activities.  This guy might even interview well on some podcast somewhere, but might not actually be a guru.

The thing is, if you think you are, then maybe you are.  I think I can, I think I can…  chug, chug, chug.  I’ve always been an attitude is everything kinda person, but these Zen-like qualifications for being a social media expert is super intriguing to me.

Blogs, microblogging, social networks and buzzwords are important too, as you may have notice with them littered throughout this point.  What is the right mix, I mean blogging is out right?   Experts have blogs and use twitter and have conversations online line. No really – see below and pick the expert:


In theory one could assert each is an expert – they know the tools, one was interviewed on web 2.0 and the other apparently knows something about blogging per his tweet.  Your content as your proof points is an interesting social media dynamic. Your posts, your links and your interactions are your qualifications in social media.  So if you Tweet well, you do well.

Remix and Replay

Social media appears to remix news, manufacture thought leaders and generally allow for content generation without validation.  The limited ability to validate isn’t just part of the challenge when looking for “experts”, but it also impacts the overall marketplace.  There is however no doubt social media is a legitimate discipline, the doubt/challenge lies instead how do you qualify to consider yourself a social media expert/guru/strategist.  It could be that once you know the tools, then it’s all about managing the marketing mix and the brand which are skills which are reasonably verifiable, right?

Drink the Kool-Aid

So it appears that social marketer may be plagued with the same soft qualifications as the traditional marketer segment.  So how can you differentiate?  Go to conferences, Tweetups and other social events where other social media folks gather to increase your understanding.  Street cred appears also to be directly associated with the number of air miles logged to attend industry events.   So as you can see once you immerse yourself in the industry, there are clearly some social media metrics to track outside of followers, which could help qualify yourself to be a social media person.  If you don’t have metrics, use someone else’s metrics who is commonly held as an expert.

If we keep participating in social media event, staying on top of the tools and collaborate with other social media leaders, then may be social media will save the planet.    Think about it, social media experts recycle content from other social media-ites, use anecdotal examples from Fortune 500 companies or “a client of mine” statements to bolster expertise.  Vague client references are also a rant at Techwag:

Watch out for people who have generic case studies. I have seen this one far too many times in the last few months. People talking about case studies, but not understanding the dynamics behind them. Dell didn’t just throw together their social networking system, they thought it out, they figured out who was doing what, and took what worked for them. Anyone who says “well Dell does it”, but does not understand how Dell did it probably cannot help you very much in the social networking space.

I have no idea how Dell does it, but that is consistently the quality of use cases which are out there from a bunch of folks.  Social media content production and trends are be propagated by those that stand to make the most from it – content creators and “expert” consultants.  It’s sorta like Amway without structure, metrics and precious gem status goals.

In the end, I wonder if everyone isn’t drinking their own kool-aid in this mad dash for social media expertise.  I wonder how many followers Jim Jones would have on Twitter and fans on Facebook?  If traditional authority metrics continue to be used rather than traditional metrics, then just about anything can happen.

Maybe Carvalho has it right when trying to find a person to help you with social media:

You need to find somebody (who) believes in the product, maybe somebody that’s an evangelist, and really help that person get the job done online,” Carvalho said. “You can’t expect a person (who) knows the tools to also be able to genuinely go into a community and ignite people to start talking.”

Maybe it isn’t about metrics, evangelism, references and case studies, perhaps the tastiness of one’s Kool-aid is all that matters to be an expert.

Identity: Identical Choices and Opposite Positions

On Thursday, the Social Media Club Atlanta met – Peter and Tessa continue to maintain the momentum with the re-launch of the group in late 2008.  Thursday’s meetup was a very interesting discussion on how folks manage and view their identities online.  There were several key areas of examination on the agenda which the panel discussed, while moderately engaged in buzzword bingo – which had Chris Brogan as an square:

  • Is your online identity different from your IRL identity?
  • What does it mean to “manage your online identity”?
  • Are there any off-limits topics on blogs? Who decides?
  • Rethinking the personal/professional dichotomy and tearing down the walls of compartmentalization yea or nay?

I basically have been thinking about this consistently for the last 36 hours, thanks to the engaging discussion. This is why I thought I might write a piece on it.  The premise that you should be able to express and share online without fear is definitely a freeing concept.

Everyone WAS Correct

  • Folks should be who they ARE online
  • Online activities should not impact careers
  • Not hiring someone because of online content is bad
  • Folks should be able to blog about what they want
  • Sharing and developing ideas is a good thing
  • Your ability to develop deep relationships should be seen as a good thing

No doubt all good things.  There however was a the feel of a naivety which themed across the general conversation.  It had that college coffee discussion feel – theoretical and altruistic views of how things should be and encouraging “action”.  An intellectual/theoretical discussion on the merits of social media, identity, access and the potential offline impacts with a bunch of blogger types is always a good time.

Very few things are as rewarding as in depth conceptual discussions with like minded folks – ya find that common thread and GO!    Great ideas, but somewhat unsustainable concepts since choice, participation and freedom is bi-directional.  I draw the personal parallel to my participation in the Workers World Party in college.

The Parity of Rights

The most common theme across all participants was the impact on social media and their careers.  In principle, I think that social media offers an interesting differentiation for job seekers.  That being said, a general concern surfaced on the unjust use of  Google during the job hiring process, leveraging online content in hiring decision cycles and the potential reality of job loss due to online content.  Compartmentalization, management and tolerance peppered many of the responses.  After all – a good worker is a good worker, sorry to go all Workers World on ya.

Again a great discussion around how ideological constructs can conflict economic decision criteria.  The problem with rights – they cut both ways.  The same decision making ability one has on how they manage their online identity online is the same right/ability enjoyed by those that are making a given decision.

Freedom of expression and the parity of rights is an interesting thing.

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