The Drumbeat of Social Media

Bet you can’t help but hear the drums of social media. If you’re in marketing, you’d better get used to it.  The drumbeats are getting louder and louder.  Can you keep a beat?

Seems many are getting it, with “social networks/applications” a top priority for top marketers, according to a study released by the Society of Digital Agencies, released last month…

Social Media is propelling the rise of the Consumer:

“Rather than spending another misguided year trying to “engineer” viral campaigns that will propagate themselves, regardless of consumer intentions, it’s time to refocus our marketing efforts to align with the way that people actually behave.” – Ivan Askwith, Big Spaceship

“2010 will be the year that social media-fueled technology and behavior is responsible for more content consumption choices than ever before. As the media landscape becomes increasingly fragmented, marketers will need to become more nimble than ever, and start getting on the leading edge of trends, as opposed to waiting for them to emerge.” – Ian Schafer, Deep Focus

“The most effective digital platforms have shifted from “disruptive” to “productive” by providing a service or utility…[They] fundamentally change the approach from “how we reach our customers” to “how we make their lives better.” – Ken Martin, Chief Creative Officer, and Ivan Todorov, CEO & CTO, Blitz

81% of brand executives expect an increase in digital projects in 2010, so it’s no surprise words like “social media” are included in almost every communicator’s job description. If not, it should be.

Social media gives marketers an alternate,  better way to communicate and interact with their customers, prospects and various publics (employees, investors, vendors and communities where they operate). This has become the norm for many successful companies and organizations. Some are doing it right, while others start, for example, a Twitter feed or a Facebook page and fail to update it consistently.

Thousands more have yet to realize the benefits, so I’d say the outlook for us “drummers” is indeed very interesting and exciting. What does every good band need? A drummer!

Boom-boom-boom.

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Not Safe for Tweets

Always think about where and how your tweets will appear. The above billboard for WPMI in Mobile, Alabama, is one such example, which got both the general manager and news director suspended:

Sources tell Florida News Center that the digital billboard “snafu” from earlier this week, has caused quite a stir at Mobile’s WPMI. Newport Television, the owners of WPMI, have suspeneded General Manager Shea Grandquest and News Director Wes Finley for one week, without pay. The picture below has circulated the Internet, after being posted on Twitter by a driver in the Mobile area.

Talk about a lesso

Persian Version of The Orange Revolution

People in Iran are taking it to the streets, much as Ukrainian did in late 2004, in what became know as the “Orange Revolution.” In Ukraine, there was real election fraud. The ensuing protests lasted for weeks, and new elections were ordered. Through the Internet, news was getting out continuously and people unified/organized their protests.

What’s happening in Iran? Were the elections rigged? News is getting out, in spite of Tehran’s two main routers being blocked for a while.  Amazingly, the U.S. State Department actually asked Twitter to reschedule maintenance:

Senior officials say the State Department is working with Twitter and other social networking sites to ensure Iranians are able to continue to communicate to each other and the outside world.

By necessity, the US is staying hands off of the election drama playing out in Iran, and officials say they are not providing messages to Iranians or “quarterbacking” the disputed election process.

But they do want to make sure the technology is able to play its sorely-needed role in the crisis, which is why the State Department is advising social networking sites to make sure their networks stay up and running for Iranians to use them and helping them stay ahead of anyone who would try to shut them down.

For example, senior officials say the State Department asked Twitter to refrain for going down for periodic scheduled maintenance at this critical time to ensure the site continues to operate. Bureau’s and offices across the State Department, they say, are paying very close attention to Twitter and other sites to get information on the situation in Iran.

Because the US has no relations with Iran and does not have an embassy there, it is relying on media reports and the State Department’s Iran Watch Offices in embassies around the world. The largest such offices are in Dubai, Berlin and London, all home to large Iranian expat communities.

But officials say the internet, and specifically social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, are providing the United States with critical information in the face of a crackdown on journalists by Iranian authorities.

