Posts Tagged: Facebook

Is Bebo really worthless?

Michael and Xochi BirchThe
sale of Bebo announced this morning has been a long time coming. It
started coming almost as soon as AOL bought the site and it started to
lose ground in March 2008.

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Facebook revenues could hit $2bn in 2010

Facebook is showing its juggernaut potential according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal which says revenues could hit as much as $2bn in 2010.

The long piece in the WSJ projects revenues in the range of $1.2 to $2bn. This is even more than the blog Inside Facebook was reporting. Earlier this week it had said “sources estimate the company could make between $1 billion and $1.1 billion in total revenue this year”.

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How Twitter phishing can be good for you (seriously)

What a week, horny 24-year olds, people exchanging pictures and free shares – yes that was the week that was on Twitter as phishing scams ran riot across the social network. It’s been such fun.

No really, I know people say that phishing is bad and that people are trying to steal your identity to do dastardly things (all true), but as long as you speedily change your password you should in most cases be fine.

That aside it turns out that there is a massive plus side to phishing scams: it actually acts as a prompt to reconnect with people – yes to social network. Who would have thought it, but it seems that sometimes you need a little wake-up call to make those connections. Go figure.

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Yahoo chases social media with Twitter deal

Yahoo! is making a bid for social media relevance by getting closer to Twitter. The troubled search firm says it plans to go further than Google or Bing and do more than add Twitter to search results.

I have no idea if this will pan out for Yahoo. But what is clear is that Twitter is an integral part of Yahoo’s plan to turn itself into a social media hub so that anyone with a Yahoo! ID can update multiple social networks simultaneously. There is talk of deals with MySpace and LinkedIn as well. They are throwing it all in.

There are clear parallels with Google and its efforts to socialise itself with Google Buzz (while we are on Buzz why did Google choose that name when Yahoo already has Yahoo Buzz?). Both search firms want the search traffic, but they want more than that: they want the social media engagement as well. They want to put themselves at the centre of your (yes you) social media universe.

Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president, consumer products group, Yahoo! couldn’t be any clearer about this:

“We’re turning the key to the online social universe — you will find the most personally relevant experiences through Yahoo. We’re also simplifying people’s lives by bringing their social worlds — and the world — together for easy access.”

Yahoo! has already tied with Facebook and the Twitter deal, which will see Yahoo! pay undisclosed millions to the microblogging firm, should be done by December.

So what exactly Yahoo! planning with its 140 character deal? Well in the press release announcing the deal Yahoo says the partnership it says it includes three primary elements:

1) People will be able to access their personal Twitter feeds across Yahoo!’s many products and properties, including the homepage, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Sports, and others, letting them check in more easily on what’s happening with the people and things they care about while on Yahoo!.

2) People will be able to update their Twitter status and share content from Yahoo! in their Twitter stream, so they can easily share their Yahoo! experiences with their friends and followers on Twitter.

3) Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! media properties like News, Finance, Entertainment, and Sports will include real-time public Twitter updates across a variety of topics. Yahoo! Search users will immediately see real-time Twitter results today; go to Yahoo! and try it out.

One question that crops up is this: what does this mean for Twitter money making plans? Sure it is getting cash for its data, but Yahoo!, Bing and Google are doing these deals because they think they can monetize it around their advertising.

Yahoo is clear in its release about this issue. It says that it will use the Twitter integration to “drive deeper user engagement, and create new and compelling opportunities for developers, advertisers, and publishers”.

See all about money. Twitter is working on an own ad platform of its own and Anamitra Banerji, head of monetization at Twitter, has told the US IAB that “he is concerned that some of the external Twitter ad platforms may be doing damage to the Twitter experience”. Yeah, that and future revenues.

There is a weird schizophrenic thing going on at Twitter. It needs to make money as it grows and burns cash and it is doing that with these partnerships, but clearly there is a concern within Twitter itself of how these deals might “damage” its own efforts to generate cash.

There is an awful lot riding on Twitter. It’s own hopes of expansion and also those of rivals. For Yahoo! this socialisation feels like a chance to regain relevance. Although as someone who never uses it I’m really not sure how that is going to pan out.

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Google not a challenger to Twitter or Facebook (says Google)

Here’s a confession. I haven’t looked at Google Buzz for like a week. Then I read this story about Google saying that Buzz is absolutely not a rival to Twitter or Facebook. Got it?

In an interview with eWeek Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product management for Google, says that Buzz is not just about what he called “status-casting” or “just checking in”. He said it was meant for a place of “meaningful interactions around meaningful topics within Buzz”.

I could see that happening. But to be honest I haven’t yet. Finding the time is a real issue. It is increasingly THE social media issue as Buzz competes for our time. I mean if I Buzzed this right now I might not get around to tweeting it?. I would forget, move on, and more to the point get distracted. Also I want to share it with as many people as possible and not just my email contacts (my mum and sister have no interest).