Noah Shactman reports in Wired’s Danger Room on citizen-based warfare:

More and more of Iran’s pro-government websites are under assault, as opposition forces launch web attacks on the Tehran regime’s online propaganda arms.

What started out as an attempt to overload a small set of official sites has now expanded, network security consultant Dancho Danchev notes. News outlets like Raja News are being attacked, too. The semi-official Fars News site is currently unavailable.

“We turned our collective power and outrage into a serious weapon that we could use at our will, without ever having to feel the consequences. We practiced distributed, citizen-based warfare,” writes Matthew Burton, a former U.S. intelligence analyst who joined in the online assaults, thanks to a “push-button tool that would, upon your click, immediately start bombarding 10 Web sites with requests.”

Love the Internet — for many reasons.  Who would have thought it could do so much as a great equalizer? Think about all the businesses it’s turned upside-down — and what it has done for informing all who want to know.

Location-based Social Networking

What’s getting real  attention at SXSW 2009? Foursquare — this year’s breakout mobile app. TechCrunch, via WaPo:

Before this year’s SXSW event kicked off, a number of bloggers suggested that this year’s breakout hit might be foursquare, a new location-based social application with a gaming twist that was created by the guys behind the now-defunct Dodgeball service. As the ‘interactive’ section of the festival winds down, I think it’s safe to say that foursquare was not the must-have app of SXSW the way Twitter was two years ago. But it had a strong showing, and once I actually figured out which of my friends were using the service (which is more difficult than it sounds), I found foursquare to be an indispensable app during my time here.

foursquare’s primary function is to help you figure out where your friends are. Users frequently ‘check-in’ with the app to update their current location, which is then broadcast to their friends. At this point the service primarily operates from its recently-released iPhone application, though users can also check-in from the foursquare website .

More detail, via Mashable:

Foursquare is essentially a re-envisioning of Dodgeball, Twitter’s precursor and a cult phenomenon until GoogleG left it for dead, and actually hails from one of the guys that worked to build that app. Foursquare, which offers an iPhone app or mobile browser experience, works by letting you tell the app where you are and then lets your friends know where to find you. All you need to do is check-in via SMS (text to 50500) or mobile app.

Using the Foursquare iPhone app, you can automatically check-in and post shouts based on where you are and what you’re doing. You can also find your friends, search venues, earn badges, and add friends.

Since you can add your favorite Twitter friends and auto-post your checkins to Twitter, Foursquare provides a convenient way to connect your Twitter network with your every on-the move activity. You can even allow Foursquare to send your friends DMs when you check-in.

Foursquare is also a game, so each check-in earns you points, with interesting check-ins earning you badges (awards), and the more you check-in the more Foursquare features you can unlock.

We really like Foursquare’s fresh approach to location-based social networking, and definitely hope to see them have more staying power than their Dodgeball predecessor.

Twitchhiking

Interesting. Mr. Smith travelled from the U.K. to Kansas using Twitter:

A British man has traveled from the United Kingdom to Wichita in 12 days, and it’s all thanks to strangers on Twitter.

Paul Smith, the “twitchhiker,” is using the social networking site to see how far he can go on the kindness of others.

Since he left March 1st; Smith’s been to Amsterdam, Paris, Pittsburgh, Chicago and now Kansas.

“The idea was born out of frustration,” Smith said. “I had been using Twitter a lot, I’d been for the last year or so and I decided while I was in the supermarket where else I could be in the world and I got to thinking about how I could use Twitter to travel the world.”

Smith is now off to Austin, Texas with a new friend he met on Twitter. Along the way, Smith is raising money for a group called “Charity: water“.

Quite a change from the 60s.

Twitter Film

Very cool: a film by svanes.

a time lapse journey by car from los angeles to san francisco, while twitter postings from the same day serve as a news ticker.

in this sense, time, as experienced in the film, moves forward on two levels: the actual travel that is recorded on film while the twitter postings provide an additional register.

it was shot on may 30, 2008 and edited a few days ago.