Horowitz argues that he is hearing again and again that those meaningful interactions he mentions (“that kind of value proposition”) are “unique to Buzz”.

“In the realm of positive feedback, I think that people are finding that the conversational mode of buzz is very, very powerful and the quality of audience is also great.”

Really? Well, if you say so, but for most of us that remains to be seen, but what Horowitz is clear about in the interview is that Buzz is not designed as a Facebook or Twitter killer but rather Buzz is filling a niche for something that is not already in the market and creating a “unique” space.

“[Buzz is] absolutely not [a Facebook or Twitter killer]. This is creating a new category of communication. It’s filling a niche, which is not currently met in the market. I think something unique is happening on Buzz that will continue to evolve. It’s hard to create a trend line or extrapolate too much from six days of use, but certainly conversation and the conversational web is a place where Buzz has excelled. I think it is unique and offers a compelling, interesting experience.”

Horowitz also gave a few stats and said that Buzz was attracting around 200 posts per minute from users posting content from their mobile phones. Good numbers indeed.

Google Buzz seems to have ridden out the privacy row, but I wonder how much people will be talking about it in a month or two months time, you know, when the buzz has died down.

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Twitter traffic leaps putting paid to growth critics

He wasn’t making it up at all. Last month Twitter co-founder Evan Williams hit back at claims of falling usage and this week the stats are in the Twitter’s traffic has taken a leap.

Williams made his comments after a bunch of posts suggested a falloff, but since that things have only looked up for Twitter. He said Twitter’s growth was going to pick up and he wasn’t wrong, according to new ComScore traffic figures.

ComScore data shows that the number of unique visitors to Twitter jumped by around 9% between December and January to 21.79 million, which is an all time high.

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Twitter users are getting younger

Twitter is slowly changing. Or that is to say it is broadening as almost 30% of its audience is now made up of people under the age of 24.

In particular the 18-24 year old group has grown almost 8% in the last year while the 17and under group is up more than 6%.

Clearly the growing use of mobile and smartphones is driving this. It is a natural progression. As while figures last year showed 79.8% of 18-24-year-olds use instant messaging the number blogging is rapidly declinning. Short form blogging and status updates (more akin to IM) is where the growth is.

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Digital Peer-to-Peer Exchange

Brand Republic held its first Digital Peer-to-Peer Exchange event on Thursday and it really proved to be a great swap of ideas with roundtables providing an opportunity for people to share their experiences regarding social media.

What was so interesting was that there was a real mix of levels of experience and development in terms what people had done or wanted to do with social media.

What also appeared true was there was still a thirst to have the basic questions answered:

How do get more followers or fans?
How much should I tweet?
And what should I post?

The three speakers provided a lot of really useful insights the top points of which I’ve tried to pick out here.

Nick Gill, head of digital planning at Five by Five started by focusing on data and the central role it plays in what we do online.

Yesterday alone there were 13 hours of YouTube video uploaded onto the web; a million blog posts and around 400,000 tweets. Instead they are big numbers, but when you start to break them down you get somewhere.

What’s important about such stats is they underlie the conversation about metrics and metrics is how we make sense of what is going on. That can mean customers, rivals and colleagues.

He mentioned a couple metric tools that his agency used (such as Radian 6) and had a good line about the use of proprietary tools: “We don’t use proprietary social media tools; we use proprietary brain power”.

Nick talked about listening. Listen before you leap. People forget how important to listen to what is going on in a digital space can be whether it is Facebook, Twitter or blogs.

He tackled the ROI and social media question which was an issue that came up throughout the day. Always a hot topic.

He showed some good ROI examples in relation to gaming, but also stressed that it doesn’t always need to be about making money: ROI can be about engagement, loyalty, fans or followers.

He touched on sharing as all the speakers did. Whether it was a link in a tweet, good content or advice.

Stay the course – don’t start projects and then stop. Listen and think through before hand what it is you want to achieve with social media and then plan.

He finished up talking about integration, which was a theme that echoed throughout the day. There’s no point having Twitter and Facebook accounts if no one knows about them. They have to be integrated with websites and advertising to make them worthwhile.

That is how you drive engagement, win fans and followers.

Marcus Schmidt, director of product management for social media, Yesmail. The focus on Marcus’s presentation was about email and served as a reminder of the smart things you can continue to do with it.

Email can be as social as anything else. It comes down to what you put into it.
He showed how you could use it to drive user generated content by putting links, articles and images in well crafted email communications.

He highlighted how big brands like Burger King and Domino’s Pizza had used social to drive their email address acquisition programmes.

Again it came back to more integration and bringing together various social elements of marketing to create a bigger whole.

Doug Platts, head of natural search, iCrossing – More talk of integration and how important it was for organisations to create a seamless digital journey and how search sat at the heart of that.

He talked about making the best out of your brand collateral to gain the greatest visibility. Part of that was about developing content ideas and link activity.

He highlighted how iCrossing had created a campaign for Ann Summers around the budget based on bidding on keywords like ‘budget 2009’ and ‘Alistair Darling’ and the campaign message: ‘There’s no recession in pleasure’.

He stressed the importance of trends and how they can give marketers insight and help in planning. Ann Summers does that very well.

Think about different platforms and make sure you are addressing them with the rise and rise of mobile and how that ties back into other digital platforms.

Talk to each other – departments, colleagues and customers. And listen.

Some of it might sound incredibly basic but if there are words worth stressing, remembering and building into your social media marketing they are these:

Listen to the market and use that to help develop your activity
Integrate it with your over digital and marketing activity
Talk, share, respond – Take part in the conversation, be useful

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Google to add social media to Gmail to rival Facebook

Google is reported to be set to add social media bells and whistles to Gmail in an effort to take on Facebook and Twitter.

Google will add status updates to Gmail as well as photo galleries and other sharing options, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

All Google has at the moment is its Orkut social networking site that is big in India and Brazil according to Wikipedia. Being big in India and Brazil is clearly useful as they are big, but considering we never hear about Orkut it can’t be that useful.

I wonder if what it is doing is enough. Sure it is a start, but it has a lot ground to catch up. I also wonder how much space people have in their lives. Do people want to share in multiple places? Well look at Yahoo! It made similar such moves allowing users to of Yahoo Mail to make status updates and clearly on its own that is not enough. As no on I can think of suddenly started raving about Yahoo!.

Sure Google owns technology like YouTube and Picasa but working against it is that too many people use Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or other rivals. Email has become like your bank account and the idea of moving is something most of us don’t contemplate.

I personally think Gmail is the best thing in email. I prefer it to Microsoft Outlook for work. That could be because of the clunking servers we have and the miniscule amounts of space allocated that is designed to make life difficult (yes IT overlords I am talking to you).

That said I use Facebook most days at work (for work; honest) and on the move on my phone. It is more immersive.

I’m not sure I have the time to do more social networking stuff. I mean if you throw in Twitter and blogging then I am just about done. I need the rest of the time to have a life.

The Wall Street Journal says that Google could announce the new Gmail features as soon as this week.

“Currently, Gmail has a chat bar that can display a short ‘away message’ for each user’s contacts,” WSJ reported. “But the new interface will have an area that users can click through to see updates from more friends in a stream — a format popularized by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., [Google sources] said.”

The move follows new design updates from Facebook last week to make life easier for its 400 million plus members. Apparently Gmail has around 176 million unique visitors. Many of those will doubtless have Facebook accounts as well.

We also heard last week that Facebook was chasing Google as a place where people read news. It is now fourth placed behind Google, MSN and Yahoo!.

Facebook has already over taken Google News and Google Reader. The changes it made to its design recently touch on email as Facebook chases Google on that front as well.

The spill over is putting the two head to head in an increasing number of areas and Google clearly feels the need to respond.

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Tory bloggers come up short on #Kerryout campaign

If you wanted an example of how negative digital campaigning can fail then look no further than the #Kerryout campaign that is seeking to oust Labour’s new media spokeswoman Kerry McCarthy MP.

Some Tory bloggers have already distanced themselves from it and one has warned it is childish and will backfire. After all the publicity and many blog posts mostly orchestrated by Tory Bear the campaign has managed to raise a grand total of £1,700. So little. So much effort.

As personal attacks go it has created only negative buzz around the Conservative candidate Adeela Shafi. You have to feel sorry for her saddled with such witless enthusiasts as those behind the Kerryout campaign. described it as “embarrassing”.

All it has done is spurred others to engage in tit for tat campaigning and help raise money and sympathy for Labour (okay I am biased but I don’t think that is in dispute). It is all lamentable.

It has led to the story in the Daily Mirror claiming that “Tory star Adeela Shafi has £325,000 CCJ ‘debt”. I don’t have anything to say about that and I don’t know if it is true or not. It is besides the point. What is almost certainly true is that story is a direct result of the efforts of that many of Tory bloggers (Iain Dale among them) who have backed this campaign. Nice job boys (they are all boys).

What is true is that Adeela Shafi is like the poster girl for the next generation of David Cameron’s new generation of Tory MPs, but she is not helped at all by any of this. She has failed to distance herself from this campaign and to disown it. You have to wonder why that is and what that says about Conservative Party, its message and its politics.

What’s most disappointing is that the emergence of digital communications in political campaigning has largely been positive. That’s one of the things that came out of Blue State Digital and its work on Barrack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

It showed the great power that digital has for positive change. It showed its strength in helping to organise and to unite people around common ideas. It showed how you can put the message in the hands of supporters as it brought people with common ideas together both digitally and in the real world. It created a huge groundswell via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube and Flickr.

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